Book Editor Careers

How to become a Book Editor

What does a Book Editor do?

Editors are responsible for the style and content of publications. In book publishing, a commissioning editor selects the authors a publisher uses and the books to be printed, while copy-editors check articles for consistency and style. Much of the time is spent reading and evaluating manuscripts, meeting agents and authors, and attending book fairs.

After commissioning, the editor monitors the book’s progress and prepares regular reports for other departments such as sales, marketing and design. Controlling costs and budgets is an important part of the job, as is overseeing the work of editorial staff.

Some publishers employ specialist proofreaders and indexers to create indexes in technical books.

What's the working environment like working as a Book Editor?

Editors work long and irregular hours, including evenings and weekends.

The work is office-based, involving extensive use of computers. Much of the time is spent in meetings. There is a considerable degree of travel around the UK and overseas to meet new writers and agents, and to attend book fairs.

What does it take to become a Book Editor?

To be an editor you should have:

  • a good command of English with strong writing and IT skills
  • planning, organisational and staff management skills
  • creativity and good visual sense
  • financial skills and commercial flair
  • some legal knowledge regarding the content of publications
  • an eye for detail and the ability to implement change where necessary
  • an understanding of target audiences
  • negotiating and decision-making skills.

Book Editor Career Opportunities

Employment is available with contract publishers who work with a number of different clients. Many editors work on a freelance basis, and overseas employment is possible.

Commissioning editors may become editorial managers or directors, publishers, or may move into specialist areas.

Further information

If you would like to know anything about Book Editor that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

Society for Editors and Proofreaders (SfEP)
Riverbank House
1 Putney Bridge Approach
Tel: 020 7736 3278

Women in Publishing

The Publishers Association
29B Montague Street
Tel: 020 7691 9191

The Publishing Training Centre at Book House
45 East Hill
SW18 2QZ
Tel: 020 8874 2718

Publishing News Online

European Medical Writers Association

Facts and Stats:

  • There are one million people in the sales profession, excluding retail sales

  • Half of all sales people are in business-to-business sales.

  • Until something is sold, nothing happens (think about it).
  • The sales process in company IT may take three years.

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