How to Become a Book Editor: All you need know

Behind every writer's success is a great book editor. Although rare notice a book editor would be taken of, he always plays a huge role in a well-selling book, so what does a book editor do and how to become an editor. Follow me to have more detailed information about the book editor.

Step 1: Understand a book editor's description and responsibilities.

Book editing is a type of editing profession. Editing is the central link of the whole publishing process. It is an ideological, scientific, and professional job and it is also hard, meticulous and creative work. What are the basic tasks and responsibilities of the book editor? Book editor's main task is to plan and select topics according to market needs, or to select topics based on the plan of a company, and then to find suitable editors based on the chosen topic requirements, to draft, review, proofread, and organize publication.

  1. Responsible for the selection of topic and of youth literature, novels, and literary books.
  2. Prepare material for publications, liking newspaper, magazines and so on.
  3. Establish and maintain author resources, and do a good job of tracking and follow-up services for the topic selection.
  4. Read, edit, and rewrite content written by writers.
  5. Revise mistakes of spelling, punctuation, and syntax.
  6. Oversee the production process.
  7. Responsible for the writing of book copy, modifying and confirming the cover design and book editing work.
  8. Coordinate and cooperate with other departments to do a good job in the marketing of books.
  9. Other work content delivered by superior leaders.

Step 2: Think before you do: whether is it worth to be a book editor?

Once someone wants to publish his/her book, he/she needs to handle a lot of work including book editing. Now more and more writers hire their own book editors on the ground of trust. That's the reason why many people choose book editing as a career, thus all jobs have their own advantages and disadvantages. Here is a list of the advantages and disadvantages of being a book editor.

1. The reason of being a book editor

a. Do the job you like

This reason is for the one who really likes reading and language which is a hobby in his/her early times. Book editing is a job needing a large amount of reading or proofreading, even one can correct the mistakes in a book he/she thinks it's improper to make the book in a level of profession. Book editors may meet their loved writers in career time and such an editing job is a real happy thing.

b. Nice work environment

Working with books sounds a nice choice. All editors' job is editing until meeting the standard of publishing. Paying attention to edit more and more and get more experience is the only way to be a successful book editor. Once you get many enough clients, you can choose to be a freelance editor who works anytime and anywhere as they want.

c. It's really a challenging job

Book editing is suitable for someone who likes challenges because doing editing well is difficult. It takes a long period of training to become professional to work independently and a book editor needs to have several kinds of skill sets.

2. The reason of not being a book editor

a. High pressure

Book editing is not only to correct mistakes only but includes a large amount of work, which always needs to cooperate with writers, agents, other editors, marketing staff and so on. And there's a deadline for every book you are editing but all work may come to you at the same time. It's stressful to manage so much work. Keeping balance among different tasks to meet all clients' requirements challenges your ability.

b. Underpaid

This is the job which has not a much high salary comparing with other jobs like writer, book cover designer or advertiser. Doing this job primarily is on the ground of loving for editing because you will be overworked but underpaid. Sometimes, a book editor's work is invisible, and all cheer up is given to the writer.

c. Not so fun / Not Interesting

It always takes a long time to read and edit, especially boring to read academic materials. When get confused somewhere, you have to verify the information in this book again and again to guarantee it's quality, even an unclear word.

Step 3: Research Best colleges and universities for a book editor

A book editor needs a bachelor’s degree basically. It would be preferable for employer to major in English, journalism, communication, or have a course of mass media. Here are the 20 best colleges for you to choose from.

1. Asbury University

2. University of Florida

3. New York University

4. University of Missouri

5. University of Southern California

6. Carnegie Mellon University

7. University of Massachusetts – Dartmouth

8. University of Chicago

9. University of Washington

10. University of Texas at San Antonio

11. University of New Mexico

12. Ferris State University

13. Emerson College

14. Stony Brook University

15. University of North Carolina

16. Boston University

17. Ohio University

18. University of Southern California Annenberg

19. University of Texas Austin

20. Northwestern University

Step 4: Go through College

Text-only editing is untenable in nowadays media industry, or the salary is extremely low. Current editors require all-round abilities, which multimedia is basic, and you must understand marketing and some decorative design skills.

When you are determined to develop an editing career, take the first step in your college. You'd better choose a relevant major in news and media field.

  • English
  • Writing
  • Editing and publish
  • News
  • Journalism
  • Designing
  • Online publishing

If possible, take some relevant courses as much as possible.

  • Mass media
  • Cross-media
  • Intellectual Property Law
  • Marketing research and analysis
  • Advertising

Basically, it takes 4 years to get a bachelor's degree in editing-related major. Besides having course as your major requires, take time to some other relevant courses and grasp every chance to make your skills more developed.

Step 5: Internship Opportunity

Before entering into the real editing field, it is best to seeking an internship to practice skills you have learned in school. Like other career fields, book editing also pays attention to experience. Comparing with a newbie, an expert is more welcomed to writers.

Besides getting experience from internship, it also can make your resume looks richer. When you are adding more work experience in your resume, you can get more chances to be employed.

When you look for an internship, don't pay attention to salary, as many are unpaid, but try to focus on how much experience you can get. If you have your own liked genres, stick on this specialized path.

Step 6: Prepare relevant skills for a book editor

A professional book editor should have all relevant skills in this field. The following skills are required.

  • Skilled in language and writing
  • Cooperate with others
  • Massive reading
  • Marketing knowledge
  • Proofreading
  • Designing
  • Basic computer skills
  • Advertising

Step7: Find relevant book editing jobs, and apply for it.

When you get some experience in editing and want to have a piece of work done by yourself, be confident to apply for jobs. The demand of book editors outnumbers the current population of editors, so there is a talent gap needs to be filled. It's quite easy for book editors to get on to work in this field. From assistant to freelancer, only if you stick on your goal, you will get more clients who would follow you.

Before going to a company to have an interview, it's better to perfect your resume and bring some pieces of your past work which can prove your sufficient skills.

Important Tools for a successful book editor

Being a book editor, a computer is all you have to own. A new computer makes a start in your career, which do not require a high standard quality because all your work is reading and writing, so basic condition with Office Software is enough. Otherwise, preparing several reference books helps you a lot, such as books about grammar, wording and writing.

Develop your career path

In university, most of you may study all relevant subjects about editing like writing, communication, journalism, but before you decide to enter your job, you have to choose your own career path which can lead you to a successful ending goal.

Here may be two most popular choices when people are facing of editing job. Depending on your own favorite working style, there are editing freelance for free schedule and full-time jobs for who is more liking office working environment. In fact, these two choices don't make much clear that one can firstly work full-time in the initiative of career, and then keep one's own client resource, setting up an independent company or doing a freelancer.