Distinguishing Between Publisher & Editor

The evolution of printed books has led to the establishment of large publishing houses that are often seen as brands themselves. For aspiring authors, it is crucial to understand the differences between the roles of an editor and a publisher, as their responsibilities and positions within a publishing company are distinct.


A publisher is responsible for overseeing the entire process of publishing a book, from start to finish. As the head of a publishing house or company, the publisher is akin to the captain of a ship, steering the direction the company takes. They are assisted by a board of directors who make decisions about what and how to publish, with the financial interests of stakeholders in mind. All employees within the publishing company are accountable to the publisher, who has the authority to hire and fire team members as needed. Major decisions require the publisher’s approval. Authors seeking to have their book published must recognize the authority of the publisher within the company, although agents often act as intermediaries between writers and publishers. Ultimately, the publisher decides if a book will be profitable for the company. In a sense, they act as financiers, providing the funds necessary to bring the book to market.


An editor in a publishing house is subordinate to the publisher. There are various types of editors within a publishing house, all of whom are responsible for refining authors’ works before publication. Authors often cannot directly contact editors at large publishing houses; instead, agents submit manuscripts on behalf of authors to editors for review and potential marketing. It is the editor’s job to make corrections to the manuscript before it reaches the publisher for approval. In this sense, the editor takes raw material and polishes it to make it suitable for publication by the publishing company.

Key Takeaways

  • Publishers are the heads of publishing companies and make decisions about whether a manuscript is worth printing and publishing based on the financial interests of the company’s owners.
  • Editors are employees within a publishing company who work under the publisher and are responsible for refining and polishing writers’ works before they are ready for publication.
  • Publishers function as CEOs of publishing companies, while editors work under them and must present manuscripts to publishers after making them suitable for printing and marketing.
Dmitri Ivanov
Dmitri Ivanovhttps://whats-different.com
Dmitri Ivanov, a writer and managing editor, was educated in Canada and holds a BS in Science. Dmitri loves doing research, writing, and teaching various courses.


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