1. mypensmysoul
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    mypensmysoul Member

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    I Want to Be a Book Editor

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by mypensmysoul, Sep 24, 2007.

    I am a sophomore at my high school right now, and basically everyone is dropping the question, "What do you want to do?"

    It's getting close to crunch time now. I've just finished with a big standardized test, and am taking the PSATs within the month. The PSATs like for you to give a major before taking the test as well.

    I know what I want to do. I want to be a novelist, but until I make it as a respectable writer, I need a steady job.

    I want to be a book editor. A developmental editor to be specific.

    (A developmental editor basically is a fresh pair of eyes. She does copyediting in the process, but her main duty is to make notes throughout the manuscript to improve it, such as content, presentation, and characterization. Flow of the writing is also an important job.)

    Problem is, I am an only child, so I dont have any advice from any older brother or sister to help me through.

    Basically my questions are as follows:
    • What would a good major be? (English? Literature? If Lit, what area specifically?)
    • What are the best colleges for these types of majors? --I am aiming for an Ivy League school, or somewhere prestigious like Notre Dame. Price is an important factor, so its an added bonus if the school gives generous scholorships.

    -I have been researching for about a month on the topic, and while I am starting to gain an outline, I cant help but think that some of the information I am gathering may be a bit biased and misleading.

    If anyone has any tips, please, please, PLEASE let me know!
     
  2. jj3125
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    jj3125 Member

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    don't decide too early on what you want to do... i got out of high school last year and i was convinced i didn't want to go to uni... now i wanna go and study literature and social sciences...

    know that things change. your preferences. your wants. your dreams. so don't commit to things too quickly. you have your whole live ahead of you yet.
     
  3. Weaselword
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    Weaselword Banned

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    I worked with an excellent developmental editor for a nonfiction manuscript in 2005-2006. He wasn't a full-time employee of the publisher--he had a day job, and did developmental editing evenings and weekends.

    His main qualification to be a developmental editor was a truly massive amount of experience in the field I was writing about; he's been working in that field for thirty years. Secondary qualifications included being an American (the nature of the manuscript meant the market was in America, so he had to translate my beautiful Queen's English prose into Yankistani), knowing Strunk and White backwards, forwards and sideways, and having a detailed knowledge of house style with regard to things like em-dashes and serial commas.

    I don't believe he had any formal qualifications in English at all but he certainly knew his stuff.

    He described his pay as a developmental editor as "atrocious".
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    the best way to find out what is required to get that kind of job is to go to the sites of major book publishers and check out their job apps...
     
  5. Scavenger
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    Scavenger Senior Member

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    I'm doing exactly the same thing as you, except I'm a senior and therefore in the process of applying to all these colleges you're asking for.

    My first suggestion for exactly what you're looking for is Emerson College in Boston. They offer degrees in publishing as well as creative writing, and a myriad of other majors all focusing on the visual and performing arts. They are a bit pricey, but it's an amazing school and they have some amazing alumni.

    These next two are nontraditional schools, but heavily focused on writing. Sarah Lawrence College in New York is a tiny private school based almost solely on learning through writing in all subject areas. They don't offer majors, but instead you design your own program with a concentration in one of four major areas. Classes are never more than 15 people and every week you have an individual meeting with each of your teachers to work on projects related to, but outside of, the class you're taking. I'm absolutely in love with it. It is highly competitive and more than a little expensive, so if you're worried about that, it might not be the best for you, but as far as academics alone go, it's pretty cool.

    New College of Florida does almost the same thing as Sarah Lawrence, though it's a little more structured and offers legitimate majors. However, it is also strongly focused on writing and you could get any number of degrees there. It's also a public school, meaning it's only three thousand a year tuition if you happen to be a Florida resident, and about 20 thousand if you're not, making it the cheapest of these three.

    With the colleges I mentioned, you do run the risk of instilling yourself in a specialty school only to discover that you actually want to do something else. It's a risk I'm willing to take, because I can't imagine doing anything that's not related to writing, but if you, especially as a sophomore, aren't positive about your career choice, you might want to look at a more wide-scoped liberal arts school.

