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Book or script editor

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Summary of occupation

Editors are responsible for selecting, reviewing, correcting and formatting content for publication. Behind every book, magazine or newspaper published in WA, you'll find a team of editors. They decide what to publish depending on market trends and audience requirements and edit copy (textual material to be published) to ensure it is free from errors and that it conforms to publication style guidelines. Many editors also decide on the format or design of publications and write articles.

ANZSCO description: Evaluates manuscripts of books or scripts to determine suitability for publication or production, and edits and supervises material in preparation for publication or for production on film, television, radio or stage.
Alternative names:
Specialisations: Associate Editor, Book Editor, Dramaturge, Editor, Managing Editor, Proofreader, Script Coordinator, Senior Sub-editor, Sub-editor
Job prospects: Limited
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

An editor needs:

  • to enjoy reading and writing
  • excellent communication skills with a detailed knowledge of grammar and syntax
  • a keen eye for detail
  • good organisation and time-management skills
  • good computer skills
  • to be able to work efficiently and accurately
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Working conditions

Editors work for publishing houses and other organisations requiring editing services. They tend to work in offices, usually in city centres, but may have to do some travelling to liaise with authors or attend publication launches, fairs and conferences. Many editors work freelance, so may work from home. They tend to work normal hours, but are sometimes required to work long hours and on weekends to meet publication deadlines.

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Salary details

On average, book and script editors can expect to earn between $1 000 and $1 249 per week ($52 000 and $64 999 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. Many book and script editors work on a freelance basis and their earnings can vary considerably depending on the type of project they work on, their negotiated contract, and the demand for their services. 

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Tools and technologies

Editors may scribble or mark paper copy, but the majority of their work is done through computer programs designed specifically for editing and formatting publications. While editors do not work with printing equipment, it is important for them to understand how the process works. Available printing equipment and materials, such as colour dyes, and their cost often influence what can and cannot be done in the layout and design of a publication. Editors also use style manuals, reference books and manuals to ensure accuracy and consistency in their work.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

To become a book or script editor, you usually need to study a degree that will develop your writing, editing or scriptwriting skills along with an understanding of the relevant industry. 

​Most universities in Western Australia offer relevant courses in writing, professional writing or film studies. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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