The amount of money a book editor makes varies widely. According to the most recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the top 10 percent of editors earn more than than $98,430 a year -- an average of $47.32 per hour. On the lowest end of the pay scale, editors are paid less than $29,400 per year, an hourly wage of $14.14.
Editors, in general, earned an average annual wage of $60,490, or $29.08 per hour, according to the most recent statistics compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The BLS reports that the median wage is slightly lower, $52,380 per year, or $25.18 per hour. The largest number of editors work for book and periodical publishers, earning an average of $60,120 per year, or $28.91 an hour, but the best-paid publishers work for computer and computer peripheral manufacturers, where they earn an average of $91,710 per year, or $44.09 per hour.
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Book editors make selections based on their appeal to the reading public, than oversee the process that turns a raw manuscript into a finished work, ready for publication and sale. They may review the manuscript themselves, make changes to the copy and offer suggestions to authors. Editors also establish a production schedule and check for errors in spelling and grammar, punctuation and general readability. They may suggest changes to enhance readability, clarity or accuracy and act as fact-checkers, to ensure factual accuracy in non-fiction books.
A bachelor’s degree in journalism, communications or English is the basic credential for most book editors. Knowledge of a specific subject is essential for editors working in the non-fiction genre. Previous work for a publisher as a copy editor or publication assistant provides valuable experience for an aspiring editor. Strong communicate skills are essential to ensure the finished work is cohesive and compelling.
The rise of online media and print-on-demand self-publishing is changing the job market for book editors. The BLS states that pressure from online media has reduced the number of editing jobs in periodicals and newspapers, but predicts job growth in editing jobs related to online media. Accordingly, those who adapt to are more likely to find work. Overall, BLS expects the job outlook for editors to remain stable until 2020.