Professional Book Editor Certification 

Professional training in the art and business of editing books, 

so that you can advance your career in the publishing industry

with the Professional Book Editors Association and Paper Raven Books 

If you'd like to be on the list when we have a spot open up in the  certification program, please click below and provide a good contact email so we can reach out to you.

A surprising problem has emerged in the book publishing industry 

(that’s creating an incredible opportunity for anyone who’s been
looking for a way to break into the publishing industry)

Book sales are growing, more authors want to publish books than ever before, publishers are publishing more books than ever before…

Everyone needs more editors who specialize in books… 

But, the problem is, where to find a great book editor?

The book publishing industry is growing massively, with physical books, ebooks, and audiobooks selling more every year.

Independent, self-published authors are earning more income and publishing more books each year. 

If you’re interested in breaking into the book publishing world, you might be looking around for the best entry point.

You might be wondering, “How do you get started as a professional book editor?”

Especially when everyone’s hiring freelance editors—independent authors, traditional publishers, and every publisher in between.

Let me tell you how I accidentally found a way to break into the book publishing world...

When I first started working with authors in 2008, I was in graduate school. The Kindle had been launched three years earlier, but most books were still being published by traditional publishers. All of my friends who had graduated with English degrees and wanted to work with books, they all went into traditional publishing. 

After I received my Masters in Sociology, I moved with my husband to New York City for his first job. We had our 8-month-old with us, and I truly had no idea what was “mine to do.” Every time I tried to think about what I wanted to do, it got all muddied with my thoughts around what the family needed, what my husband needed, what would make the most sense financially and logistically. I simply didn’t know.  

I applied for well over a hundred jobs with publishers in New York, and I was secretly glad that I didn’t hear back from any of them. (A few of them even specified that they wanted an editor with a Masters in Sociology—which I had! And I still never heard back.) What I knew from friends, though, was that the NYC publishers expected people in the office from 8 am to 8 pm, that my commute would be about an hour each way.

So, I went for a teaching job as an adjunct faculty at Molloy College, out on Long Island.  I kept that going for a few semesters, just to “build up my resume.”

Build up my resume? For what? I had no real plan.

But I knew the one thing I did enjoy was editing and coaching writers.

I had done some editing and writing coaching in graduate school, working with my colleagues on their papers, theses, and dissertations, as well as with a few faculty members, on their journal articles and monographs (academic books). I still kept in touch with those clients, doing some work for them.

Finally, I did something a little crazy.

I started asking my handful of clients for referrals. I’d send an email or mention on the phone occasionally, “By the way, do you know anyone who might be looking for an editor? Would you mind connecting us?”

And what do you know… my freelance editing and writing coaching business actually started growing…! 

Around that time, I received three emails in the same week that said, “Morgan, I’ve written a book. I’ve been trying to work with a traditional publisher. It’s just not worth it. Can you help me edit it, so I can self-publish it?”

The growth in both the quantity and quality of clients who want to work with professionals on the books is truly staggering. 

In 2015, “Paper Raven Books” entered the publishing world.

In addition to continuing to coach and edit authors, I released my own book that year, and I started getting more editing clients from books, right away. 

The good news is that my work is still flexible. :) I still walk the kids to school in the morning (we live in Texas, now), walk them home from school in the afternoon, make dinner, and can plan my work around my husband’s time off. 

And we now have enough editorial work that I don’t even do editing, anymore. Instead, we have a staff of full-time editors (and a couple of specialist freelancers).

In fact, this year, at Paper Raven Books, we actually have more writers in our community than we could possibly serve. Our price points are premium, and some people are simply not in a position to pay $10,000+ to work with our team. Right now, I have no one to refer them to because there’s no good “litmus test” for professional book editing. Even if someone has a BA in English or an MFA in Creative Writing or experience in journalism, that doesn’t guarantee that they’re a good book editor.

So, we're creating an incredible opportunity, and you're just in time to take advantage of this exclusive way to break into the publishing industry.

Paper Raven Books has partnered with the Professional Book Editors Association to create the ultimate win-win situation...

Authors want to find professional book editors to work with.

And there are smart, ambitious people who want to work as professional book editors and just need some guidance.

And the good news is that we are here to help you become a truly excellent editor and to find great clients to work with on their books.

We handle the training and help you
find great-fit clients, right away.

We offer certification through the Professional Book Editors Association, so you can use that on your resume, website, and profiles. And when authors who aren’t in a position to work with Paper Raven Books’ come along, we point them in the direction of the folks who are certified editors.

It’s professional training and connection to paying clients so that you can get your return on investment, as quickly as possible.



Enrollment is now open for the Book Editor Certification program, in partnership with the Professional Book Editors Association and the Paper Raven Books team. We’re offering professional training in the art and business of editing books, so that you can advance your career in the publishing industry.

There are two major sections of certification. The first is the 101 level, which covers the most essential and foundational skills needed to offer book editing services to clients:

  • Manuscript Review, includes Genre-specific guidelines for what’s expected in compelling fiction novels, memoir, and nonfiction books.
  • Copyediting, includes how to wordsmith a manuscript to improve clarity, readability, and pace, while keeping the author’s authentic voice intact, plus fact-checking.
  • Proofreading, includes the hard-and-fast rules to adhere to, as well as which situations call for book-specific stylistic choices.
  • Working with Microsoft Word, addressing best practices for tracking changes, comments, and setting up a document for formatting.
  • Giving Customer-Facing Feedback, how to communicate with an author in a way that challenges them as a writer and keeps them coming back for more feedback from you. 

The second major section of the course is the 201 level, which dives deeply into book coaching and developmental editing, both skills that will dramatically increase your ability to bring value and charge higher rates to a client:

  • Book Coaching Framework, provides our framework for working with an author in the early stages of writing, offering insightful feedback and support as they’re writing, and ensuring the author completes a compelling first draft that will be ready to go into editing.
  • Developmental Editing Deep Dive, includes how to do a “Reverse Outline” in preparation for a structural edit, when to guide the author to make their own changes vs. making “hard changes” in the manuscript, and how to implement a vision of moving, adding to, and trimming sections of the book manuscript, so that it becomes a tight, well-structured book. 
  • Includes Genre-specific Comprehensive Writing Curricula, in-depth discussions on the aspects of a compelling book. In fiction, we look closely at character development, dialogue, scene setting, pacing, research, and story progression. In nonfiction, we focus on the thesis and structural architecture and keeping the reader engaged with thought-provoking stories and research. In memoir, we draw out the nuances of how the author’s journey reads like a good novel, and perhaps draws on some nonfiction principles for a self-help aspect. These curricula provide a solid working vocabulary to use with all of your author clients in discussing the needs of their specific book type. 

Through the “work-at-your-own-pace” program, you’ll receive all the training and support you need to be both confident and competent in the skills of a book editor, who can offer a range of services, from book coaching and developmental editing to copyediting and proofreading. You’ll be able to work with the types of books you want and bring an incredible amount of value to every book you choose to take on as an editor.

What's the cost?

When enrollment is open, tuition for the Book Editor Certification program is $4,950.

Payment plans are also available.

Would you like more info on becoming a Certified Professional Book Editor?

Bonus #1: Lifetime member of the Professional Book Editors Association (PBEA)

From the moment you join today, you’ll remain in good standing with the PBEA and you’ll never pay another penny!

(Value $1,200+)

Bonus #2, The Productive Editor’s Tech Stack

Tools to help you bring in sales smoothly, edit efficiently, and do the work “on” your business and “in” your business more effectively, so you can scale your book editing business to exactly the size and level of ease YOU want!

(Value $2,500)

Bonus #3, The Book Editor’s “Business in a Box”

Not only are we providing you with every template you need to deliver on a manuscript review, style sheets for editing projects, client agreements, and scripts for describing your offers, closing the sale, and even how to handle difficult client conversations—we are building out your website on your own domain, so you can quickly & easily grow your book editing business!
(Value $3,000)

Benefit #4: Book Design & Formatting Laser-Training

With this specialized training, you’ll be able add book design and formatting to the services that you provide your clients. Discover the best low-cost, easy-to-use formatting softwares that allow you to create beautiful book pages that can be quickly customized and uploaded for distribution and printing on Amazon and in bookstores.
(Value $3,500)

Bonus #5, Paper Raven Book’s Streamlined Self-Publishing Guide

Get full access to our step-by-step self-publishing guide, with video walkthroughs, templates, and checklists for publishing and launching a bestselling book, with all of Paper Raven’s best practices revealed. You’ll be able to help your clients publish their books. (And you’ll be able to publish your own books, too!) 
(Value $7,500)

