Sunday round-up: tips for editors starting out in their careers

Over on Twitter we sometimes post publishing insights and tips. So they don't get completely lost in the ether, you can also find them here! These tips were first tweeted on Sunday 14th March 2021.

Here are some of our top tips for editors in the early stages of their careers.


  1. Overwhelmed by how much you don’t yet know? Don’t worry. We all feel like this at times but that discomfort you’re feeling means you’re stretching yourself, and that is good. Of course, there are some things you can do to become more comfortable as you grow in your role…

  2. Ask questions. People often apologise for asking lots of questions but asking lots of questions is GOOD! Every manager in the history of the world would prefer a member of their team to ask questions rather than be silent and worry about doing something wrong (and potentially actually do something wrong because they didn’t ask that question).

  3. Use your initiative. If there are projects you wish you could work on, ask to shadow/help the members of staff who already work on them. If you think there is a gap in the publishing programme, go out and find those projects to fill the gap. Make it happen!

  4. Get used to being very, very busy. Everyone in publishing is juggling a very large workload. Fact. No matter what level you’re at, there’s always a lot going on and the workload doesn’t get any smaller as you rise through the ranks. In fact, it usually gets bigger.

  5. Learn to accept the admin. Whether you’re an editorial assistant or an editorial director, you’ll still do a lot of admin. You will never escape it! (Sorry.) So, embrace it and excel at it – at least that way you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that you’re bloody good at it.

  6. Be honest with yourself about your strengths and weaknesses. It’s OK to not know things. It’s OK to get things wrong. Own your weaknesses and mistakes. BUT! You’ve got to learn from them too. In the same way, own your strengths. It’s not arrogant to know your own worth.

  7. Publishing is a house built on a foundation of relationships. Relationships with team members, agents, authors, illustrators—the list goes on. You don’t have to be a people person when you first start working in publishing but you will need to develop the skills to become a people person over time. Good working relationships are one of the most important things you’ll put your energy into, and, sure, no one is perfect but it’s vital that you try your best to treat everyone with patience, kindness and respect.



Questions? Thoughts? Drop us a line.