Commissioning editor

Career outlook for

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary

Currently employed in Scotland

Jobs forecast

This information is supplied by LMI For All, where data is currently available for Scotland.

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You would identify unpublished books you think would sell well.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

Hours

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

Environment

You would be based in a busy office environment.

Travel

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

Full-time

Part-time

Self employed

People behind the job

Meet real people who’ve done this job – hear their stories and the path they took to get there.

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

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

Build your skills

Your skills can help you choose the career that’s right for you. You can build your skills through work, study or activities you do in your spare time.

To understand more, have a look at what are my skills?

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Click here to view / add your skills

Getting in

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 Apprenticeships.scot.

Qualifications

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.