What does an editor do?

Pen marking errors in text
Image by Lorenzo Cafaro from Pixabay

We often think of editors as just a tribe of grammar police. Well, that is a part of the work, but it’s not all.

Picture this scenario.

An upscale restaurant promises to provide an exciting experience for its customers. The business assures them that the food is superb, the service excellent, and the environment relaxing. They come around at 8 pm after a hard day’s work, hoping to have a nice evening with their spouses. They order their meals but it arrives 20 minutes late. Some guests even notice cockroaches hanging around the flower vases. After just 10 minutes in the room, everyone is apparently uncomfortable as the cooling unit has stopped working and the Lagos heat is already making its presence felt.

At the end of this whole episode, whom would we blame for the fiasco?

The CEO or the business owner, of course. He is ultimately responsible for the quality of service delivered by the outfit.

However, in order to prevent the destruction of his brand, the CEO could hire a manager to help ensure a smooth experience for customers. She would ensure that meals are on time, customers are properly attended to, and that the ambience is perfect.

In short, she would be tasked with quality control.

That, in one phrase, is what an editor does.

The editor works with the author to ensure that the book or article is factual. She could advise on the logic and reliability of arguments raised. She helps to refine the style and correct the language. The editor probes any suspicion of plagiarism. And the editor would also need to flag any potential legal issue. After all is done, she wants to be certain she has done all in her power to make her client’s manuscript a true work of art.

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