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Editing I

Course CodeBWR106
Fee CodeS3
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

Skilled Editors are in High Demand!

Editing is more than red ink. The best editors aren't focussed on commas and semicolons — they're focussed on communication, on how to ensure a text is clear, readable, and engaging.

Throughout this course, you'll learn about different aspects of editing, from stylesheets and markup through to syntax and concision. You'll study the publication process and learn about the different types of editing and editorial roles. Most importantly, you'll hone your communications skills, and improve your marketability across a variety of industries.

Skilled editors can work:

  • in-house for a publisher
  • as independent contractors
  • as corporate consultant on effective communications
  • in PR to improve messaging and editorials
ACS Graduate Comment: "It took me a while but in the end it was a very useful course for my work.  I would like to really thank my tutor for all her feedback which improved my proofreading skills." Premo Jackniacki - Editing 1 course.
  • Learn to edit any type of writing -books, articles, newsletters, magazines, etc
  • A course for Editors, Writers, Proof Readers, anyone wanting to work in publishing, etc
  • Start a business, find a job, or just get better at the job you already have

Lesson Structure

There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction to Editing
    • The role and scope of editing;
    • what does an editor do,
    • tools for editing;
    • editing skills;
    • what makes a good editor,
    • danger signs (mistakes to avoid),
    • the publishing team (the publisher, business manager, production manager, designer, marketing staff),
    • the production process,
    • the production schedule.
  2. The Mechanics of Clear Writing
    • Spelling,
    • punctuation,
    • grammar,
    • language,
    • style,
    • tense,
    • language level,
    • common mistakes,
    • style errors,
    • improving clarity and conciseness.
  3. Assessing Manuscripts
    • The reader's report,
    • reviewing a manuscript (structure, punctuation, accuracy, illustration, other improvements),
    • author's responsibilities,
    • nature of a manuscript,
    • libel, slander, defamation,
    • what an editor should look for.
  4. Copy Editing I
    • What the copy editor does;
    • basics of copy editing,
    • the procedure (check manuscript, read, edit text, edit other components);
    • style sheets,
    • house style,
    • introduction to mark up,
    • marking up copy.
  5. Copy Editing II
    • Marking up;
    • parts of a publication (preliminary pages, text, end matter);
    • editing non-text material;
    • illustrations
  6. Preparing Copy for Printing
    • Type design and page layout;
    • type size,
    • type face,
    • line spacing,
    • line length,
    • justification,
    • indentation,
    • windows and orphans,
    • running heads and feet,
    • folios,
    • headings;
    • proof stages:
    • galley proofs,
    • page proofs
  7. Proof Reading
    • Proof readers role,
    • procedure for checking galley proofs,
    • proof reading tips,
    • revised galley proofs,
  8. The Final Stages
    • Indexes,
    • preparing an index;
    • blurbs;
    • checking final proofs,
    • bromides,
    • dyelines, etc.

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.


  • To gain an understanding of the role and scope of editing.
  • Explain the importance of clear, effective writing throughout all stages of the publishing process.
  • Describe the procedure of manuscript assessment.
  • Describe the procedures used by copy editors.
  • Explain procedures used to prepare copy for printing.
  • Describe the checks and procedures used in the final stages of preparing and printing publications.

What is the role and scope of Editing?

Very few people can immediately write a lucid and well-expressed piece of work. In most cases, the final draft is smoothed and polished so that others can readily understand the writer’s message.

It is the editor’s role to improve the quality of the writing, whether it is their own or someone else’s work.

The scope of editing ranges from self editing, where the writer examines their writing and improves it as best they can, to professional editing, where an expert is employed by a publishing company to improve the quality of a piece of writing prior to publication.

There are many other facets of commercial publishing that require the skills of professional editors. These include commissioning publications; reviewing manuscripts; overseeing manuscripts through the production process; liaising with writers, publishers, printers and agents; writing blurbs, captions and press releases; and researching and organising pictures. In smaller organisations the editor may also be responsible for the design and publication of documents, newsletters, reports, magazines and books using desktop publishing software and equipment.

