Commissioning editor

Print and publishing, marketing and advertising

Career outlook for commissioning editor

UK Salary Ranges





Currently employed in Scotland


Salary information is provided by the "National Careers Service". "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

What's it like?

You would identify unpublished books you think would sell well. You’d agree a deal with the author and successfully publish their book to make money for your company.

It would be your responsibility to by select new authors and titles that will help your book publishing company to stay profitable.

You’d also check how well your published books are selling and decide whether it is worth printing more copies.

Based on what you can see is popular with the public, you might come up with ideas for a book and commission someone to write it. You’d assess the costs and organise the schedule for publication.

You would:

  • Keep up to date with trends in the book market
  • Identify future markets and new products
  • Decide whether to accept submitted manuscripts
  • Develop ideas for books and identify suitable authors
  • Prepare publishing proposals, including costs, projected sales and income
  • Issue contracts to authors and agents
  • Make decisions on reprinting, revising, producing new editions and putting titles out of print
  • Make sure that authors and printers stick to the schedules and meet the deadlines

You would work closely with other departments in the company such as sales, marketing and production. You might also supervise editorial staff.

Working conditions


Expect to work long and irregular hours, including evenings, to meet the needs of your commissioning schedule.


You would be based in a busy office environment.


You would travel to meet with clients and authors. You may have the opportunity to travel overseas, to attend book fairs, for example.

UK employment status





Self employed


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Here are some of the skills needed for this job. Sign in to see how your skills match up.

  • Verbal communication
  • Written communication
  • Creative
  • Working with numbers
  • Researching
  • Attention to detail
  • Developing a plan
  • Time management
  • Making decisions
  • Negotiating

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Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you'll need.

Foundation Apprenticeships

Choosing a Foundation Apprenticeship as one of your subjects in S5 and S6 can help you get a head start with this type of job.

You'll get an SCQF level 6 qualification (the same level as a Higher) plus valuable work placement experience and skills you can't learn in a classroom.

Interested? Find out what's on offer at your school on


There are no set qualifications for this role however most applicants have a degree such as journalism, English, communication, marketing or media.

For entry to a Higher National Certificate (SCQF level 7) or Higher National Diploma courses (SCQF level 8) you need National 4/5 qualifications and one to two Highers or equivalent qualifications. 

Entry to a degree (SCQF level 9/10) usually requires National 5 qualifications and a minimum of four Highers. Some universities ask for qualifications to be gained in one sitting. 

You can also enter a degree with a relevant Higher National Certificate (SCQF level 7) or Higher National Diploma (SCQF level 8). With Advanced Highers, HNC or HND qualification you may enter the second or third year of some degree courses.

For entry to a postgraduate qualification (SCQF level 11) you need a relevant degree and may require experience. 

Useful subjects

  • English (required by most courses) 
  • Administrative subjects
  • ICT subjects
  • Maths
  • Social studies subjects such as media

Helpful to have

Knowledge and experience or creative industries, business and marketing. You could gain this through Foundation Apprenticeships in Creative and Digital Media or Business Skills (SCQF level 6), or by doing a college or university course with industry and work experience.