What Is a Book Editor

Glossary > Editor

💬 Definition of Book Editors:

A book editor is responsible for the quality of the manuscript by checking the words, punctuation, grammar, and overall story. A good editor needs to pay attention to details and perform fact-checking too. Editors can work as freelancers or as part of a team, which is usually in a book publishing company. They also have a say in which books should get published. Sometimes, book editors work with authors from the beginning, helping them see the big picture and making suggestions along the way.

After an editor finishes their part, the manuscript goes to the proofreader.

Related questions about book editors:

Are there different types of editors?

The four most generally known types of editors are:

  • Developmental editors: Developmental editors take care of the manuscript and read it from a general perspective so that it won’t have any logical inconsistencies, plot holes, or character deviations.
  • Line editors: They are a combination of copy editors and developmental editors because although they edit the text, they do it from an overall perspective. Because of this, they’re not that common, and authors go for developmental editors instead. 
  • Copy editors: They correct errors in spelling, grammar, syntax, dialogue formatting, and punctuation use while keeping in mind the style and tone.
  • Proofreaders: They handle the very last step of the process to check the formatting and page layout (for which they sometimes use a proof copy). They also ensure the text has no misspellings in case copy editors miss some of them. You can also find proofreaders as a category on their own since they handle only the end fine-tuning.

How much does an editor earn?

An editor’s salary differs based on their experience, the size of the employer, the types of books it publishes, and geographic location. 

We can break down their salaries according to the type of editors and a novel-length manuscript.

  • Developmental editors cost $1,000 and $8,000.
  • Line editors cost between $600 and $2,000.
  • Copy editors cost between $300 and $1,200.
  • Proofreaders cost between $200 and $1,000.

What qualifications does a book editor need to have?

To become a book editor, you need a bachelor’s degree in a related field of study (English–or the language you edit in, Journalism, etc.). Prior experience in publishing or other relevant internships is considered a plus.

Are there editors for ebooks?

Yes. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), the number of editors who work for book, newspaper, periodical, and directory publishers will decrease through 2028 as the number of digital-only publications increases. Editors should shift their focus to this type of publishing to have an advantage in finding work more easily.

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