Writing Career Glossary
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An Acquisitions Editor’s, or Commissioning Editor’s, primary job is to find valuable manuscripts from unpublished authors and recommend them to publishing houses.
The Agent’s Assistant takes care of all overflow work from a Talent or Literary Agent; often including reading manuscripts that the agent does not have time to read.
The Assistant Editor usually works directly under, and takes whatever portion of the work deemed necessary by, the Editor-in-Chief. This work can include helping manage, or completely managing the writing staff. Other job tasks the Assistant Editor may be responsible for include; putting out assignments, editing results, and publishing completed pieces.
The term Author most commonly refers to a person who writes books; fiction or non-fiction. Technically a person can claim to be an Author on any written piece of work that is original and created by them; however people tend to use the name most appropriately associated with their preferred writing medium.
A Columnist is a Journalist who writes semi regularly, or regularly, for a newspaper, magazine, or blog. Columns are usually original opinionated pieces that are researched and presented by a Journalist who provides a specific point of view.
Copy Editors edit the spelling, grammar, composition, and accuracy of facts presented in a piece of work, while not changing the content of the piece itself. Copy Editors “clean up” writing pieces before they are sent to the Proofreaders for a final check.
Copywriters provide a company or advertising agency with appropriate and attractive text to help to sell a product or service. Copywriters typically work in the advertisement field for a multitude of different media outlets such as television, radio, print, or the internet.
The Editor-in-Chief is typically the highest position in a book, magazine, or newspaper publishing house; who oversees and manages all aspects of a publication. The Editor-in-Chief makes major decisions on writing pieces and publication, while leaving things like proofreading and editing to others members of their staff.
The Editorial Aid is typically a lower level editing position that may or may not require the actual editing of written work. Editorial Aids usually run errands and handle any work that may overflow from the Editorial Assistant.
The Editorial Assistant primarily provides support to all upper level editors. The Editorial Assistant may handle scheduling, note taking, answering phones, setting up appointments, or filing. This position may or may not require the actual reading and editing of written work.
English as a Second Language (ESL) Instructor:
An ESL Instructor is a trained professional who teaches the basics of English to people whose native language is not English. ESL Instructors may or may not work in their native country.
The term English Teacher typically refers to the teacher(s) that are designated in Junior High and High School to specifically teach grammar, vocabulary, and punctuation, while promoting frequent reading and proper writing.
A Gag Writer, or Joke Writer, is a person who writes for television shows, comedians, commercials, or other forms if media if necessary. Their purpose is to provide short and funny content for a variety of audiences and media.
Ghostwriters are professional writers which write articles, books, or other publications and give credit to the person they are hired by. Ghostwriters are typically utilized by celebrities, politicians, or other prominent figures, to write their personal memoirs.
Grant Writers may work freelance for, or have a staff position with, an organization; typically a nonprofit. Grant Writers must research, and understand all aspects of how to obtain a grant, or funding. They utilize their persuasive writing skills to articulate the organization’s mission, goals, and accomplishments; ultimately, in hope of, obtaining funding.
The Indexer is a person who analyzes the content of a book, pulling key words and themes out. This person then lists these terms in the back of the book and references the pages in which they may be found on.
Journalists research and write articles on facts, or events. Their subjects may range anywhere from war, to fashion. Journalists usually write with a unique perspective on the subjects they write about, unlike Reporters.
A Literary Agent is the person who works for the Author, as opposed to the publishing company. They make connections, “talk up”, and present manuscripts on the behalf of the writer. Their job is to do anything in their power to make sure that the Author’s piece gets a fair shot at being published; whether the writing is for film, theater, or print publishing. The Literary Agent typically is paid a fixed percentage on the deals they make for the Authors they represent.
The Managing Editor is the second in command under the Editor-in-Chief. The Managing Editor, like the Assistant Editor, manages overflow work from the Editor-in-Chief. Unlike the Assistant Editor, the Managing Editor rarely reads or edits written work. Their main priority is to manage all activities by the publishing company, and the editorial staff.
The Manuscript Reader is usually the first stop for an unpublished piece of work. This person reads volumes and volumes of submissions, judging which pieces are worth the Acquisitions Editor’s time.
A Monologist is a person who performs an uninterrupted speech or poem, alone. Monologists usually write and then perform their own work. Typically a Monologist covers more mature subjects and tends to have an exclusively adult audience. Monologues are used to explain a feeling, reaction, or to express opinions on any subject.
The Production Editor is concerned with keeping its companies publications on a schedule, meeting budgets, setting up meetings, planning events, and informing and updating media with information regarding upcoming publications.
A Proofreader is a person who usually gives the writing piece one last “look over” before it goes to press. Proofreaders catch and fix any errors that slipped past the rest of the editing staff and sign off on the piece to be printed.
Public Relations Writer:
The Public Relations Writer creates materials about a publishing company, and/or an author, and distributes it. Public Relations Writers hope to create a familiarity with, and excitement about, an upcoming release to the public.
A Publicist is a person who is a liaison between the publishing company and the media. This person provides interviews, makes connections, and does anything else necessary to provide a positive image of the author and the publishing company. They work to create a buzz by hyping the upcoming release, in hopes of increasing the products sales.
The Publisher oversees the actual creation of the book or magazine, and its distribution. The Publisher usually has a financial stake in publication therefore they may have say in the procedure and quality of work published by the publishing house.
A Reading Tutor coaches people that have difficultly reading or understanding written word, to develop and improve reading skills. A Reading Tutor usually works with children, but may work with anyone of any age, at any skill level.
A Reporter is a Journalist that researches and reports news in an unbiased way. Reporters may work locally, nationally, or worldwide.
A Researcher is in charge of validating the continuity, and accuracy, of any piece of writing intended for publication. They search for validation of all facts in a body of written work, in order to ensure absolute accuracy.
A Resume Writer is a person who is specially trained in understanding what employers want, and how to express a person’s interests and experiences properly in resume form. Resume Writers usually listen to the job seekers past experiences, and work with them to provide a clear and concise resume; based on their strengths, work history, and aspirations.
A Reviewer is a person who has experience and extreme knowledge in a particular field. They use their skills to write reviews, rating the strengths and weaknesses of the subjects they observe. Reviewers may work in a variety of fields; movies, food, theater, art, or books are just a few things that Reviewers may judge and write about.
Screenwriters write stories in the form of a script, or screenplay, to be presented on television, or in film. They may be hired to convert a novel into a screenplay, or they may write their own original pieces.
The Scriptwriter, as it pertains to business, refers to the person who creates sales pitches and presentations for the sales people to present to potential investors, bookstores, newsstands, or other related business; that helps the sale and promotion of book, magazine, or newspaper.
Scriptwriter (TV, Film, Radio, Theater):
A Scriptwriter writes copy, or persuasive advertising pieces, to be presented in advertisement on the radio, television commercials, or in movies.
A Speaker is a person who verbally presents written work, or informs a group of people on any subject. Speakers may write their own material or present someone else’s work.
A Speechwriter is a person who writes speeches for a Speaker. Many politicians, movie stars, and business heads use professional Speechwriters to articulate an idea or feeling they wish to convey to their audience.
A Staff Writer is a person who is employed by a publishing house, magazine, newspaper, television, or internet company to write regularly, and usually exclusively, for them.
Storytellers usually write and present their tales for a group of people. Storytellers typically imagine and create imagery to present to children, although they may perform for anyone of any age.
A Technical Editor reads and edits the work of a Technical Writer. They are experienced in the accepted practices and norms of Technical Writing and adhere to that format when reviewing and editing the writer’s work.
Technical Writers often write about science based subjects: they present information about computers, engineering, law, and medicine in an unbiased and factual way.
A Translator, in the writing profession, is someone who translates a piece of work written in one language, into that of another. This is a tricky profession because there is not always an exact equivalent to every word they must translate; therefore the translator must work to maintain the Authors intention while making the Authors work accessible to more people who speak different languages.
Web-based Freelance Writer:
A Web-based Freelance Writer typically works freelance for multiple internet companies. They research and create content, or articles, on a variety of topics for websites. They may be assigned or pick assignments from a project pool and adhere to specific deadlines and guidelines for writing. They usually do not get writing credit for their work and are paid on a piece-by-piece basis.
Writing Consultants are freelance “editors”, an aspiring Author may hire a Writing Consultant to look over a piece of writing they are working on. The Writing Consultant offer suggestions on the aspiring Author’s strengths, weakness, plot problems, or any other relevant criticism. The Writing Consultant’s main goal is to prepare the Author adequately to present their work to an Acquisitions Editor, or a publishing house.
A Writing Instructor is a person who teaches composition and grammar focused writing classes at college level.
Writing Professors are people who have proved themselves in the writing world by publishing work and establishing tenure with a college or university. They teach classes on writing and provide a unique perspective into the writing world.
A Writing Tutor is usually hired by the hour to help a person improve their overall writing skills; whether it is for school, personal, or professional use.
The Association of Writers and Writing Programs: This is an informational website that includes career services, job lists, and writing advice.
Bureau of Labor Statistics: Facts on Writers and Editors: This site provides statistics on the nature of writing jobs, their expected income, projected outlook on writing jobs, and other writing related occupations.
ERIC: Education Resources Information Center: Guidebook for Middle School and High School teachers who wish to inform their students about opportunities in writing. This guidebook outlines over 100 writing and editing careers in four specific sectors of the writing field.
List of Careers.org: This website provides a list of writing careers with brief description of each.
Michigan State University: Professional Writing Jobs: This site explains a little bit about what kinds of jobs a writer, with a degree in professional writing, can expect to find and obtain.
National Writers Union: NWU is an organization dedicated to “defending writers’ rights and economic interests.” Membership costs are based on a sliding scale and the organization offers various services to members; including job help, legal advice, and contract advice.
Writers Guild of America, East: The Writers Guild is a membership required labor union that represents writers in all media outlets. This website represents writers in Eastern American states.
Writers Guild of America, West: This website represents writers in the Western American states.
Writing World.org: This website provides a list of relevant articles on how to be a successful freelance writer. This site includes topics like; how to notice “red flags” in postings for writing jobs, and how to avoid internet writing scams.
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Published - December 2011