A successful editor is a market-savvy businessperson with innate creativity and a mastery of language and storytelling. A BA in English or journalism sets the stage for this career, but any communications-related degree is fine for fiction editors; technical/nonfiction editors may have degrees in science or other specialized fields. Bottom line: Be able to not only assess when a manuscript isn’t working but also articulate why it’s not working. Learn project management skills because editors handle multiple projects in various stages of development on tight deadlines. You need people skills, too, as you must cultivate productive relationships with creative teams (including authors), production and accounting staff, and agents and lawyers. Business acumen is necessary for negotiating contracts, working with profit-and-loss grids, and positioning your books in the marketplace. Don’t count on your college degree to develop these skills; experience is a must for landing an entry-level editorial assistant position. Take paid or intern positions with local magazines and papers, handle publications for large companies, work on the college paper or yearbook, intern with New York publishers, or volunteer to create/edit marketing materials for non-profit charities. You’ll learn and network simultaneously. If you can, get a copyediting or proofreading certificate from a university or attend a publishing institute such as the University of Denver’s Publishing Institute to learn manuscript mark-up, specialized jargon, bookmaking, and overall industry knowledge. Bookselling experience can help with industry and market awareness, especially if you take on buying, stock management, or event-planning positions. The path that opened the door for me was a BA in English, a copyediting certificate, and a job writing and editing video game instructions for a local information publisher. My masters degree didn’t come until later.