Anne Lamott says in Bird by Bird, “you wouldn’t be a writer if reading hadn’t enriched your soul more than other pursuits.” I’d like to apply this quote to editors too, because editors do more than just read a manuscript. Editors are also supposed to edit, of course. But what else do editors do? Actually, editors spend most of their time reading, reviewing, rewriting, and rereading manuscripts.
An editor’s job description headline should read: “Must Love Books”
If you love books and love to read, a job as an editor can be a “dream come true”. Book editors read manuscripts, over and over again. An editor for a large publishing house may also decide whether the work should or should not be bought from the author and then sold to the public. That decision usually comes down to the particular editor’s taste and eye for the market.
With novels and nonfiction, editors must consider the audience and the likelihood of selling movie, books-on-tape, or reprint rights. In school and college textbook publishing, the editor’s understanding of the adoption process, in which a proposed textbook may be “adopted” by specific states, schools, and colleges, is crucial. With trade or technical books, editors must work on tight deadlines and ensure that the content of the book reflects the most current interests of the market. Editors must therefore be able to make professional judgments about different kinds of books for different audiences.
Most book editors are college graduates. Many of them major in English, history, or journalism and have advanced degrees in literature or specialized fields. At the end, it all comes down to doing a lot of reading and writing, and becoming critical with written expression. The reading exercise by the editor will also develop a better taste, sharper criteria, and better judgment to help the author.
When you are ready to invest in the services of a professional editor, contact us here at Detroit Ink Publishing! We are ready to work with you!