Editing is the process of selecting and preparing written, photographic, visual, audible, or cinematic material used by a person or an entity to convey a message or information. The editing process can involve correction, condensation, organisation, and many other modifications performed with an intention of producing a correct, consistent, accurate and complete piece of work.
The editing process often begins with the author's idea for the work itself, continuing as a collaboration between the author and the editor as the work is created. Editing can involve creative skills, human relations and a precise set of methods.
There are various editorial positions in publishing. Typically, one finds editorial assistants reporting to the senior-level editorial staff and directors who report to senior executive editors. Senior executive editors are responsible for developing a product for its final release. The smaller the publication, the more these roles overlap.
The top editor at many publications may be known as the chief editor, executive editor, or simply the editor. A frequent and highly regarded contributor to a magazine may acquire the title of editor-at-large or contributing editor. Mid-level newspaper editors often manage or help to manage sections, such as business, sports and features. In U.S. newspapers, the level below the top editor is usually the managing editor.
In the book publishing industry, editors may organize anthologies and other compilations, produce definitive editions of a classic author's works (scholarly editor), and organize and manage contributions to a multi-author book (symposium editor or volume editor). Obtaining manuscripts or recruiting authors is the role of an acquisitions editor or a commissioning editor in a publishing house. Finding marketable ideas and presenting them to appropriate authors are the responsibilities of a sponsoring editor.
Copy editors correct spelling, grammar and align writings to house style. Changes to the publishing industry since the 1980s have resulted in nearly all copy editing of book manuscripts being outsourced to freelance copy editors.
At newspapers and wire services, press or copy editors write headlines and work on more substantive issues, such as ensuring accuracy, fairness, and taste. In some positions, they design pages and select news stories for inclusion. At U.K. and Australian newspapers, the term is sub-editor. They may choose the layout of the publication and communicate with the printer. These editors may have the title of layout or design editor or (more so in the past) makeup editor.
Within the publishing environment, editors of scholarly books are of three main types, each with particular responsibilities:
In the case of multi-author edited volumes, before the manuscript is delivered to the publisher it has undergone substantive and linguistic editing by the volume's editor, who works independently of the publisher.
As for scholarly journals, where spontaneous submissions are more common than commissioned works, the position of journal editor or editor-in-chief replaces the acquisitions editor of the book publishing environment, while the roles of production editor and copy editor remain. However, another editor is sometimes involved in the creation of scholarly research articles. Called the authors' editor, this editor works with authors to get a manuscript fit for purpose before it is submitted to a scholarly journal for publication.
The primary difference between copy editing scholarly books and journals and other sorts of copy editing lies in applying the standards of the publisher to the copy. Most scholarly publishers have a preferred style that usually specifies a particular dictionary and style manual—for example, The Chicago Manual of Style, the MLA Style Manual or the APA Publication Manual in the U.S., or the New Hart's Rules in the U.K.
Editing has a long history dating back to the earliest times of written language. Over time, editing has evolved greatly, particularly with the emergence of new forms of media and language that have led to a move towards multimodality. Today, hardcopies and print are no longer the main focus of editing as new content like film and audio require different kinds of edits.
Technical editing is now more commonly done using applications and websites on devices, which requires editors to be familiar with online platforms like Adobe Acrobat, Microsoft Office, and Google Docs. The significance and intentions behind editing have also changed, moving beyond print due to the continuous advancements in technology. As a result, the grounds and values of editing have changed as well. For instance, text is often shortened and simplified online because of the preference for quick answers among this generation. Additionally, the advancement in social issues has made it possible to offer easy access to vast amounts of information.
Technical editing involves reviewing text written on a technical topic, identifying usage errors and ensuring adherence to a style guide. It aims to improve the clarity of the text or message from the author to the reader. Technical editing is actually the umbrella term for all the different kinds of edits that might occur.
Technical editing may include the correction of grammatical mistakes, misspellings, mistyping, incorrect punctuation, inconsistencies in usage, poorly structured sentences, wrong scientific terms, wrong units and dimensions, inconsistency in significant figures, technical ambivalence, technical disambiguation, statements conflicting with general scientific knowledge, correction of synopsis, content, index, headings and subheadings, correcting data and chart presentation in a research paper or report, and correcting errors in citations.
From basics to more critical changes, these adjustments to the text can be categorized by the different terms within technical editing. There are policy edits, integrity edits, screening edits, copy clarification edits, format edits and mechanical style edits, language edits, etc.
The two most common and broad are substantive editing and copy editing. Substantive editing is developmental because it guides the drafting process by providing essential building blocks to work off of. They work closely with the author to help supply ideas. Copy editing happens later in the drafting process and focuses on changing the text so that it's consistent throughout in terms of accuracy, style, flow, and so on. This is usually the preferred editing for the surface-level cleaning up of work.
Large companies dedicate experienced writers to the technical editing function. Organizations that cannot afford dedicated editors typically have experienced writers peer-edit text produced by less experienced colleagues.
It helps if the technical editor is familiar with the subject being edited. The "technical" knowledge that an editor gains over time while working on a particular product or technology does give the editor an edge over another who has just started editing content related to that product or technology.
General essential skills include attention to detail, patience, persistence, the ability to sustain focus while working through lengthy pieces of text on complex topics, tact in dealing with writers, and excellent communication skills. Additionally, one does not need an English major to partake but language aptitude certainly helps.
"Paid editing" redirects here. For paid editing on Wikipedia, see Paid editing on Wikipedia.
Editing is a growing field of work in the service industry. There is little career training offered for editors. Paid editing services may be provided by specialized editing firms or by self-employed (freelance) editors.
Editing firms may employ a team of in-house editors, rely on a network of individual contractors or both. Such firms are able to handle editing in a wide range of topics and genres, depending on the skills of individual editors. The services provided by these editors may be varied and can include proofreading, copy editing, online editing, developmental editing, editing for search engine optimization, etc.
Self-employed editors work directly for clients (e.g., authors, publishers) or offer their services through editing firms, or both. They may specialize in a type of editing (e.g., copy editing) and in a particular subject area. Those who work directly for authors and develop professional relationships with them are called authors' editors. There is hope for self-employed editors because all editing differs based on tradition, experience, education, personal style, values, etc.
There are many different ways one can think to edit and revise a paper; it all depends on your opinion. Whether it be your own work or a friend's, in a chapter titled "Editing" from The Craft of Professional Writing by Micheal S. Malone claims that there is a series of basic steps to follow when attempting to edit to put them in the right mindset to do so: