7 Steps to Become a Successful Book Editor

7 Steps to Become a Successful Book Editor

Source: Pixabay.Com

If you’re passionate about books and editing and dream of working with authors to bring their stories to life, then a career in book editing is the right choice for you. However, there’s some homework you’ll have to do in order to make manuscripts well-structured and free of errors. 

First of all, you’ll have to be both a good reader and writer. If you’re able to read keenly, there’s a great chance you’ll spot the errors in the text and overall story plot. Editors are also expert writers who know how to put down words correctly to grab the reader’s attention. 

Read on to find 7 essential steps that will help you to be on your way to being a successful book editor. 

  1. Get the Right Education

There are several types of editors and each one of them handles different work in the editing process. So, the first thing you’ll have to be good at is understanding the subject of the book. For example, to edit fiction and poetry books, you’ll have to get a degree in English literature with a major in communication or journalism. 

However, if you want to be an editor of course books or books on technical topics, you’ll have to have a degree in that particular subject. For example, to edit an economics or history book, you’ll need to understand what the topic is about and whether the listed information and grammar are correct. 

  1. Pick Your Genre

Yes! That’s true. Book writers are looking for editors who are well-versed in the style and conventions of the genre of their book. That’s why it’s important to find your preferred genre and start polishing your skills in that particular genre. 

You’ll need to know how to identify plot holes, spot weak characters, and offer constructive feedback that will help authors improve their work. But don’t worry. You don’t have to take a toll on yourself. If you’re passionate about books and a particular genre, this will come naturally to you. 

If you are struggling to find the right genre for yourself, it’s advised to look around yourself and see what kinds of books you like to read. There’s a good chance that you’ll enjoy editing books in a similar genre. If you want to follow the genre that is in demand, you can research the market and find a genre that has the greatest number of editing jobs in the market. 

  1. Develop Your Skills

Once you have done the hard takes to find your perfect genre, you’ll need to develop your skills in that genre. This means reading widely in the genre, learning about its history and modern-day trends, and studying the craft of writing itself. But it doesn’t stop there. 

You also need to be well-versed in the business of publishing, from traditional publishing houses to small presses to self-publishing. After this, you’ll have to get some experience under your belt. This can be done by interning at a publishing house or even taking on some pro bono projects. 

Whatever route you choose, make sure you’re gaining as many skills as possible. Then, when you’re ready, you can start pitching your editing services to reputed authors and agents and make your mark in the publishing industry.

  1. Start Your Career as an Assistant Editor

You may think you know everything about book editing but there’s still someone better than you. That’s why it’s recommended to work as an assistant to an experienced editor in the start of your career. You’ll be doing the same work as the editor themselves but they’ll be supervising you. 

This approach will enable you to learn and experience the publishing process and how to work with the marketing teams to develop promotional materials for a book. This way, you’ll develop your communication skills by working with people from all departments. 

This experience will tell you how to be detail-oriented and deal with multiple information and manuscripts at a time. With the experience you gain, you will be well-positioned to move up the ranks and become an experienced editor. 

  1. Develop a Good Network

Developing a strong network will help you meet other professionals in the publishing industry, learn about new opportunities, and get your name out there. This will ultimately help you get editing gigs at the start of your editing career. There are a few different ways you can go about developing your network. 

One way is to attend industry events. These can be conferences, conventions, trade shows, or even social gatherings. Another way to develop your network is to join professional organizations. Joining an organization is a great way to learn the latest trends and news in the book publishing industry. 

You can also build a strong network of authors and publishers during your work as an assistant editor. This is probably the best way to personally meet some of the big names in the industry and offer your complimentary services. 

  1. Build Your Portfolio on Freelance Platforms

Now that you have known every in and out of the book publishing industry, it’s time to start the actual work. Freelance platforms are one of the best places for editors to kick-start their careers. It is advised to build a compelling portfolio on a reputed freelance platform and start bidding on projects that interest you. 

There are many tips to keep in mind when bidding on projects. The biggest mistake most novice editors make is to make a one-size-fits-all proposal and send it to every job they see. It won’t do anything except for harming your credibility. 

So, make sure to write a customized proposal for every job and explain briefly what makes you the perfect fit for the job. 

  1. Never Stop Learning

Being flexible in learning is the key to success in a book editing career. There are many training courses you can take to help you understand how editing works and what you can do to further polish your skills. 

There are also many book editing and formatting software out there that can help you speed up the book editing and structuring process. So, make sure to learn working with these programs. It will not only make you a better editor but will also increase your efficiency and you can complete more work in a short time.