Publishing roles are generally divided into editorial, design and production, marketing (sales and publicity), distribution, contracts and rights, and administration (which includes the finance and technology functions). Some of the specific job titles include:
- Commissioning editor
- Editorial or publishing assistant
- Picture researcher
- Book production controller
- Public relations/promotion/events
- Sales and marketing manager/digital marketer
- Rights manager
- Graphic designer
- Web developer
- Consumer analyst
- Digital marketing assistant
The Publishers Association's careers pages break down the various roles in publishing well, as do Hachette in their free virtual presentations known as Opening the Book, each discussion focussing on a role or division within publishing.
These are busy roles requiring excellent time management skills. To work in editorial you will need to be collaborate with colleagues and motivate yourself to work on multiple projects. Companies will look for a high degree of literacy and strong communication skills, with an excellent attention to detail and an analytical approach when working with data. Strong project management skills are also crucial. Work may involve briefing and managing freelancers.
Tasks might include:
- Commissioning and chasing readers' reports for new book proposals and scripts.
- Market research - is there a demand for this product or a gap in the market?
- Drawing up and sending out author and contributor contracts.
- Preparing scripts for handover to production.
- Liaising with authors, agencies and in-house production, marketing, sales and rights teams.
- Producing a project to a deadline.
Design and production
The increasing use of new technology particularly affects the design and production of the finished book or journal. If you are considering a role as a production editor you will need strong organisational skills and an ability to prioritise and adapt to varying workloads. These roles demand an ability to work under pressure and to deadlines. Strong written and verbal communication skills are essential, as are innovative problem solving skills.
A production editor will take responsibility for managing the whole end-to-end production of new titles from typescript through to delivery of the final product.
Tasks might include:
- Commissioning external suppliers.
- Preparing material for external project managers, for copy-editors, proofreaders, indexers, text designers and illustrators.
- Copy-editing, proofing and approving cover artwork and blurbs.
- Preparing initial and final costings for approval.
- Controlling production budgets.
- Communicating with a large range of teams, from the editorial teams to the printing teams.
The marketing team create innovative marketing strategies to engage audiences with the firm’s products. The ability to prioritise and adapt to varying workloads is important, as well as adaptability and flexibility. A good level of reading and editing skills is required, to enable you to quickly prepare communications to sell your products.
A marketing coordinator role may include:
- Helping on specific marketing campaigns to a budget (this may include e-marketing campaigns, subject catalogues, leaflets, trade promotions, London Underground campaigns etc).
- Building knowledge of authors and an awareness of competitors in order to develop marketing plans accordingly.
- Supporting authors (including author letters, assistance with events and launches, invites etc).
- Approaching companies to join up with for promotions.