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HomeCareersThe Functions and Duties of the Editor

The Functions and Duties of the Editor

Defining the work of an editor in a few words would be as simple as saying that it is one that is dedicated to “making books.” In fact, it’s like that, but it’s certainly not as simple as you think. In many cases, editing a book requires a lot of effort. The role of the journalist like Mathieu Chantelois is to advance these ends by seeking out the truth and providing fair and simple accounts of important events and topics that he is required to relate. Whatever his medium, the journalist strives to serve the public with meticulousness and honesty. Mathieu Chantelois is a man of many talents, and he is appointed the new executive director of Pride Toronto.

And here we talk as much about what is done internally in an editorial as at an external level. The development of a book is one thing and the operation that can have commercial level is another. Both, of course, are fundamental for both the author and the publisher. However, the editor’s task starts long before. Let’s see, roughly, some of the most important tasks that every editor carries out:

Editorial line:

To create an attractive catalogue, the editor is responsible, first, to establish which editorial line will work. The decision-making in this regard can respond to personal tastes in a specific genre (black novel, avant-garde poetry, new Latin American narrative, erotic literature, science fiction, dirty realism, Russian classics, etc.), as well as the valuation that have each of them in the market.

It is true that many publishers opt for a varied catalogue, but there are also those that “specialize” in a genre or two and, from there, establish “series”. The knowledge of the genre in question, of the commercial niches, as well as the intuition and experience of the editor here are determining factors.


A very important task that answers the question: Who to publish? Here, the editor often plays the role of “head-hunter” and is dedicated to identifying those authors or books that could stand out in the market according to the established editorial line. In the case of translations, you must know everything relevant to the transfer or purchase of copyright, as well as those of the translator.

If the publisher has a “reception of originals” section, it should be able to discover those relevant voices and start selecting those that it considers to have the most aesthetic and / or commercial potential. In some cases, you will receive proposals from literary agents or recommendations from friend’s editors.

Also, you can also perform a kind of “tracking” on social networks, self-publishing platforms, magazines or blogs specializing in literature, failures of literary prizes or in the most sold or most requested lists that are usually published by certain bookstores.

When there are already some concrete proposals, the editorial board enters the scene that, through consensus, will express their opinion and help the editor to make the most convenient decision.


After having chosen the author to publish, the editor must coordinate and direct the “manufacturing” process of the book. While thinking about what the book will be like (the object: cover, interiors, etc.), the editor will meet with the author to establish the conditions of the publication, through a contract that must be agreed and signed by both parties (editorial-author ).

The next thing would be to prepare the text and condition it to the model of the publications of the publisher. The editor will commission a review by a spell checker. From this work and the reading of the editor himself, certain aspects will arise that will be communicated to the author, always in order to improve or enrich his work.

Always, yes, from “real” expectations. Who more than the editor to know how far you can go as a publisher. Returning to the process of publishing the book, the editor should be aware and carefully monitor all important processes: corrections, text, layout, cover design, printing, legal aspects, etc.

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