How to become a Book Editor

£36,000

estimated salary
What do they do?

Does a baffling story plot make you crazy? Then you should become a book editor…

Book editors spend a lot of their time reading and reviewing manuscripts (texts that haven’t been published yet). Some of these manuscripts may not be good enough to be published, however, book editors that do discover a good manuscript will nurture the relationship with the author and offer their expert opinion to ensure the book is a success. 

Many authors will choose to solely work with one book editor their entire career, and may even follow them if they decide to work with other publishers. 

General duties of a book editor include: 

  • Reading and editing content
  • Checking facts and sources to ensure they’re legitimate
  • Collaborating with authors to develop content that’s in keeping with the agreed editorial guidelines
  • Managing the relationship with authors and other parties involved in the publishing of the book, such as proofreaders, graphic designers and marketers
  • Managing schedules to ensure that manuscripts are meeting publishing deadlines
  • Attending regular meetings to keep the publishing team informed of schedules and to discuss any issues 
Is it right for me?

Being a bookworm is essential if you want to become a book editor, as you’ll spend most of your time reading. 

Objectivity and empathy are similarly important, as you’ll need to review the manuscript from the author’s perspective and not your own – and take their thoughts and feelings into account. 

Other key skills for a book editor include: 

  • Excellent understanding of spelling, grammar, punctuation and syntax (if you’ve cracked their, there and they’re, you’re already ahead of most!)
  • Great attention to detail
  • Awareness of current social, cultural and ethical developments as you’ll have to decide if there’s an audience for the book’s genre
  • Excellent time management skills
  • Strong communication skills, both verbal and written, as you’ll have to tactfully provide honest feedback to authors
  • IT proficiency
Career progression

Junior book editor

Up to 24,000

Book editor

Up to 40,000

Managing editor

Up to 50,000

What's it really like?

Get qualified

Most publishers require their book editors to have a bachelor’s degree in a subject like English, Communications, Creative Writing or Journalism. However, it may be possible to work up to the position with a good level of experience and specialised training. 

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