Also known as acquiring or commissioning editors, Acquisitions Editors are responsible for reviewing manuscripts, commissioning authors for specific publications, and deciding whether a manuscript is marketable.They are the ‘head-hunters’ of the literary world.
What acquisitions editors do can be learned, but great editors have the intuition that separates truly great editors from average editors. Intuition is the ability to not only discern what is popular in the market, but to foresee what the next big thing is. This aspect is not something that can be learned.
The Acquisition Editor Job
The job of an acquisitions editor can be divided into 4 parts:
Salary and Benefits
Acquisition editors are also known as Commissioning Editors and make $65,000--$80,000 as a starting point. Additionally, based on the individual publishing house and their specific department performance, there is a chance of receiving a bonus.
How to Become an Acquisitions Editor
There are several ways to become an acquisitions editor. The best process is slow, but steady. Along the way, you will meet helpful colleagues, learn new techniques, and collect all the possible knowledge to prepare you for the world of acquisitions editing. Connections are very important in the publishing industry.
Begin at the Bottom
You will need to have at least a Bachelor’s degree in English. Begin work at a publishing house as an apprentice.
Find a Mentor
Research publishing houses where you would like to work and single out a few acquisition editors who you would like to work with. Ask to be their apprentice. After a few months, look at possible permanent positions and request a stipend.
Work as a Literary Agent
This job is very similar to the acquisitions editor. You will need more experience to develop a keen eye for choosing bestsellers and learn the popular market trends.
Get Some Freelance Work
If you cannot apprentice with an acquisitions editor, freelance is a good option. While freelancing, you may help start-up authors perfect their book before selling it to a publishing house.
Start a Small Publishing House
Start your own small publishing business and print novels on an “on-demand” basis. This way, you help authors publish their work and you are making a name for yourself in the publishing world. You will prove your worth and use this experience as proof to your future employers that you are capable of being successful in the field.
Advertising yourself is the most important aspect of the entire process. Write every day about your progress and the authors you have worked with and post them online or try to have them published in magazines or newspapers.
Current Topics in the Industry Today
The rise and accessibility of ebooks and ereaders is causing the publishing industry to evolve. The headline E-book sales are up. Print sales are down is nothing new, although research indicates that newspaper headlines are not telling the whole story. Consumers are not completely abandoning print books in favor of the latest technology, as was once thought. Even though ebook sales rose by 117% last year while print sales fell by almost 36%, avid readers continue to split their purchases between the two formats.
Consumers desire books that are formatted to best suit their needs. Certain genres, such as children’s books and cookbooks, remain very popular in print format. At this point, hardcover and paperback books are still serving the purpose for these two genres, and readers will not make the switch to a digital medium until the advantages of ebooks and ereaders surpass those of paper books. The publishing industry continues to adapt as technology advances to satisfy readers.
Links for Further Reading