How to Become a Book Editor: a Complete Guide

Let me guide you to step into the role of a book editor and unlock the power of storytelling and shaping narratives?. 

Do you know that the average salary of a book editor is around $50,000 per year? 

Come along with me to embark on a journey where every page of the book holds the potential to grab your reader’s attention and leave a lasting impact on your readers✅. 

Let me tell you that becoming a book editor requires a lot of hard work. Initially, behind every famous author, there is an incredible editor?. 

Let’s jump into the tiniest details about what it takes to be a successful book editor?. 

Questions you should ask yourself before starting your career as a book editor 

Before you think of jumping into the career of becoming a book editor, I would suggest you ask a few questions about whether becoming a book editor is the right career choice for you. 

  • Do you have an interest in writing and knowing more about various genres and writing styles?
  • Do you have strong grammar and vocabulary skills?
  • Have you done any research related to editing, writing, or content formation?
  • Do you think you have sufficient punctuation skills to contribute to different writing styles? 
  • If you are new to the field, are you willing to learn from scratch to discover the ins and outs of becoming a book editor?
  • Are you mentally prepared to work in this field for the next 5-6 years?

I appreciate the time and effort you have contributed towards answering the above questions. If you have answered positively to most of my questions above, let me update you that you have passed the first stage towards becoming a book editor. 

Let me cover a few essential aspects that you should know in your journey of becoming a book editor.  

Who is a Book Editor?

A book editor is a professional who works with authors and helps improve the structure, content, grammar, and overall quality before the book gets published. Book editors have the traditional authority to decide whether or not to publish a book. They need to proofread and rectify the necessary changes. 

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 15,500 openings for writers and book editors are projected every year. With increased demand, the demand for writers and book editors is set to grow 4 percent by the year 2032. 

Book editors play an integral part in the publishing process by providing feedback, formulating editorial suggestions, and ensuring that the manuscript meets the standards of the publishing industry and the target audience. 

A book editor works with different authors or specific authors, evaluating various types of books, including fiction, non-fiction, memoirs, academic texts, and more?. 

Scope of Book Editors In the Future 

The book publishing industry is a 25.7 billion industry and has been tremendously growing. 

Currently, in the year 2023, around 920.26 thousand book editors were employed to work in publishing companies. However, compared to the previous year, 806.8 thousand people were working in publishing companies. 

The global book publishing market is worth $91.39 billion as of 2023. However, the market is projected to grow up to 7%, i.e., around $97.84 billion by 2027. Thus creating more demand for writers and book editors. 

In the USA, there are around 67% of women working as book editors. At the same time, there are only 33% of men working as book editors. 

I am listing down a few top organizations that are well flourished and often hire book editors in the USA 

•Universal Book Writers

•The Author Tribe




How much can a Book Editor earn??

A book editor earns compensation ranging from $30,000-$65,000 per year, even as a beginner. However, it depends on the organization or specific publishing company you are working for. Book editors are classified as per their experience, such as entry-level editors, intermediate/mid-level editors, or senior editors. 

An editor with prior experience and expertise in the field of editing can earn up to $1,00,000 a year. Another way to earn as a book editor is by providing freelance services. Freelance book editors have the prestige of charging money as per their desired rate. 

Usually, freelance book editors charge hourly or per-project rates. They can earn anywhere between $20-$100 or more per hour, depending on the project?. 

Skills Required To Become a Book Editor

Book editors have different roles while editing. It is essential to determine whether you want to become a line editor, development editor, copy editor, or proofreader. 

Editors are well respected, and they have their names printed on the published book. A good editor provides the necessary help to the book author to publish an eye-catching book?. 

I am mentioning a few skill sets that you will require to become a book editor. 

  • Having excellent command of grammar, vocabulary, punctuation, spelling, and writing style.
  • Ability to revise and review content for clarity. 
  • Developing proofreading skills and understanding grammatical errors and inconsistencies. 
  • Identifying areas for improvement and analyzing the overall content. 
  • Understanding the publishing process and different methods involved in the publishing process. 

