Editors are the unsung heroes of writing. Take T.S Eliot’s “The Wasteland” it’s current form is owed to the editor Richard Ellman who changed much of the poem around. Today it is considered one of the greatest poems ever.
So how do you become an editor? The first job an editor does at a publishing house is decide what books to publish. This is more of an art than a science. The history books are full of stories about how Harry Potter and the Da Vinci Code were rejected by so many publishing houses. Trying to predict a well-selling book is like trying to predict the weather – difficult even if you have a pointy stick.
So an editor must have an eye for the market and read a lot. They must be familiar with current trends in the reading populace and try and match new books to these trends.
Editors also have to read through hundreds of unsolicited manuscripts sent in by aspiring authors. Most of them are not very good. So you may have to read through some crappy prose to find that gem that’s going to sell well.
Writer’s often have only one editor there entire career as a writer’s style and personality are things that effect the product. Therefore it is important for a good editor to network and cultivate good relationships with his authors.