    Hope this helped some.
     
  6. Damian_Rucci
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    Damian_Rucci Member

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    Well since I'm only a freshmen I don't know to much about college, but I would say to take an English major and maybe some creative writing courses, because you might end up writing stories yourself, and you can give good advice to people.
     
  7. Funny Bunny
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    Funny Bunny Contributing Member

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    I went to college and ended up making a low wage and working in a factory. I tried editing and it was a horrible job. It was stress filled and most of us had to take anti-depressants. I am told actually that things like book editing, teaching and so on are 24/7 jobs and if you want to work in the arts, often it is better to start as a painter or a factory worker because you don't need to bring the work home with you. Although this is "debatable" look at it this way, you will need to work 80 hour weeks. When will you get the time to write? Seriously, the best job is that of a Plumber or an electrician. You would make as much money as a book editor, and only work 40 hours a week (and have a union). (I hear also that people who have writing jobs don't do it in their spare time because they don't enjoy it).

    PS really look hard at the English Degree-- it does not lead to well paid jobs.

    How's that for a wild dissenting view???
     
  8. Frost
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    Frost Contributing Member

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    Yeah, for real. English doesn't pay. Sorry love.

    What pays, is maths and science. If your good at it, do it.

    I should heed my own words I guess... I'm doing specialist maths next year, as well as advanced physics. So when they decided made us fill out possible year 12 subjects, i did english one and two, music and law.
     
  9. PrincessGarnet
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    PrincessGarnet Contributing Member

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    How likely are you to get into publishing etc, if you don't have an English degree? At the moment I am studying International Relations, but I also write for the Uni newspaper.
     
  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    as an editor, not very, to not at all likely... some publishers even hold out for MAs...
     
  11. PrincessGarnet
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    PrincessGarnet Contributing Member

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    I thought an MA is a degree? I'm sure that's what I am doing.
     
  12. mypensmysoul
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    mypensmysoul Member

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    Thank you all very much!

    (I totally forgot this thread existed. :p )

    I'm certain that I want to take a job in the English department. Money isn't a huge deal to me; except the fact that I am a self-proclaimed shop-a-holic, and that might be difficult.

    However, the information on the pay and hours is a little depressing, but thank you for the information, even if it wasnt what I wanted to hear. ;)

    Frost, I would be an engineer or something, but the only form of mathematics I understand is geometry and I dont understand chemistry at all. (I see my numbers weird -like my 7s are 4s, and my 6s are 9s and stuff, so I'll do a completely different problem than what was given; hehe.) I do have a soft spot for biology, but I dont think I could ever persue a job in that field; I'm not that good at it...

    weaselword- I looked up what exactly your friend meant by atrocious, atrocious is an understatement! When converted to $US for me, Its only about $20,000 a year! -Where I live, people make around $40-60 thousand.

    I just really would like to work in the English field, maybe not as an editor as I'm seeing now...I just really love to take peoples work and make it better, and it just so happens that English is my love and niche. Perhaps as a publisher, or in the magazine business.


    Sarah Lawrence sounds like a lot of fun, but I'm not sure how well I would do professionally at a school like that; since I'm a bit of a slacker (I'm a slacker honors kid, haha), I would probably blow everything off until the very last day...also, I come from a school where my grade alone has +1500 kids! I would do well at all.

    Thank yo uall for your feedback, and as discouraging as it is, I'm glad to have your knowledge. I guess its back to the drawing board. (See, originally, it was journalist, then editor, then writer (which I will always be. Always.), then publisher, then editor again...and now I'm at square one. Which isn't that bad considering my age, but still. ;)


    PS PrincessGarnet- your signature: I'm seeing a7x soon for the tour this fall. I cant wait! 30 days baby!! :p Avenged Sevenfold rocks! I just watched the DVD today. HILARIOUS.
     
  13. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    it is... i was just making the distinction that to some publishers, having a BA isn't good enough to snag an editor's job...
     

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