How to Become a Book Editor Online

Nov 19, 2019

Becoming a book editor online requires varied skills in copy editing, substantial editing, and creativity, most of which can be gained online. Read below to learn about the steps to break into book editing below.

Book Editor Career Overview

Book editors are responsible for reading drafts of book manuscripts to eliminate errors and provide suggestions for improvement. You can prepare to become a book editor entirely online by utilizing available educational and training resources. The table below provides details about this career:

Required Skills Editing, writing, proofreading, creativity, detail oriented
Job Growth* -3% for 2018-2028 (for all editors)
Median Salary (2018)* $59,480 per year (for all editors)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Steps to Become a Book Editor Online

Book editors may be responsible for line editing, copy editing, developmental editing, and proofreading book manuscripts, in addition to curating artwork and other supporting materials for books prior to publication. All of these skills can be developed with the help of online resources.

Step 1: Obtain a Bachelor's Degree

Many editors hold at least a bachelor's degree in a field such as English, creative writing, or communications, and some obtain specialized master's degrees. A degree is not required to pursue a career in editing, but having at least a bachelor's degree in a related field can improve your chances of obtaining stable employment. Some universities offer full degree programs online, and others offer special certificate programs in editing. Getting a degree or a certificate ensures you have had ample exposure to literature, writing craft, and editing practices.

Step 2: Develop Your Writing and Editing Skills

If you choose not to pursue a degree, consider working on your writing and editing skills via online workshops or informal training programs. Some websites offer online writing craft courses; while these are not specifically editing courses, they can help you better understand the structure of a book manuscript. Search for blogs or social media accounts of established book editors, whether they're freelance or employed by publishing houses. Many editors share their recommendations for resources and write helpful blog posts that can help new editors further develop their skillset.

Step 3: Create an Online Platform

Online platforms are essential for writers, editors, and creative professionals of all kinds, whether they source their own clients or work for a large publishing house. Connect with other book editors and build a personal network that you can turn to for help and advice. Eventually, this personal network may lead to referrals and job opportunities.

Step 4: Build a Portfolio

As you learn how to become a book editor, keep track of any assignments or practice work you do in an online portfolio. If you seek work as a freelancer, clients will ask to see samples of books you've edited. If you apply to publishing houses, having a stellar portfolio can help you stand out among the competition. Continue gathering samples related to edits you've made, any art programs you've created, and any developmental projects you take part in. Having a diverse portfolio can increase your chances of getting hired.

Step 5: Apply to Jobs Online

You can start applying for book editing jobs online after gaining training and experience. If you don't have any experience, volunteer your services to friends, family, or community organizations to boost your portfolio. Book editor jobs can be found at major publishing houses and smaller presses, but you can also find work online with clients all around the world. Conducting searches on freelance job boards can lead to a wealth of opportunities.

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