From conception to final publication, a production editor oversees the entire publication process of books, manuscripts, magazines, newspapers, or online information. To ensure a smooth transition from an initial idea to its delivery to readers, he or she collaborates with authors, typesetters, editors, suppliers, artists, and the company’s marketing department. This person’s job entails keeping the lines of communication open between all necessary departments while also keeping an eye on the project’s costs.
Production editors work under tight deadlines to ensure that tasks are completed on time at every stage of the publishing process. This requires him or her to be extremely organized and have excellent communication skills in order to keep a project on track. He or she will also require some financial knowledge in order to stay within project budgets and exceptional people skills in order to form positive working relationships with the various people involved in publishing.
A production editor must schedule frequent meetings to ensure that all those working on a publication are working together and according to schedule. He or she may meet with authors, the marketing department, and suppliers of materials for the project on an individual basis. It may also be necessary to hold joint sessions with representatives from all departments. He or she acts as a link between typesetters, proofreaders, and the artists who will provide the book or article with drawings or photographs. He or she is ultimately responsible for the print, video, or online product’s accuracy.
Computer skills are also required if the production editor works for an online publication. It is advantageous if he or she has a comprehensive understanding of marketing. This will enable him or her to tap into the vast audience that the Internet provides.
Most businesses look for a production editor with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, communications, or the native language of the company’s location. At larger publishing houses, relevant experience demonstrating that the candidate can handle production editing duties may be required. Larger companies may require their top candidates to have a master’s degree in the field. Many people in this position begin their careers as writers for small publications before moving up the corporate ladder.