Book Editor

Turn books from rough manuscripts into polished masterpieces.

Quick Stats

Salary Range
$29,000 – $97,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Book Editors do?

The job of a Book Editor begins with the blood, sweat, and tears of an Author. That could mean anything from a diligently researched biography of President Lincoln to a study on health foods for the next generation to an inventive tale painstakingly written by someone who has hopes of becoming the next Stephen King.

Fiction or nonfiction, that pile of paper turns into a flawless manuscript once the Book Editor has pored over it with an eagle eye. To be a Book Editor, you must be a language arts whiz, so you catch every “there” that’s supposed to be a “their,” pick out misused words, and fix sentences that just don’t match the rest of the work.

In addition to making grammatical and spelling edits, you also look at the story from a holistic perspective. This allows you to notice when a character’s blue eyes suddenly turn brown 50 pages later, or when his scar moves from the left cheek to the right. You pick up on tone, pace, and plot hang-ups, and suggest changes to make things clearer or more interesting for the reader. You might also be responsible for checking facts and making decisions concerning page layout, illustrations, font size, text style, and photos.

Whether you offer your services as a freelancer or hold down a job at a publishing company, getting the Author’s work published is the overall goal. It takes a strong working relationship with your Author and a boatload of patience, but your efforts could take you to the top spot on every bestseller list.

Should I be a Book Editor?

You should have a bachelor's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Outside the Box Thinker: Your creative brainpower gets a workout as you come up with innovative ideas.
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.
  • Persistent: You keep pushing through, even when faced with tough obstacles.

  • Also known as: Editor, Book

    How to become a Book Editor

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