How to Become a Book Editor

By Melody Gough

My daughter is looking for a career as a book editor. What would be the best degree for her to pursue in college?

If your daughter chooses an English degree, she'll start moving closer to her goal of becoming a book editor. She'll have many different choices when it's time to pick a concentration, so encourage her to talk to a career counselor or academic advisor. Call your local high school, community college campus, or university. English departments often have several areas of concentration such as literature, rhetoric and composition with a writing emphasis, or literature and the environment.

The more experience your daughter receives in addition to her schoolwork, the more marketable she becomes. The two of you can put together your ideas and then formulate a list of possibilities. For example, look for internships with local publications. Does the high school or college paper or magazine need writers and/or editors? Many campuses have a writing center in constant need of tutors. Literary journals might be looking for volunteers. You can locate many journals or small newspapers on college campuses, grocery stores, and bookstores.

Remind her to document each piece of writing and editing she does, even if it's proofreading a classmate's paper on a regular basis. Employers want to know what makes her more marketable than someone else applying for the same position. I wish her good luck during this next exciting phase of her life.

About the Author
University of Nevada Reno professor Melody Gough is here to answer your questions every week. Professor Gough has taught poetry in both online and community college classrooms for almost a decade and has also taught English composition at the local university for the past five years. In addition to advising her students and inspiring them with witty classroom exercises, Professor Gough writes both poetry and memoir. Her Master of Arts in Teaching English is from the University of Nevada, Reno.