Best Careers for Teachers: Publishing Possibilities
Regardless of what subject or grade level you have been teaching in school, writing has almost certainly played a large part in your job. Whether filling out student grade reports with your feedback, creating lesson plans, constructing a multiple choice test, commenting on a research paper, or e-mailing students directly on the computer, you were putting words together.
Did you enjoy the process? Are you known for writing well? Did you get a kick out of similes or smile when you added a bit of alliteration? If you taught any English classes, chances are the answer to all of these questions is yes. The students who actually grinned when assigned a research paper or were sincerely happy to be assigned a book report were often the same ones who went on to college and got a teaching degree in English. Sound familiar to you?
If working with words is fun for you and you have developed a strong sense of the basics (grammar, punctuation, spelling, etc.), you might look into a career in the vast world of publishing. There are many different directions to go, so let's explore some of the most common ones.
The job of an editor is to read, review, and revise another person's writing. It might be an advertisement, a feature article, a short story, or an entire book. In addition, editors review story ideas proposed to their publishing houses and decide whether or not to buy publishing rights. Often, they oversee the production process of the books they accept, taking them from idea to manuscript to bound book. Editors need to be able to provide feedback to writers that is helpful without being critical. It is their job to make a writer's work the best it can be through skillful guidance, suggestions, and revisions.
In the world of periodicals (magazines and newspapers) there are often a number of different editors on a team. For example, in a large city newspaper, you typically have an editor-in-chief or executive editor (who oversees all the other editors), assistant editors (who do whatever the executive editor asks), managing editors (who supervise all the writers), assignment editors (who hands out story ideas to writers), and copy editors (who check facts and correct errors). At small, community periodicals, it is not unusual for one person to wear all these editorial hats at once, doing everything from picking the stories and who will write them to double-checking for spelling errors and writing a last-minute headline.
One of the most common types of editors, naturally, is book editors, who can work on everything from traditional novels and nonfiction books to textbooks and academic books. The first requirement for this job is that you love to read. Simply enjoying a book is not enough, though; as en editor you will take this one step further and have to evaluate the quality of what you're reading and know how well it will fit in and sell within the market. The work doesn't end there, since most editors also spend time monitoring the book's progress, meeting with agents and authors, attending book fairs, preparing reports on sales, and controlling costs.
"When I ended up getting married straight out of college, I wasn't sure how I was going to use my teaching degree. I taught at community college for a while but then we had our first child and I wanted to stay home with her. I began freelance writing and loved it. By the time we had our fourth child, I was a fulltime writer and author." —Tami, Indiana
As a teacher, you will have an extra in if you choose to go into textbook editing, because you will be a builtin subject matter expert (SME). Your job will most likely include researching and proposing new products, working with authors and freelance writers, plus editing and revising workbooks, textbooks, instructor's guides, and CDs on a variety of educational topics. Some of the skills you will need to put to use include time management, self-direction, and interpersonal skills.
Unfortunately, the growth rate for editors is rather low, projected at only 2 percent between now and 2016. Wages for editors vary widely (editorial assistants may start around $28,000–$35,000 but editors who climb the ranks to the level of publisher or vice president can earn well over $100,000) depending on how much work they do, the size of one editor's list, or the monetary value of the cumulative list of books the editor is responsible for, and so on. The median rate per hour is just over $24 with an annual wage of $49,990.
As with any other job, there are drawbacks and challenges to being an editor. You will most likely take a pay cut in the beginning from what you were earning as a teacher. You will find that reading becomes more of a chore than a pleasure since it's now a job requirement and promotions are often long in coming.
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