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How to become a Book Editor

Book Editor
avg. starting salary

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 

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


Junior book editor

Up to £24,000

Book editor

Up to £40,000

Managing editor

Up to £50,000

"As a book editor, my job involves reading manuscripts that have been sent in by aspiring authors or by authors the publishing house already represents. My role is to decide if the manuscript is of good enough quality to be published, and if there’s a large enough audience for the book’s genre to make it worthwhile publishing. While editing is a big part of the job, the best part is making and maintaining relationships with authors and helping them to develop ideas, characters and plot lines for their books - and knowing the books I work on will go on to bring joy to so many people."

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