A tip from me: Take courses and watch videos that will help you in upskilling the skills required to become a book editor. Practice by looking at your competitors’ manuscripts and try editing them in your own way. With the Editing Mastery: How To Edit Writing To Perfection you can learn secrets to editing and a few skills mentioned above.

How to Become a Book Editor (Tips)

You need to meet some mandatory requirements to become a book editor. Book editors need to be extremely skilled in their writing skills, punctuation, and grammar. Book editors are hired based on their knowledge and how smartly they communicate with the author. 

You must get a degree and some certifications to be known as a book editor. To be recognized as a professional book editor, here are some tips you can follow?. 

Get Appropriate Certifications to Become A Book Editor

To get jobs and opportunities as a book editor. Book editors must have proficiency and expertise in a particular segment. To stand out from others, you need appropriate certifications to show that you have the knowledge and necessary skills to do the job?. 

There are various certification courses available in person and on the internet; however, here are a few enlisted certifications you should consider?. 


  • The CPBE is the only professional certification course acknowledged by the publishing industry. 
  • The Editorial Freelancers Association (EFA) has developed the CPBE certification program to provide its learners with expertise in book editing?. 
  • The program has a dedicated fee that involves study materials, a membership in EFA for one year, and access to mock exams.  
  • To get certified, applicants need to pass an exam that involves a group of topics related to book editing. 
  • The eligibility criteria for this exam is that applicants should have a minimum of 5 years of experience as a book editor?. 

Certified Content Editor (CCE)(PAID CERTIFICATION- $5.40)

  • CCE certifications are beneficial for those who belong to the field of content marketing and copywriting. 
  • The certification helps editors understand the fundamentals of content marketing and the impact of significant content?. 
  • The CCE certification program focuses on providing four courses that include writing that generates leads, Core content strategy, Optimizing content, and Advanced content strategy. 
  • At least two years of experience in content marketing or a related field is necessary to gain certification✅. 

Education Requirements To Be A Book Editor

  • Becoming a book editor requires a bachelor’s degree in a related field to book editing. These include pursuing a degree in the field of Journalism and English. 
  • Having a degree creates a good impression in front of big employees. 
  • In addition to a degree, prior experience as a book editor or any other qualifications that relate to the field of book editing can build a strong sentiment of yours. 
  • In the field of book editing, academic qualifications are essential; however, practical experience, networking, and a strong portfolio are equally important for becoming a successful book editor✅. 

Years of Experience Required To Be A Book Editor

  • Every skill can be mastered with effective practice and experience. To be a successful book editor, you will need to master your writing and editing skills, learn the skills of networking, and maintain good communication. 
  • Be it any niche you are working on as a book editor, you will need a lot of experience to master these skills. 
  • Writing and editing are skills that come through a lot of effort and practice. Years of experience depend from person to person; the more confident you are in providing your expertise, the more opportunities you will come across✅.  

Responsibilities of a Book Editor

A book editor is responsible for supervising the overall quality of a manuscript or book project. The primary responsibility of a book editor is to work closely with the auditors to enhance their work, preparing it for publication. Major responsibilities of a book editor include ?. 

Manuscript editing

  • Manuscript editing is an important step while editing. 
  • The book editor is responsible for fetching the strengths and weaknesses of a manuscript. 
  • Book editors are responsible for providing feedback based on it to the author. 
  • This constitutes evaluating the plot, characters, pacing, structure, writing style, and overall marketability of the book?. 

Provide Content Editing 

  • A book editor must see if the content needs any alterations. 
  • Book editors are responsible for checking if the information printed in the book is up to date. 
  • Content editing refers to improving and checking the structure, plot, characterization, pacing, and overall storytelling✅. 

