Commissioning editor

Commissioning editors commission or buy authors, book titles or ideas for publication.

Average salary (a year)

£20,000 Starter


£40,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

37 to 39 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends away from home

How to become a Commissioning editor

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • working towards this role


The degree subject you choose is not usually important. Relevant subjects might include:

  • publishing
  • creative writing
  • journalism

However, if you want to work for a specialist publication, for example, a technical, medical or scientific journal, you're likely to need a related degree or a high level of specialist subject knowledge.

You could take a postgraduate qualification in publishing or digital publishing, but this isn't essential.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grade 4 (C) or above, including English and maths
  • 2 to 3 A levels for a degree

More information


You'll usually start out as an editorial assistant and work your way up. There is a lot of competition for jobs so you may find it useful to have a degree.

Volunteering and experience

You could try job shadowing to get some experience before applying for your first job in publishing.

This is also a good way to develop contacts, as many jobs are not advertised.

Other routes

You could take a proofreading or editing course, like the ones offered by the Publishing Training Centre or the Society for Editors and Proofreaders.

More information

Professional and industry bodies

You may find it useful to join organisations like the The Publishers Association and Professional Publishers Association, for professional recognition, training opportunities and to make industry contacts.

Further information

You can find out more about becoming a commissioning editor from:

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • knowledge of English language
  • knowledge of media production and communication
  • the ability to read English
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • excellent written communication skills
  • the ability to work well with others
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • You will be expected to use a computer confidently as part of this job.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day duties could include:

  • keeping up to date with trends in the book market
  • identifying future markets and new products
  • deciding whether to accept submitted manuscripts
  • developing ideas for books and identifying suitable authors
  • preparing publishing proposals, including costings, projected sales and income
  • making decisions on reprinting, revising, and producing new editions
  • making sure schedules are followed and deadlines are met

Working environment

You could work in an office.

Career path and progression

With experience, you could progress to senior commissioning editor, editorial manager, director, or work as a freelance consultant.

Training opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

We can't find any apprenticeship vacancies in England for a Commissioning editor right now.

The Find an apprenticeship service can help you with your search, send alerts when new apprenticeships become available and has advice on how to apply.

Courses In England

Creative Media Production (Digital Publishing) BTEC Diploma 2-YR

  • Provider: Havering Sixth Form College
  • Start date: 05 September 2019
  • Location: Hornchurch

Computing Extended Diploma

  • Provider: Ashton-on-Mersey School
  • Start date: 01 September 2019
  • Location: Sale

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