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ABC Checklist 2


Editors - who they are and what they do | The ABC Checklist for New Writers

This the second of five extracts from The ABC Checklist for New Writers: How to Open Doors and Get Noticed the First Time Around by Lorraine Mace and Maureen Vincent-Northam, published by Orana Publishing at £10.99. This useful book gives succinct answers to the many problems writers face, making it an indispensable reference for the budding writer.

Editors - who they are and what they do


Many small publications are run by one person, who is accountable for all the editorial work, while larger magazines and publishers divide the workload between several different people, each with their own area of expertise. Below are the most commonly used job titles for these editors, and their responsibilities.

Managing editor:

A managing editor is in charge of all editorial decisions regarding a magazine or newspaper. He or she will manage the editorial team, organise the publication schedule, ensure the work is meeting deadlines, and liaise with printers and distributors.

Commissioning editor:

In magazine publishing, the commissioning editor will assign writers to produce non-fiction articles and features. In book publishing, the commissioning (or acquisitions) editor has a major role in developing the publisher’s book list by identifying current trends and spotting gaps in the market. The commissioning editor will be involved with a book and its author every step of the way, from assessing the initial proposal and manuscript, to issuing the author contract and dealing with publication.

Features editor:

Larger magazines often have dedicated editors who are responsible for different kinds of non-fiction content. For example, some of the glossies will have a fashion editor, a beauty editor, travel editor, and so on. More modest-sized publications might have one feature editor with a wider role who is in charge of all lifestyle content. This editor will decide which work will appear in each issue and commission a freelance, use an in-house writer, or write the features themselves.

Fiction editor:

The fiction editor is responsible for reading submissions, and for deciding on a magazine’s fictional content. It is a good idea to write to a magazine’s fiction editor asking for their style guide. These useful guides will outline the kind of stories which are not acceptable. For instance, some publications will not print stories that involve crime or violence, ghosts, horror, religion, or stories with twist endings.

Copy editor:

A copy editor, whether working on magazines or books, ensures work due for publication is error free. Some copy editors form part of the publishers’ staff, and others are employed on a freelance basis.

Their role can involve a variety of things, which might include:

• Fact-checking

• Ensuring continuity of presentation

• Checking consistency of style, particularly where coauthorship is involved

• Correcting spelling, grammatical and typographical errors

• Making sure that captions match illustrations

• Checking cross-references

• Querying inconsistency in plot and character traits

• Highlighting conflicting statements

• Spotting over-writing

• Flagging up anything potentially libellous

Picture editor:

These editors track down suitable images for use in books, magazines, newspapers, television, advertising, and so on. They are responsible for negotiating the fee with the copyright holder, archive, or picture library, for using the image, and for commissioning photographers to provide new ones.

This extract is published by kind permission of Orana Publishing.

© Lorraine Mace and Maureen Vincent-Northam


The ABC Checklist For New Writers

1: Agents - when and how to approach them
2: Editors - who they are and what they do
3: Keeping Records
4: Professionalism
5: Titles

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