What Does A Book Editor Do? (And What They Don’t Do!)

If you are new to self-publishing or have written a new book, you have probably read about getting a book editor for your draft. But, what does a book editor do, exactly? You might be thinking, 'I have already edited my book myself, do I need an editor? Sounds like another unnecessary cost to me!'

A book editor is someone who reads your manuscript and makes corrections and edits. They will suggest what the book needs and then apply edits to the content that is already written. Most editors will clean up your writing and make suggestions that you hadn't considered.

Some editors will also suggest rewriting or restructuring chapters, deleting or adding new ones, and then send you back an edited manuscript with each edit marked in the text.

Others might offer creative suggestions to make the story stronger by telling you things like 'you can cut this character out' or 'I think you should add this scene in'.

Cleaning up your writing is one of the most common services that book editors provide.

What Does A Book Editor Do? (And What They Don’T Do!)

What Should I Expect From A Book Editor?

What Should I Expect From A Book Editor?

An editor is an invaluable asset to your book whether it is a non-fiction book, fiction novel, children's story, or any other genre. An editor will help you make your book as good as it can be by providing feedback and suggesting improvements.

Book editors are not all the same and will take different approaches to editing depending on their experience and skill level. Generally speaking, most editors will take a 'suggestion only' approach but others might be more forceful in their editing and expect you to make changes.

Some editors also work on a sliding scale fee depending on the length of your book, so it's important that you find out ahead of time what they offer.

Editors can also help authors really establish what their goals are for their book. They can help hook the reader in and grab their attention.

No writer should ever go into writing a book alone, this is where a book editor comes into play and helps to polish your work. 

Do Publishers Edit Books?

Do Publishers Edit Books?

If you are going down the traditional route as opposed to self-publishing, you might expect your publisher to edit your work for you. Some publishing houses may include editing in the service if they take you on, however, this is not always the case.

Publishers are also very important when writing a book but they are not meant to edit your book. A publisher's job is to choose a story from an author that will represent their company well.

In other words, books should be well-edited before trying to get them published!

Book Editor Education Requirements and Qualifications

Book Editor Education Requirements And Qualifications

To become an editor, you will need the following education and experience:

College degree

Most editors have at least a bachelor's degree, usually in English, communications, or journalism, or a related subject. However, some editors get their experience in the field without completing higher education.

Editors who have gone through traditional education are often experienced in editing practices and common mistakes before entering the industry. Sometimes they will be classically trained with years of book editing under their belt already.

Many editors have also either studied creative writing themselves or have been published as a writer themselves before becoming an editor.


Experience, including internships at publishing houses and work in other media such as newspaper or magazine editing also, is important for prospective book editors.

If you are interested in editing books that deal with a specific subject, such as fashion or food, you should have formal training or work experience in that area to increase your chances of getting hired.

How To Get An Editor

How To Get An Editor

Have you ever wondered how to actually find an editor for your book? Some writers simply shop around to find a good editor that meets their needs. When choosing between multiple editors, it can be a good idea to ask for a “sample” edit to see if the editor's skills are a fit with what you need done. 

Finding the right editor for your book doesn’t have to be a hassle; you can find someone that can help give your readers something valuable while also being affordable. 

Thankfully, in the online era that we are in, there are a limitless amount of services you can purchase online that offer editing. This means you have access to thousands of different editors at various price points within your own home without having to set foot outside.

Have a look online for editors that can help take your book to the next level, and give it that something extra before publishing it!

You can take a look at my Recommended Services page, but I always recommend Fiverr as a starting point. There are many amazing editors and book formatting services you can purchase safely and easily.

There are many different types of editing, and depending on which style you need will affect the price you have to pay.

Some different types of editing include:

  • Proofreading
  • Copy editing
  • Developmental editing
  • Line editing

Always be very specific with your editor about the type of editing you want and expect with your book. Make sure that their services match your expectations and standards.

Many times editors offer samples or a free consultation to make sure they are the right fit for the job. 

How Long Does It Take To Edit A Book? 

Editing a book involves many steps and processes. It’s not as simple of a task as it sounds.

The process involves these steps:

  • Reading through the entire book or story
  • Writing notes that are detailed while reading
  • Completing an editors “report”
  • Fact-checking the information 
  • Providing feedback on content or other additions that need to be added into the storyline. 

Most average-sized books take around a month to edit. Some books can take a lot longer, while some take less time. It all depends on the editor, the length of the story, and the type of editing needed. 

What Does a Book Editor Cost?

The more intensive the editing, the more time an editor spends on your book, which increases the cost.

Book editors don't usually work on a per-hour basis or by word. This means that you expect to pay different prices depending on the length of your manuscript and what services the editor will be providing.

Do Editors Write?

Editors can write, but their primary focus is to polish the content that is already written by an author. Editors and writers do have a lot of similarities when it comes to their job though! 

Both must have exceptional knowledge of the language they work in. Editors and writers must be proficient in their grammar and vocabulary. A writer's job is to create the text, whereas the editor's responsibility is to polish it. 

Believe it or not, many editors start out as writers. Doing so helps them to gain the knowledge and experience they need to be the best they can be as an editor. The diversity of an editor's task is wide but their primary focus is generally the same. 

Editors are also there to help focus on the structure and content of the book, while also guiding the writer in the process. The editor is the last person to go over the written text and give it the final go-ahead to be published. 

Career Outlook For Editors

The pay for an editor falls in the median range, according to onlinemaryland, in 2018. The median range pay averages to $59,480 per year. Many times editors have a bachelor's degree from a University of their choice, but having a degree isn’t mandatory. 

The pay range can depend on multiple factors, such as what type of content you are editing, how much you edit yearly, who you edit for etc. 

Of course, if you have a degree, that will increase your career opportunities and will help you to earn more money each year. Depending on the college you attend, they may even offer programs to help connect you with authors and get your foot in the door. 

Do I Need A Book Editor? Why Hire A Book Editor.

Having a second person to read your book is always helpful. Having someone else lay eyes on your manuscript can make all the difference when it comes time to publish your content. Editors help authors bring their vision to life! 

The best editors are usually patient and will help guide you through the entire process. Editors help bring your book visions to life and make corrections where needed, while not completely changing the direction and context of your storyline. 

It can be difficult to read through your own writing and find mistakes or corrections that need to be made. Many times, your story is something you have worked hard on for quite some time.

Experienced editors can catch things that you might not have seen yourself when reading over the book. Editors can make your book stronger, and really grab your reader's attention.

Book editors are great investments with important jobs that can make your book truly successful. 

Where To Hire A Book Editor

As I mentioned previously, you can hire a book editor online.

I hire freelance book editors on Fiverr as a second set of eyes in the editing process and to format the book according to the publishing platform’s guidelines. This extra step in the editing process has really helped me to improve the quality of my books. I've shared some recommended editing services below ?

Likewise, manuscript formatting and book cover design can be outsourced just as easily; choose a trusted seller and your book is as good as sold (cheesy, I know - and not really, you still need to build a winning marketing plan!)

Use our box below to find a freelancer for any and all of your book publishing needs: