Book editors sift through book proposals and rough manuscripts looking
for a gem that can be published. Once they have selected a book for publication,
they work with the author to produce the best possible book.
They are the managers who help get the book in print by negotiating a contract,
working with the author, suggesting changes and editing the material.
Book editors evaluate manuscripts, correct errors, proofread and work to
create a book that is clear and without errors.
During this process, they confer with authors. They work on improving the
book and negotiating contracts for payment and author's royalties.
Often, a book editor can't do all the work. Part of her job is to coordinate
staff to make sure that a job is done according to a deadline. This means
book editors have to work cooperatively and be able to make quick, informed
Book editors love reading and love the idea of improving communication
and language use. The amount of actual editing work they do can vary. They
may work in acquisitions, evaluating and selecting manuscripts. They may edit
books for structure and for style. They may also help with rewriting, with
copy-editing and with proofreading.
Book editors work in a clean environment, sometimes in a private office
and other times among other editors. Book editors can work for large or small
publishing houses, or as freelance consultants. Freelance editors can work
out of their own homes.
In-house book editors (those who work at publishing houses) generally work
regular 9-to-5 hours. Freelance editors can be more flexible with their time.
"You can work early in the morning or late at night if you feel like it,"
says Marcia Schulte, a book editor in Florida. Both types of editors may have
to work evenings or weekends if a deadline is looming.
Editing books isn't a strenuous activity, although it requires a lot of
reading. Because computer work is involved, editors risk developing eyestrain
and repetitive stress injuries.
"I can only work four to six hours a day if I'm on the computer because
it begins to bother my eyes," says Schulte. Telephone use is required, and
some travel may be necessary.
Work with an author to improve a manuscript
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