To new authors (and to some more experienced ones) the various titles of editors can be confusing.
In recent years, some publishers have cut expenses by eliminating editorial positions. For example, two decades ago, publishers employed a Rights and Permissions Editor. (My wife held such a position for several years.) That person checked all references to ascertain their accuracy. Sometimes they contacted publishers for permission.
Today, getting permission to quote from material (a subject I dealt with in previous blogs) has become the responsibility of the author. And copyeditors check for accuracy.
Who are these editors and what do they do?
1. Acquisitions editors. At one time, that was a specific job description. They contracted for the manuscripts and sent them to the editorial staff for editing.
These days, most publishers allow any editor to function as an acquisitions editor. It means the editors can reject a manuscript, but don't have the authority to make offers.
When editors want their publishing house to acquire a book, they take it to their committees. Because publishing houses work differently, here's a simple view.
The "acquisitions" editor becomes the author's champion. She presents the book proposal to the editorial committee. If they agree, the proposal goes to a joint meeting of the editors and the marketing people, often called the publications committee. If they say yes, the acquisitions editor figures out the cost to the publishing house and how much advance they can offer.