I suppose I should kick off this blog by expressing how I understand the role of an editor, and the vital role they play.
Editors are the balance between business and creativity. They warm the cold world of business by representing their creators, and generate the needed structure in creative projects, establishing goals and deadlines. Art usually finds itself at odds with business. Passion lives in the base of creativity, and exists as a fickle creature. Refusing to be tamed, it sometimes stampedes forward with unbridled ambition, or else slumbers deeply, refusing to budge. Many creators are familiar with the projects that either balloon out of proportion, or is constrained by the struggle of writer's block. The nature of creating art is grounded in its unpredictability.
Contrast this to business. In our capitalistic structure today, predictability is everything. A good publishing company must be able to predict what projects will be done when, how many units will sell, printing costs of each unit, and what marketing needs to be invested in ahead of release, among other things. Furthermore, the legal department will want to leave no questions when it comes to IP ownership, contract deadlines, and the nature of royalties. The editor is the funnel for all of this information, working with each part of the company to understand what project limitations and goals that are needed for the company's health and creating a clear cohesive vision of the project to present to creators.
In this way, an editor represents the company to its talent. An editor expresses the company's goals in a unified manner, and maintains the full vision of the project. They are entrusted to keep the project on schedule, and keep it steady as it weathers the unexpected. They become a problem solver, finding solutions to shifts in talent availability, changes in budgets, difficulties in file transfer and communications, and anything else that may crop up. In addition to ensuring schedule is maintained, they must ensure the product reaches the expected quality and meets the needs of the intended market.
An editor also acts as an advocate for their creators and a creative ally. Proofreading is almost synonymous with editing, as it is an editor's job to review the creative work and catch any possible errors. The role of editorial goes beyond simple reviewing, but to challenge the creator's assumptions, and actively listening and understanding the creative direction. An editor should ask a lot of questions, ensuring the end message is clear for the reader and consistent in all aspects. In some cases, an editor may need to press on matters internally for the creator's behalf, to reasonably accommodate any unforeseen circumstances
Editorial work requires an individual to be tuned to both sides of the creative business, both the creative, and the business. It's a unique position, but it's one I prefer. I love seeing creativity, and I love enabling people to work their fullest. To be a part of that system, to enable and champion the creativity of others, is rather fulfilling, and I'm glad I've taken this direction with my career.