Strictly Meeting the deadlines 

  • An editor needs to maintain a minimum target of completing his given tasks. It is essential to meet the deadlines given by the author or the publisher. 
  • Book editors are responsible for not compromising the quality while meeting strict deadlines✅. 

Finalizing the content by Proofreading 

  • After the editing is completed, book editors conduct a final review to catch any remaining errors or typos that might have been missed during previous steps. 
  • Proofreading is necessary as it gives the final assurance to the print to be published. 
  • Proofreading is the final step that ensures a high level of accuracy before the book goes to print or is published digitally✅.

Building relationships and Teaming with other publishing professionals

  • Building relationships and teaming is a skill you need to build while working as an editor. 
  • It is your responsibility to help authors achieve their vision for the book. 
  • You need to collaborate and have effective communication throughout the editing process to ensure you provide the necessary help to the author✅.

Tips to Improve In Your Career As A Book Editor

A book editor has to work on a lot of articles and journals to become a great book editor. To build a strong career as a book editor, you need to be prepared both physically and mentally. 

The process is time-consuming, so you need to learn to stay calm in unfortunate situations. To understand the skill of leveraging yourself from an ordinary editor to a professional editor, you need to use these untold tips to improve your career as a book editor?. 

Decide the level you want to work

As a book editor, there are several positions to work in. You need to be specific in deciding the level you want to work. Various kinds of editors include proofreaders, copy editors, line editors, developmental editors, etc. 

It is important to decide the role you want to work in the industry. Determine the kind of editor you want to be perceived as, research about it, and enroll for its courses and certifications available. As you determine the kind of editor you want to be, you can start working as an entry-level book editor✅. 

Gain Experience 

There is always a way to improve and enhance with so much awareness with the help of the internet. There are various resources available that provide networking opportunities and educational programs for aspiring editors. 

Familiarize yourself with new updates in the editing tools and style guides used in the industry. There are opportunities where you can apply for internships at publishing houses, 

Climb the ladder

To be known as a great book editor, you need to be advanced in your skills. Climbing the ladder means advancing in your career by learning different skills, getting certification, and gaining experience. 

Climbing the ladder involves developing expertise in a specific niche and extensively improving in it. 

It also involves collaborating with different authors and publishers and maintaining a good network with them. Learning does not end as you gain a reputation for your editing skills. 

Top Online Courses To Become A Book Editor in the United States

Becoming a book editor can be convenient with extravagant technology and making optimum use of the internet. A book editor course can be availed by any individual sitting at home. However, there are several online courses available on the internet on how to become a book editor. Here are a few reputable online courses you can explore?. 

Introduction To Copyediting (PAID COURSE- $850)

  • The course is offered by the Berkley Extension in California. 
  • The course covers all the aspects of style manuals, the copy editing process, the creation of style sheets, reference books, and a lot more. 
  • The copyediting course reveals the principles of writing and legal issues, such as copyright and approvals, that copy editors may experience during their work. 
  • The course eliminates biased information and offers a good understanding of the use of conventional marks and symbols, as well as the feature of Microsoft Word’s Track Changes✅. 

Proofread Like A Pro(PAID CERTIFICATION- $37.30)

  • The course offers a lot of practicality and is known to be a bestseller on Udemy. 
  • The course is conducted by a flourished instructor who passed a Ph.D. in English and literature from the University of Cambridge?. 
  • The course is simply not flooded with information but delivers a practical experience by conducting the proofreading exercise after every session. 
  • If you want to be a pro at producing error-free documents and skyrocket your career as a proofreader, this course can be a deal breaker. 

Writing Editing Course: Master Fiction and Content Writing (PAID CERTIFICATION- $24.07)

  • Suppose you are curious about fiction stories and writing. 
  • This course can teach you how to write engaging fictional content and develop your book editing skills. 
  • The course covers all the important aspects, such as the use of software, keyboard shortcuts to edit faster, etc. 
  • This course is designed to master your writing as well as develop your editing skills. 
  • The editing skills will enable you to edit books, articles, and academic writing.

