Re: a job as editor

Subject: Re: a job as editor
From: Robert Busch <robert -at- FOCSYS -dot- FOCUS-SYSTEMS -dot- ON -dot- CA>
Date: Wed, 14 Dec 1994 12:25:34 -0500

In a previous article, Jan Boomsliter <boom -at- CADENCE -dot- COM> wrote: "I
think the only place you can be promoted to editor is in the real
publishing world."

I agree that editing-only positions seem rare in our industry.
However, I'll add testimony that they do exist.

I worked for a GIS software development company with a strong
technical publications team. Of the eight people on the team, one was
a full-time dedicated editor. She edited the work of the writers and
held a "second in command" position on the team.

Jan also wrote: "Real editing means owning and managing the project;
that includes estimating, scheduling, locating and hiring writers,
artists, and production people, and editing and producing the book.
An editor is, by definition, an experienced writer."

I don't necessarily agree. What you've described to me seems more like
a Project or Team Manager, except for the "editing . . . the book"
part. Consider the editor I described above: she edited the books in the
classic sense -- she didn't write, schedule, hire, produce, or
anything else. I believe her main responsibility was to ensure the
quality of our text and -- this is an important point -- to ensure
consistency between all books.

If a publications team produces many books, it can probably benefit
from a dedicated editor. This person reads _everything_ and can ensure
consistent quality for the set. The editor's perspective is
different from that of the writers; she consistently sees the big
picture, not just a piece of it.

In the real world, it's unlikely that a company will provide the
resources for an editor. It's a question of whether the benefit is
really worth the investment. In an industry that seems to promote high
developer to writer ratios, I'm not surprised we don't see many
dedicated editors.

Robert Busch "The mome rath isn't born that
Focus Automation Systems Inc. could outgrabe me."
robert -at- focus-systems -dot- on -dot- ca - Nicol Williamson

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