Bonus #6, “Customer Pipeline” Fast Track

How to keep your best clients happy, multiply every client into a new set of referrals, and quickly generate testimonials that’ll persuade even complete strangers to hire you, even in ONE phone conversation! Discover exactly how Morgan has grown her business from $30,000/year to over $1.1 million/year. 
(Value $8,500)

Bonus #7, Ongoing support and community

You’ll have lifetime access to our live calls, where we offer industry updates and business opportunities, as well as getting to know other book editors who are on the same journey you are. You’ll have a place to come back to, so you can get your questions answered, feedback, suggestions, and encouragement in your new trajectory as a book editor. 
(Value $5,000)
Morgan Gist MacDonald
Founder & CEO of Paper Raven Books, Co-Founder of the Professional Book Editors Association

About Morgan and your mentors

Morgan Gist MacDonald has grown her own business from a freelance, side-hustling book coach and editor to a professional publishing services agency, Paper Raven Books—now a team of publishing professionals that work together to coach hundreds of authors, has released over 200 books, and is leading the way in independent author innovations.

The Professional Book Editors Association works closely with the Paper Raven Books team to develop trainings, white-labeled materials, and recommended best practices for the next generation of book coaches and editors.

How do I know if this is for me?

Books are selling more now than ever before, domestically and internationally.

Authors are turning to self-publishing more now than ever before, to protect their intellectual property.

Editors are in demand now more than ever before.

And there simply is no offer out there (that I’ve found) that offers to both train and certify book editors and connect those editors directly to clients.

Maybe you’re thinking about logistics and finances.

Maybe you’re wondering how to get your “foot in the door” of the book publishing industry.

Maybe you’re not sure whether the experience you have is “enough” to really get started.

I would suggest you think about the trajectory you want to set your life on.

Looking back…

I’m so grateful I didn’t end up working 12 hours a day and communing, just to work for a NYC publisher.

I’m so grateful I didn’t end up going for tenure as a professor (and, again, working 12 hours a day for seven years to get it).

I’m so grateful that something inside me said, “How about this book editing thing?”

And I said, “Yes.” I followed that nudge.

How could I have known what would lie in front of me?

And, yet, somehow I think that still, small voice, the one that whispers, “Yes, this is mine to do,” somehow, it sees the path in front of us, and is quietly steering us toward our greatest life.

What's Included Today:

  • Section 1: Manuscript Review
  • Section 2: Copyediting
  • Section 3: Proofreading
  • Section 4: Working with Microsoft Word
  • Section 5: Giving Customer-Facing Feedback
  • Section 6: Book Coaching Framework
  • Section 7: Developmental Editing Deep Dive
  • Section 8: Genre-specific Comprehensive Writing Curricula
  • Bonus #1, Lifetime member of the Professional Book Editors Association
  • Bonus #2, The Productive Editor’s Tech Stack
  • Bonus #3, The Book Editor’s “Business in a Box"
  • Bonus #4, Book Design & Formatting Laser-Training
  • Bonus #5, Paper Raven Book’s Streamlined Self-Publishing Guide
  • Bonus #6, “Customer Pipeline” Fast Track
  • Bonus #7, Ongoing support and community

Frequently Asked Questions

What types of editing will I be certified for?

What types of books will I be able to edit?

How long will the certification process take?

What rates will I be able to charge, once I’m certified?

How do I get listed on the Professional Book Editors Association directory?

What’s the benefit of being listed in the Professional Book Editors Association directory?

Why is Paper Raven Books offering to refer PBEA-certified editors, anyway?

Am I guaranteed to get certified if I sign up?

Who is doing the training?

What types of resources will I get, once I’m certified?

Is there anything else included?

What’s the cost of the program?

Is there any other way to join the Professional Book Editors Association? 

What if I already have education/degrees/an editing business?

When do I have to decide by?

P.S.: You could get a four-year English degree or an MFA. You could work for a publisher. You could hang out your shingle, on your own. But this is the only opportunity that's both an affordable price point and actually offers a pathway to new clients and a return on investment.

If you've been thinking about breaking into the publishing industry, leveling up in your editorial skills, and tapping into an expanding well of new clients, this is your opportunity to become a Certified Professional Book Editor, with all the training, support, and guidance you need to truly make money working with authors.

Would you like more info on becoming a Certified Professional Book Editor?

Copyright - Paper Raven Books LLC - Professional Book Editors Association