Commissioning editors identify books or media products to publish in order to build up a publisher’s list. They commission work by finding authors or responding to book proposals. Their role is rather like that of a buyer. They also ensure authors deliver typescripts to specification and on time.
The role is most associated with book publishing. In magazine publishing, commissioning editors commission writers to produce articles and features.
This occupation is a mid to senior level post requiring suitable experience and ability. An initial entrant is likely to be recruited into a more junior position, such as editorial assistant, which may then lead on to a career as a commissioning editor.
Commissioning editors are involved with a project at every stage. They are the key link between the initial proposal for a book or product and the published work.
To develop their publisher's list, commissioning editors research their field in order to learn about trends and gaps in the market. For this purpose, they:
Typical work activities involve:
The job may also involve some repetitive tasks, especially in junior positions.
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