Editing Practice

Course CodeBWR305
Fee CodeS3
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

Bring the Theory and Practice of Editing and Proofreading Together

This course takes you through the processes of editing for a specific publication, submitting work for publication, and meeting the requirements of an editor and publisher. 

Under the guidance of a mentor (a writing/editing tutor), you will learn to edit according to specific criteria, deal with a publisher, and communicate effectively with others involved in the publishing process.

This module gives you hands-on experience in copy editing an online publication.

Why is this such a valuable experience?

It is difficult to get a start in the publishing industry. Publishers are usually swamped by people seeking employment, and applicants may not even be considered unless they have already worked in the publishing field. This means that many qualified graduates never even get the opportunity to show what they can do!

This module gives our students just what they need – experience of copy editing. The module gives you that opportunity to work on a real-life publication. With something to show publishers, you have a much better chance of gaining employment in this field. On graduation, you will have a body of work that shows your experience in copy editing for online publications.

Gain hands-on experience as an editor in a student publishing team! In this module, you will develop essential practical knowledge and skills that you will need in your career as editor or publisher. Under the guidance of a mentor (a member of our academic staff), you will plan, design, write, and publish a magazine, journal, or other publication. Think how that will look on your resumé!


Lesson Structure

There are 4 lessons in this course:

  1. Working to Specifications
    • Role and scope of editing
    • What does an editor do
    • Tools for editing
    • What makes a good editor
    • Style editing
    • Style manual
    • Language level
    • Style sheet - house style
    • Common mistakes
    • Reviewing a manuscript - presentation, accuracy, illustrations, other improvements
    • Production process
    • Production schedule
    • Libel, Slander, Defamation
    • Marking up a manuscript - copy editing versus proofing.
  2. Editing Articles for Online Publications
    • Editing for online
    • Online is mot a static publishing medium
    • Key rules
    • Explain, Plan, Use links
    • eBooks
    • Structural problems
    • Writing style
    • House style
    • Content
    • Libel and defamation
    • Visual style - type size, line length, justification, indentation, windows and orphans, folios etc
  3. Submitting Articles for Online Publications
    • Targeting the reader
    • Style
    • Terminology
    • Controlling the budget
    • Graphics
    • Technical illustration
    • Designing and editing charts and tables
    • Electronic processing of graphic images
    • Choosing and design with photos
    • Preparing an index
    • Who does what?
    • Developmental editing
    • Production editing
    • Project editing
    • Acquisitions editing
    • Proofreading
    • Editorial proofreading
    • Fact checking
    • Information design
    • Permissions editing
    • How is material published online
  4. Preparing and submitting Layout for publication
    • Layout and design
    • Page layout
    • Legal and ethical issues
    • Copyright misconceptions
    • Contract law
    • Law and the internet
    • Editing Specifications
    • PBL Project - Writing a Specification

What makes a good editor?

The best editors can work according to the requirements of a job, changing the intensity and detail of their editing according to each different situation they are faced with.

Editors should be impartial, objective and unhindered by prejudices.

Good editors are not pedantic. They are pragmatic.

Above all, a good editor is one who can improve communication with the readers.

Editors may be freelancers, or they may be in-house editors, meaning that they work for the publishers in house. Freelance editors may work for a number of different publishers. They will usually be self-employed or running their own company.  

Production editors will oversee the entire process from manuscript through to publication online or on paper.  He/she will work with authors, artists, editors, typesetters, marketing and so on to make sure that there is a smooth transition from the initial idea to the reader.  So good communication skills are essential.

Commissioning editors are basically purchasers. They advise the publishing house on which books or articles to purchase. So, a good awareness of the market for that product is essential. 

Finding a Balance and Setting Priorities

You are far more likely to succeed as an editor (or proof reader) if you understand your industry, where it has been and where it is going, and approach your work with a realistic understanding of what the client (or employer) wants and is prepared to pay for.

In today’s world, speed and money are more important than in the past. Everything changes very fast today; writing can very quickly lose relevance. 

In the 20th century and earlier most publishing was printed, and most people never had their work published. There was less published and less available to read. When articles were written, the content would remain relevant and topical for months if not years. Writers could take time to write something, editors could take time to edit, and publishers would take time to get something published.

In the old world of print, less was published, but it was more often pondered over and perfected as much as was possible. When there was less published, there was less to read and those articles which were published were often read more and valued greatest.

Things have changed though. Anyone can write and publish their written work electronically today. Many people do just that. Blogs, web sites and online newsletters have taken many readers away from large book, magazine and newspaper publishers. The result is obvious - there is often less money and less manpower available to edit, per publication (both print and electronic)

The good news is there are more publications now and therefore more opportunities to be employed to work on publications. Publishing is a business. If it doesn’t pay, you will be out of business. If it barely pays you will barely survive. If it is successful, you are more likely to grow. This is just as true for an editor or proof reader, as it is for a publisher who engages their services.

Different clients and employers will set different priorities. For some speed and cost is just as important as technical accuracy, styling, spelling, grammar, visual quality and other such factors. Many publishers will talk about “tolerating” a certain level of errors (e.g. one publisher may indicate they have a policy to tolerate a small number of errors in the published material, until the upper tolerable limit is reached. A common acceptable number in education publications is 10 different errors).

