Book Editor


Take a tour around a local bookstore and for sure a wide array of books, shelf after shelf would be in display. Books in hardbound, in paperback, autobiographies, novels, trade books, inspirational books and the list can go on. For the shoppers, perhaps, a book on a shelf is just a book they might buy or think about buying or not at all. For the author of the book, especially those whose work got published for the first time, seeing their work in the shelf of a bookstore can be highly emotional as some books take years to finish. When a book is on the shelf, although it is the author’s name that will be remembered by the public, real credit should go to the Book Editor who made publication of the book happened. Thanks to the diligence of book editors, literary geniuses such as J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, J.K. Rowling, Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Anne Rice and George RR Martin were introduced to the world. If not for Book Editors, these literary masters’ works would still be manuscripts today.

Categorically, there are two types of Book Editors: Acquisitions Editors and Copy Editors. Acquisitions Editors are every writer’s best friends. If the writer wants a publishing house to print and publish his works, the writer must contact a publishing house’s Acquisitions Editor to have his works reviewed. More or less, the process of screening begins at the acquisition editor. Manuscripts land on their desks to be reviewed and depending on the Acquisitions Editor’s assessment, if he thinks the book is marketable or a potential best-seller then he tells his boss that he liked the book. Usually, writers just send sample chapters to these editors and if the review was a favorable one, the Acquisitions Editor would be working closely together with the writer until the book eventually is finished. Usually, they would give comments if a character would need more build up or sometimes general criticisms like “add more sex and that’d be a New York Times favorite.” They are the ones who would call a writer in the wee hours of the night just to remind them that deadline is fast approaching. In short, they are the ones who pressure a writer to be on time and the manuscript to be at par with best-selling works.

The Copy Editors, on the other hand, are the one who does the itty-gritty of editing the manuscript as a whole. They are the ones who make sure that correct grammar has been observed throughout the manuscript and correcting them when necessary. Along with grammar, correct spelling and punctuation are also checked out before proceeding with printing the manuscript into a book. Another important thing a Copy Editor does is to check for consistency of what’s written inside the pages. For example, the manuscript in question is a novel and the main character was established to have brown eyes and then maybe out of building up multiple characters, in the latter pages, the color of the eye suddenly is described to have a bluish tinge, so things like this are what Copy Editors would be looking closely at.

To land a book editing job, degree holders of Book Publishing undergraduate programs should bode well on one’s resume.