Editing involves several stages, all of which will be examined in detail during this course. In summary, they are:

  1. Reviewing the manuscript
  2. Structural (substantive) editing
  3. Copy editing
  4. Proof reading
  5. Checking proofs

Scope of editing

When someone writes or illustrates something, they are attempting to communicate with their readers. We naturally think of editing as relating to books, magazines and newspapers, which are the traditional media with which an editor would work. These areas, commonly referred to as “print media”, are still very much part of the work covered by editors, but today the scope is far wider.

Print media is generally “commercial” work; that is, publications that are created for selling. Writing and illustrations are also created for other situations though, beyond the traditional print media, including:

  • Marketing material, such as advertisements, brochures, posters, signs, labels and packaging
  • Newsletters (printed or electronic). Newsletters may be commercial (eg. for promotional purposes, or subscriptions) or non-commercial (eg. a school or club newsletter, or a family Christmas letter)
  • Business letters
  • Contractual documents
  • Web sites
  • Calendars
  • Educational material (course notes)
  • Scripts (plays, videos, radio shows, etc)

Writing and/or illustrations used in any of the above situations can fail in their attempt at communication to a lesser or greater degree, for many reasons, including:

  • Typographical errors
  • Unclear communication
  • Ambiguity
  • Incorrect punctuation
  • Poor grammar
  • Poor spelling
  • Inappropriate use of language.
  • Not writing for the correct “audience”

What is Needed to Be Successful?

It goes without saying that editors need to be skilled with grammar and have an eye for detail.
Whatever form of editing you are doing, it is essential that you check that the work is appropriate to the reader, and where applicable that it meets the style guide of the publisher.
Even if you are not working to a style guide; it should still meet the expectations of your client or employer. Be sure you have a very clear understanding of what those expectations are.
Ask yourself the following questions:
  • Does it make sense?
  • Does it flow smoothly?
  • Is the spelling and grammar correct?
  • Does it present well (does text go over to the next page when it should not, are illustrations missing, are tables labelled)? 

Once you have finished re-read the document if necessary to see how it reads.

Editors also Need to Communicate

Editors must be good communicators both in writing and verbally. An editor is part of a team. Even if you work from home and communicate solely by email with other people, you are still part of that team. You are editing for someone else. You will be working with a publisher, other editors, an author, businesses, charities, or others. You are part of that team and need to be a good team player.

As more of the world's business takes place online, the need to communicate effectively becomes more essential. In the past, an editor may have sat in an office with the publisher, author and other staff to discuss how a book was evolving, what they were aiming for, proposed completion dates, and other particulars. Today, that may not happen. The editor may be instructed via telephone or email what is expected of them. They must be good listeners and speakers, as well as accomplished written communicators. A managing editor needs to also communicate with subeditors, proof readers, layout artists, and others.

  • Editors must be good listeners - so that you hear what is being asked of you by the client and the author.
  • Editors must then be able to interpret their needs and translate those needs into the edited work – communicating with the readers.


Meet some of our academics

Rosemary Davies Journalist, Editor, Broadcaster, Teacher and Consultant for over 30 years. Rosemary is former gardening editor for the Weekly Times (a Weekly Farming Newspaper in Australia); and author of six books in her own right. She has written articles for many magazines across Australia, and has since 2008 worked as a tutor and freelance writer with ACS; contributing to books a range of genres.
Rachel SyersRachel has worked as a newspaper journalist for the past 15 years in a range of roles from sub-editor and social columnist to news reporter, covering rounds such as education, health, council, music, television, court, police, Aboriginal and Islander affairs, and agriculture. Her current role is Fashion Editor, features writer and features sub-editor with The Gold Coast Bulletin. She has co-authored a successful biography "Roma: From Prison to Paradise" about former prisoner-of-war turned yoga guru, Roma Blair, as well as freelanced as a writer, reviewer and researcher for Australian music and celebrity magazines such as WHO Weekly, Rave, Australasian Post and New Idea. Rachel has a B.Journalism.
Christine ToddUniversity lecturer, businesswoman, photographer, consultant and sustainability expert; with over 40 years industry experience B.A., M.Plan.Prac., M.A.(Social). An expert in planning, with years of practical experience in permaculture.
Tracey JonesWidely published author, Psychologist, Manager and Lecturer. Over 10 years working with ACS and 25 years of industry experience. Qualifications include: B.Sc. (Hons) (Psychology), M.Soc.Sc (social work), Dip. SW (social work), PGCE (Education), PGD (Learning Disability Studies).

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