Commissioning editors are responsible for managing publishers’ book lists and signing agreements for new publications.Their aim is to build up a publisher’s list and secure profitable material. They commission work by finding authors or responding to book proposals from authors and agents. Their role is rather like that of a buyer.
Employers of Commissioning Editors
Commissioning editors are typically employed by publishing houses and academic publishers. Other sectors sectors in the publishing industry that employ Commissioning editors include:
- business media
- news agencies
- online, digital publishers
- negotiating agreements/contracts with literary agents/authors
- planning, organizing and monitoring the progress of projects
- undertaking market research/investigating market trends
- reading, evaluating and commissioning titles
- liaison with authors, literary agents, marketing and production staff including designers and printers
- supervising the work of editorial staff
- attending book fairs
- writing reports.
This area of work is open to all graduates, although academic, professional and scientific publishers may prefer graduates with subject-specific expertise.
A degree in publishing may increase your chances but is not essential. Several years of publishing, copy-writing, editing, journalism or media sales pre-entry experience are essential.
- interpersonal and communication skills
- planning and organizational skills
- negotiating skills
- research skills
- tact and diplomacy
- the ability to think creatively and commercially
- the capability to work to tight deadlines
- a proactive approach to work
- tenacity and self-motivation
- financial management skills
- the ability to work well in a team
- an aptitude for project management
- competence in IT.