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Book Editor Profile

How to Become a Book Editor

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Skills & Education Book Editors Have:

Most editors have at least a B.A., usually in English or literature. Some have graduate degrees, but it’s not a requirement. More important than the specifics of your education are a passion for literature and an aptitude for editing.

Specialization Among Book Editors:

Another important thing an editor needs to bring to the table is an awareness of, and interest in, the subject matter. The reality of book publishing today is that it’s very specialized. There are imprints at the publishing houses which focus on specific genres of literature, everything from science fiction to romance to cookbooks to literary fiction. So you need to keep this in mind when applying for jobs. While entry-level candidates are not expected to know everything about a subject, it’s probably not a good idea to try to get a job editing romances if you’ve never read one and hate the genre.

Career Advice:

The bottom line about book editors is that they love books. They’re voracious readers that went into the profession because they get a thrill discovering new voices and working with authors. If you fit that bill, this could be a perfect job for you. Just think about what kind of books you’d get to edit in a perfect world -- historical fiction? business? gardening? -- and start looking for an editorial opening at a publishing house that publishes in this area. For a list of publishing houses, check out this listing of company profiles.

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