Types of Editors in Publishing

In the publishing industry, there are several types of editors that might be unfamiliar to prospective and first-time authors. When you get your first publishing deal, you get a crash course in what every member of your team does, but here's a quick rundown from the author's perspective.

Type Responsibilities
Acquisitions Editor
  • First point of contact for new authors
  • Scouts and vets authors
  • Does not participate in the editing process
  • Similar to an account executive
Coordinating Editor
  • Second point of contact for advances, invoices, taxes, and contracts
  • Manages workflow and schedule
  • Performs quality control but does not otherwise participate in the editing process
  • Similar to a producer
Lead Editor
  • Daily point of contact for all editorial issues
  • May also be point of contact for business issues
  • Edits content substantively, including recommending cuts and major changes
  • Participates in the editing process throughout the project life cycle
  • Internally responsible for quality and shipping books on time
  • Also called a developmental editor
Copy Editor
  • Edits spelling, grammar, style, tone, voice, and word choice
  • Participates in the editing process toward end of production
Editorial Board
  • Comprised of all types of editors and business personnel
  • Evaluates book proposals
  • Dealmaking authority

The most important editor is the Author. The author must be:

  • completely invested in quality;
  • quick to address feedback;
  • reasonably detached from content;
  • willing to make necessary cuts;
  • willing to fight for their own book; and
  • professional, courteous, and respectful.

Ultimately, the author should be carrying the majority of the editorial workload, working in concert with the lead editor to transform their manuscript into a high-quality, saleable product.