What Does it Take to Become a Book Editor?

Dr. Oscar John Ma

July 15, 2022

Dr. Oscar John Ma

There are many different skills and knowledge required to become a book editor. Some include attention to detail, a Bachelor’s degree in book editing, and training in publishing software. Others require a certain amount of experience working with writers and translators. However, a few of the most common requirements to become a book editor include:

Attention to detail

Being a book editor is a highly detailed job, and this attention to detail is an absolute must. Not only will you be responsible for polishing a book’s content, but you will also be responsible for catching little mistakes. With your keen eye for detail, you can spot any errors before they become visible to a reader. Editors typically spend their working days reading manuscripts to find the writer’s style, flow, and consistency problems. By having great attention to detail, you will be able to spot these problems and complete your editing duties efficiently and accurately.

As a book editor, you must take high school English courses and APs to improve your writing skills. Ensure you have a good GPA and SAT or ACT score to gain acceptance to good colleges. Throughout high school, read as many books as possible and try to write your work. This will give you a better understanding of editing and creating high-quality content.

Bachelor’s degree in book editing

Obtaining a Bachelor’s degree in book editing prepares you for a diverse job that requires collaboration and a deep understanding of writing. In this career, you’ll focus on the big picture of a story and its technical details, such as spelling, punctuation, and syntax. You’ll also work with other departments, collaborate with other individuals, and deliver book content to clients.

You can start freelancing after your degree, depending on your preference and skills. However, if you have experience in editing, a degree in English will be helpful. You can earn a living with this line of work if you have excellent writing skills. You should get an internship and build your portfolio if you’d like to make a living as a freelance book editor. If you cannot find a full-time job, you can try freelance work, which is usually much cheaper than a full-time salary.

Training in publishing software

Before starting your book publishing journey, you must know the types of software you’ll need. In this course, you’ll learn about Adobe InDesign and the various functions it can perform. You’ll also learn about Photoshop and Illustrator, as well as Acrobat. Ultimately, you’ll learn how to design the layout of your book while considering your audience’s expectations. Your publishing class will also cover the basics of marketing your book, including marketing strategies for fiction and nonfiction.

In addition to knowing how to use popular publishing software, editors also need good writing skills. Their ability to correct copy depends on their creative writing skills, so learning how to write effectively is essential. Many editors write their books to hone their skills. This is a surefire way to improve their skills. Editors also need to know how to use the latest editing software to turn a manuscript into a polished, professional-looking book.

Experience managing writers and translators

Becoming a book editor is an exciting career choice. This profession requires the balance of working on various projects, managing writers and translators, and meeting deadlines. Typical days involve working on several projects. Some of which are lengthy, and sometimes you will also be responsible for proofreading. As a book editor, your day will be full of various tasks, including substantive editing, line editing, proofreading, photography research, and permissions.

Many editors working in New York City, the Western Hemisphere’s publishing hub. Although editors outside of New York City may be able to find work, they would likely earn less than the median salary. To become a book editor, you will need a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field and a strong command of the English language. Additional qualifications include relevant experience, internships, and a strong portfolio.