Obviously, a client or employer will always want to minimise errors, but they will also want to minimize cost, speed the production time, and above all maximise profit. If imperfections impact on profit, they will want to find and correct those imperfections but when the cost of finding imperfections becomes greater than the benefit, those issues simply become unworthy of resources.

Danger Signs!

Editors can fall into behavioural patterns which simply do not enhance the quality of their work. The following should be watched for and avoided:

  • Adhering to certain rules irrespective of whether or not they improve communication

For example, changing the word ‘till’ to ‘until’ throughout a document even though it really does not improve communication.

  • Not matching the effort put into editing with the work being edited

It serves little purpose spending excessive time editing a piece of writing destined for a publication operating on a tight budget. It may be reasonable to edit fine points for an English grammar text book or a novel by a best-selling author, but the additional effort and time may not be appropriate for a local sporting club newsletter.

  • Pondering for a long time over a change that could be made in seconds

While some changes might require careful consideration, others are not so significant, and an editor can waste precious time deciding whether or not to make the change or deciding what kind of change to make. If the results either way are not significant, it is best to make a decision quickly rather than seek perfection. 

  • Continually cross-checking for consistency of minor points

If the editor cannot remember what came before, and the point is of no serious technical consequence, it is unlikely many of the readers will notice or worry about it. Consider whether it is really worth spending a lot of time and expense to achieve perfect consistency when a negligible number of readers (if any) will even notice that effort.

  • Changing voice in order to achieve consistency 

It is not very important to change voice (e.g. passive to active voice or vice versa) to achieve consistency. More important reasons for changing voice are to reduce word count, improve clarity, or make a piece of writing more concise. 

  • Concentrating on unused space rather than used space in a layout

There is no reason to increase the number of words or lengths of sentences or paragraphs to avoid blank areas on a page (e.g. at a chapter’s end). Blank space can provide visual relief and variety. Every word should contribute value to the document.

  • Checking page proofs repeatedly

Some editors don’t recognise their own limitations. Making multiple checks of a manuscript will still not bring a fresh perspective to the task, and errors can still be overlooked. It is best to ask someone else to assist with checking. 

  • Failing to delegate

Editors who think no one else can do tasks as well as they can may fail to incorporate and balance the contributions made by others involved in the publishing process – the writers, illustrators, publishers, and layout artists. Others can bring other skills and perspectives to a task, resulting in a better overall product.


There are lots of reasons why you should sign up to do this course with us, including:

  • The course is detailed to ensure that you have the level of knowledge required to apply the practices in your own work, whether that's as a business employee or as a self employed editor 
  • Within each lesson you have the opportunity to apply your learning to activities which enables you to practice different concepts and expand your own research in areas of interest
  • Knowledge of these key areas will enable you to stand out from other applicants when it comes to applying for jobs, it will also give you greater confidence
  • Having the knowledge of different editing techniques will enable you to work in many different sectors and business types, giving you flexibility now and in the future
  • Our subject specialist tutors will be there to support you throughout your course, they are only too happy to share their industry knowledge and experience with you
  • When studying with us you set your own deadlines, meaning you study at your own pace enabling it to fit around other commitments


You can enrol on the course now, but if you have any questions about the content of the course or studying with ACS, then please get in touch with us today - use our FREE COURSE COUNSELLING SERVICE to get in touch with our expert tutors. They will be pleased to help you!


Meet some Of our academics

John Mason

John Mason is one of Australia's most prolific writers. He saw his first work published when at secondary school, where he worked on the school magazine. In 1973 he was writing a weekly column for his local newspaper and by 1975 he was a regular contributor to Australia's national magazine "Your Garden". John was engaged by Victoria's Dept of Youth, Sport and Recreation to write a book on Fun and Fitness Trails in 1978. In 1981 he saw two more books published (one in America, another in Australia), and commenced writing regularly for the Self Sufficiency Magazine, Grass Roots. John is a long term member of the Australian Society of Authors, the Garden Media Guild (UK) and the Horticultural Media Association (Australia). He has written or contributed to over 100 books, many published by international publishers and published more than 2,000 articles across a range of genres (Gardening, Education, Business, Farming, Fitness). In addition, John has contributed to and overseen the development of more than 600 distance education courses which encompass around 20 million words. He has been an avid photographer for 40 years, building a collection of over 100,000 images, which are used to illustrate his work. His marine animal photos are even used by Legoland in England, on their Atlantis ride! Writer, Manager, Teacher and Businessman with over 40 years interenational experience covering Education, Publishing, Leisure Management, Education, and Horticulture. He has extensive experience both as a public servant, and as a small business owner. John is a well respected member of many professional associations, and author of over seventy books and of over two thousand magazine articles.

Check out our eBooks

It's Easy to Enrol

Select a Learning Method


$485.00Payment plans available.

Courses can be started at any time from anywhere in the world!

Need Help?

Take advantage of our personalised, expert course counselling service to ensure you're making the best course choices for your situation.