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Best Way to Become an Editor?

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I want to be a novel editor, but my family thinks it's too wild of a career goal and I'll be a "starving artist" simply because I want an English degree. With a major in English and a minor in creative writing, is that a good choice to help me land a job in a publishing company? And does it particularly matter what school you go to, or is it based on experience?

#editor #writing-and-editing #editing

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Stefania’s Answer

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Hi Madison,

Congratulations on staying the course and committed to your passion points. I would argue that in today's marketplace, every industry is a competitive one so don't get hung up on the difficulty of finding work. If you set out to write a novel and want to publish it, it's one thing. But editorial positions are always in demand and have many avenues. Publishing is very competitive, but as a creative writing/content editor, it's not your only option. My suggestion to you would be to try and obtain some hands-on experience through volunteering, interning and job shadowing in publishing houses that cater to your interest area. The best way to get a feel for the work is to be immersed in the environment. Also, try and talk to as many people in the industry as you can. You can use websites like Glassdoor or BLS.gov or MyNextMove.org to get an idea of salaries, job opportunities and big players in the space. If you want to be even more marketable, Communications is also a broader space to play in. If you share your research and findings with your family, they may feel more comfortable with the vast number of options open to strong writers and editors that range from marketing to publishing. Good luck to you, hope that helps!


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Allison’s Answer

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I majored in journalism. Many people did English and creating writing but others did history, poli sci, etc -- as long as it's writing-based, it could be a path. It's much more important to get internship experience. Look for publishing internships in your area. If that's not possible (or if you can do both), try to work at a bookstore or a library, and also get some kind of office/administrative experience. Read as much as you can, especially recent books in the genre you would like to get a job in.

Editorial jobs are not high paying and you will not be saving a significant amount of money until much later in your career. That said, if you keep your student debt down and are open to living with roommates, it is certainly possible to carve out out a stable living, even in NYC.

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