If you want to save your valuable time and learn to edit the right way, you are set to enroll in the right course. 

Top Schools in the World To Become A Book Editor

Getting a formal education can build a strong foundation for becoming a book editor?. Understand that acquiring academic qualifications from top-rated schools all around the world can land you a high-paying job. 

Getting a degree in a specific field of editing and publishing can hold a lot of value and can also provide you with the ins and outs of setting up a publishing business. Some of the top universities you can consider to seek admission?. 

Northwestern University 

  • Northwestern University is located in Evanston. The University is known as one of the leading private universities. 
  • The University offers a variety of courses to its students. 
  • Pursuing a degree in Bachelors of English and literature from such a well-renowned university can be reflected in your CV. 
  • The University also offers several workshops and programs an individual can enroll in✅. 

Harvard University

  • Harvard University is a well-trusted university that is famous for its curriculum and teaching style. 
  • The University provides a lot of resources to aspiring authors and editors. 
  • The Department of English and Literature offers suitable courses for individuals who want to pursue a career in writing, editing, and publishing✅. 

Massachusetts Institute of Technology 

  • The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, also referred to as MIT, is known as a grant research center in Cambridge. 
  • The institute brings up several lessons to learn in the field of book editing. 
  • While being ranked as the leading University, qualifying for a degree from this institute is spectacular✅. 

New York University

  • New York University is another prime university recognized worldwide. 
  • It offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees in marketing, writing, English and literature, and many more. 
  • It provides hands-on experience in advanced book editing, copy editing, and proofreading. 
  • It involves all the tasks that will assist you in becoming a professional book editor✅. 

Emerson College

  • Emerson College is mainly located in Boston; however, it has various campuses located in different corners of the world. 
  • Emerson College has the aim of helping its students to master the essential skills in the book editing and publishing field. 
  • It provides numerous classes, and it gives the freedom to its students to select the course as per their interests and goals✅. 

Where to find a Book Editor Job opportunity online?

Several websites on the internet are available for you to find job opportunities online. Various publishers and authors prefer finding editors on the internet, as it saves their time. The scope of getting hired online has a greater probability. Here are some ways through which you can find your desired job online?.  

Book Editor Job Boards

Job boards are a great way to find a job online. There are a few job boards that are specifically designed for book editors. Applying for jobs on these job boards saves a lot of time. Try creating an account on these job boards and start applying for jobs?. 


Upwork Jobs


Indeed Jobs

Online Networks With Professionals

Building online networks can be great as you gain updates on industry trends, find new clients or authors to work with, and gain insights into the publishing world?. There are several ways to find people who have the same interests as you. Join communities and engage with people. 

With conferences and webinars becoming virtual, it is convenient to connect with professionals all around the world. Join a group of writers and publishers; there are chances you can find opportunities there✅. 

Social Media

Social media has been booming for the last five years. Social media apps such as LinkedIn and Instagram are powerful tools for connecting with authors, publishers, and publication agencies. 

Remember, create a strong and attractive profile that will look professional, can help you actively engage in conversations, share industry news and insights, and promote your editing services✅. 

My Recommendations 

I would recommend that before working as an editor, you gain as much knowledge as you can. 

  • Improve your writing skills and master your grammar. 
  • Utilize social media and connect with authors, fellow editors, and industry professionals. 
  • Say ‘Yes’ to opportunities and gain experience and certificates from authors. 
  • Stay updated on industry insights and other valuable information about your particular field. 
  • Engage in groups, establish yourself as an authority in your field, and build meaningful relationships within the writing and publishing community✅. 

Key takeaways

Becoming an editor isn’t an easy job, but I have done my best to break down the steps for you. 

Also, feel free to drop a comment down below if you have any questions related to the article, and my team will reach out to you as soon as possible. 

Keep improving, and all the best for your journey!?

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