Most people think that the main job of an editor is to take a piece of writing and correct the errors in spelling, punctuation, and grammar, ultimately leaving the page covered in red ink.
However, the work that editors do is far more wide-ranging, and often more subtle. At its core is the idea that all editors work to make writing more readable.
This can mean fixing spelling errors and ensuring consistency. It can also mean reorganizing the sentences or paragraphs within an essay or shuffling the chapters of a book to make the underlying message clearer. Editors also work to make sure that the tone of an article or book better suits its end audience.
There are many different ways to edit a piece of writing, and the kind of editing done depends on the type of material, the needs of the author, and the intended audience. In the end, editors place themselves in the reader’s shoes and try to anticipate what questions a reader may have – and why.