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How To Become A Book Editor

When it comes to getting a book out into the world, there is a lot more to it than just writing.

How To Become A Book Editor

It has to go through editing and publishing, and there is a whole lot of marketing that needs to happen too. 

One of the most important parts of finishing a book and making it fit for publishing is book editing. There are a few different ways of editing a book, but it is a really important part of the whole process. 

If you are considering becoming a book editor but you don’t know where to start, then you have come to the right place!

Below, you will find everything you need to know about how to become a book editor. So read on to find out! 

What Do Book Editors Do?

If you think that book editors edit books, then you would be right! But there is a little more to it than just that.

Book editors will review a manuscript that has been given to them by a writer and they will improve on the organization of the text, the tone of voice, the style, and more. 

It is the book editor’s job to make sure that the manuscript makes sense and is readable. Some book editors even work with assistants to work out how much publishing potential a manuscript has. 

How To Become A Book Editor

In order to become an editor for a book, you need to be quite well-read and have some skill in writing. The more proficient you are at reading and writing, the better you will be as a book editor. 

There are a few things you need to do in order to become a book editor, so follow the steps below and become one for yourself. 

Step 1: Get A Degree

In some cases, you might get lucky and find a book editing job without a degree, but in most cases, this won’t work. It’s in your best interest to get a degree in the right field before you become an editor. 

Degrees such as English, Journalism, and even communications will put you in a better position to get hired as a book editor. 

Step 2: Look For Editorial And Publishing Opportunities

If you go to college to get a degree in one of the above majors, you will usually be offered opportunities to develop both your publishing and editorial skills. If you aren’t offered them, don’t hesitate to ask your teachers.

Even if they can’t offer you one of these opportunities, they may be able to point you in the right direction. 

These editorial and publishing opportunities are perfect for your resume and they will offer you authentic experience in this field. In some cases, you may even be able to get an Internship. 

Step 3: Find Additional Training Courses

This isn’t a requirement to become a book editor, but it will greatly benefit you if you choose to do it.

There are plenty of online training courses and programs available that will help you understand how a book editor works. 

These training courses can also help you understand the relationship between book editors and real clients, which will help you get used to that environment long before you actually do it. 

Having these extra training courses under your belt will make you much more appealing as a job candidate and much more reliable and experienced too. 

Step 4: Create & Develop Your Portfolio

Before you start editing big books and epic fantasies, it’s quite important to create and develop your portfolio.

Newer book editors generally work on smaller assignments first, to build up experience and have some evidence of their work. 

For your portfolio, you can even volunteer your skills to smaller writers or you can freelance for a while.

Building up your portfolio is one of the most important things you can do when you are building up your presence as a book editor, so it’s ok to do a couple of assignments for free! 

Once you have multiple texts and projects in your portfolio, you can move on to the next step. 

Step 5: Look For Editorial Assistant Positions

More often than not, you have to work your way up the ladder in book editor positions. This means that you will usually have to start in an assistant position or you will have to go through the apprenticeship process. 

How To Become A Book Editor (1)

This is incredibly important though because you will be able to work under someone more experienced who can train you to be a fantastic book editor.

They will help you understand everything that you need to know, and they will be able to train you to handle any professional situation you find yourself in. 

Once you have completed the other steps, look for editorial assistant positions or even apprenticeships. Apply for as many of these positions as you can. This is how you get your foot in the door! 

Step 6: Be Promoted To Book Editor

This step requires hard work, dedication, and patience, but it is worth it for what waits at the end!

You will have to spend quite a bit of time building up your portfolio and your experience in an editorial assistant position, and sometimes this can take a couple of years. 

But hang in there! As you progress through your editorial assistant position, you will be gaining the necessary skills and knowledge to become a book editor.

After enough time has passed and you gain enough experience, you will be promoted to an official book editor assistant. 

The more experience and skills you have, the better your chances of being promoted! 


Becoming a book editor does take quite a bit of time, but once you get there, all the hard work is worth it!

There are lots of different kinds of book editors as well, so if you want to specialize in a specific genre or book type, you can! 

Remember, experience, skill, and knowledge are paramount when it comes to book editing, so build it up as much as you can!

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