What are the daily responsibilities of a children’s book editor?

Posted on February 5, 2008

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I have just graduated from Cambridge University in English Literature. I am interested in the editing side of children’s literature and would be really grateful for some advice. What are the daily responsibilities of a children’s book editor? I am keen to find out more before applying for jobs.

I’m not a children’s book editor, therefore I can’t really advise you on the daily responsibilities or duties. However I am certain that these differ from one publishing house to another. As far as I know most children’s book editors start out as editorial assistants. Robin Friedman has interviewed children’s book editors from such popular children’s book publishers as Simon & Schuster, Viking, and Dutton. She asks each editor to describe a typical day. You’ll be surprised at all the different responses. You can find the full text of these fascinating interviews at her web site. Go to Robin Friedman’s website, click on Interviews.

Warning: Allow yourself plenty of time, because you’ll really get hooked on reading what these editors have to say about the business.

If you’re planning to work in the children’s book industry, it’s a good idea to get to know the business. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Publishing Children’s Books by Harold Underdown, is a good place to start. He covers all the layers of children’s publishing, and offers a lot of excellent advice for beginners. Olga Litowinsky is a former children’s book editor, agent, and publisher. Her book, It’s a Bunny-Eat-Bunny World: A Writer’s Guide to Surviving and Thriving in Today’s Competitive Children’s Book Market is an insider’s look into the world of children’s book publishing today, and told with tongue-in-cheek good humor.

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