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Upskilling for the Editorial Department

Editors play an important role in the publishing process, often deciding which books have the potential to be successful. Even though publishers have a high demand for editors, these roles are incredibly competitive. Now that there is a second lockdown in England, there are plenty of opportunities to upskill and set you on the path to becoming a desirable candidate. Here is our second instalment of department tips.

Online Courses

Please remember that undertaking training in editorial skills is not a prerequisite for entry-level roles in the publishing industry, but they may help build confidence and present a talking point in applications and interviews.


Publishing Scotland run a multitude of courses throughout the year that cover editorial skills. Of course, these aren’t accessible to everyone due to associated costs – but if you have the means, these can be insightful and provide the opportunity to network.

Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading run a series of esteemed online courses with an emphasis on proofreading and copy-editing. Though these are pricier, they’re a non-profit organisation that provides a support network for editorial professionals.

The Publishing Training Centre offers a range of online courses from introductory e-Learning modules to more extensive tutor-guided courses, meaning there is something for everyone.


Free courses are undoubtedly harder to come by, and even when you find one, there is no guarantee it will be accredited, so it’s always worthwhile keeping your eyes peeled for offers, discounts and flash sales.

Louise Harnby Proofreader, a fiction editor and occasional author based in Norfolk, runs a website offering her services and lots of insightful content. She explores some of the pros and cons of different courses available.


Oxford Publishing Society (OPuS) ran an online panel discussion on freelance editing and how in-house editors worked over the summer. Their upcoming event is on diversity and inclusion, but there will no doubt be another event for editorial skills soon, so keep your eyes peeled!

BookMachine also runs events on most publishing specialisms, and, if you become a member, you gain full access to all of their previous online sessions.

The Society of Young Publishers (SYP) has branches across the UK and, since the pandemic, they have advertised many online Zoom events via Publishing Twitter, so follow their social media to keep up to date with what topics are being covered.

LinkedIn Learning

We wanted to highlight some useful LinkedIn Learning resources and remind you that your university or employer might provide free access to them – and of course, you can use your free month’s premium if you haven’t already!

Editing Mastery: How to Edit Writing to Perfection

Editing and Proofreading Made Simple: Online Class

Work Experience/Volunteering

At The Publishing Post, we strive to make work experience accessible for all. If you want to get involved and join our team, email us! With the onset of COVID-19, work experience opportunities have moved to remote learning and are a great addition to anyone’s CV. Examples include Ta Voix Digital Publishing, in which working hours are flexible and perfect for beginners – check out their breakdown of what you could be involved in here. If you are at university, why not join the editorial team of your student magazine, journal or newspaper, or even hold writing workshops if part of a creative writing society. It’s important to remember upskilling isn’t a necessity for job applications but tailoring any experience you have towards specific departments will help.

Other Resources

If you are interested in learning more about proofreading and copy-editing in the editorial world, some books that could come in handy are:

Fowler’s Dictionary of Modern English Usage by Jeremy Butterfield

This book includes details on the nuances of the English language, as well as colloquialisms, syntax and grammar. For detailed knowledge on all things editorial in the publishing industry, this is the resource for you. If you are a Prime student you can get a 10% discount when ordering this via Amazon at the moment, or you could head to the newly launched to support local bookshops and indie presses!

New Hart’s Rules: The Oxford Style Guide by Oxford University Press (OUP)

After Fowler’s, this is the next most recommended text for aspiring editors, proofreaders and publishers. It covers all aspects of print culture and is relatively inexpensive, so why not put it on your Christmas list this year?

Butcher’s Copy-editing: The Cambridge Handbook for Editors, Copy-editors and Proofreaders by Judith Butcher, Caroline Drake and Maureen Leech

The fourth edition of this resource is worth the investment if editorial is an area of publishing you are interested in pursuing. Fully revised and updated, it outlines everything you need to know about typesetting and copy-editing (on-screen and off).

Watch this space for the next instalment of our series in Issue 12, in which we will cover upskilling for design!



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