What if becoming a book editor is the right idea for you?

Do you love reading? Do you always have your nose in a book? Is the library your favorite place on the planet? Do the shelves in your home rival the shelves at your local bookstore? Are you a linguist and have a healthy understanding of all components of the written word? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you may be thinking about becoming a book editor. 

Books have long been and always will be invaluable assets. They encourage free thinking, answer questions, spark creativity, and open doors to new worlds and endless opportunities. Historical fiction, fantasy, science fiction, adventure, romance, mystery, biographies and autobiographies, health and fitness, history, health and fitness; the list of genres goes on and on. Whether you’re just starting out in the working world or you’re looking to make a career change, the idea of becoming a book editor is certainly exciting. But how do you go about making your dream of editing books become a reality? Read on for some handy tips that you can use to guide you to a fulfilling career. 

Book Editor Job Description 

First, let’s take a look at the job description of a book editor. In this position, you will have the all-important job of editing the words, punctuation, formatting, and the overall stories and/or information presented in authors’ manuscripts. You’ll need to have a keen eye for details and have to be proficient in the written language and fact-checking. 

Book editors can be either traditional or freelance. Traditional editors assume formal roles with traditional publishing houses and once they’re established, they can even decide which books they publish. Freelance editors advertise their services online, in printed publications, through networking, and by establishing relationships with publishers, and are offered jobs on an as-needed, often non-contractual basis. An editor can work alongside an author and make suggestions that will improve the overall flow and presentation of the book, or they may serve as the final set of eyes that overlooks a book before it is proofread and sent out to be published. 

As a book editor, your duties and responsibilities can include, but aren’t limited to, the following: 

  • Accept manuscripts from authors looking for an editor
  • Deliver work by a deadline 
  • Improve writing so that it’s more appealing and easier to read by the intended audience
  • Confirm any facts presented in the books
  • Work with authors to develop the story, dialogue, prose, voice, style, and so on

How to Become a Book Editor

In order to become a book editor, while it isn’t always necessary, having a degree in higher education – a Bachelor of Arts or a Master of Science, for example – can certainly be beneficial. Of course, you’ll also need to be highly proficient in the written language and should compile a list of samples to showcase your editing skills, and include those samples, as well as a CV, references, and any other helpful credentials, in a portfolio. 

Once you have a portfolio assembled, the following tips can help you land a gig or a career as a book editor: 

  • Establish an online presence. Develop a website, and create profiles on social media platforms and job boards, such as LinkedIn, Upwork, and Indeed. Include information pertaining to your editing experience in your profiles and accounts. 
  • Network. Join associations that are dedicated to editors, such as The Society for Editing and the Editorial Freelancers Association. Connect with people in these organizations to put your name out there and to collect tips about jobs. 
  • Clearly establish your services and your rates. Make sure you clearly state the services that you intend on offering, and that you establish fair and affordable rates. 

Summing It Up

With the above-mentioned information, you can set yourself up for a fruitful career as a book editor.