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Commissioning editor

Alternative titles for this job include

Commissioning editors request or buy authors, book titles and ideas to publish them.

Average salary (a year)

£25,000 Starter


£50,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

37 to 39 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends away from home

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become Commissioning editor

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
  • applying directly
  • specialist courses run by professional bodies


To become a commissioning editor, it will help if you a have a degree. The subject you choose is not usually important but relevant subjects include:

  • publishing
  • creative writing
  • journalism

If you want to work for a specialist publication like a technical, medical or scientific journal, you may need a degree in that subject instead.

You could do a postgraduate qualification in publishing or digital publishing but it's not essential.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English
  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree

More Information


You could apply to do a Publishing Professional Level 4 Higher Apprenticeship, which may help you to get a trainee or assistant editor role with an organisation.

This typically takes around 2 years to complete and is a mix of on-the-job training and off-site study.

Entry requirements

Employers will set their own entry requirements.

More Information


You'll usually start out as an editorial assistant and work your way up.

There's a lot of competition for jobs so you may find it easier if you have a degree.


You'll need some experience before you apply for your first job in publishing.

To build up your experience you can:

  • volunteer for student or local newspapers
  • write and promote a blog on a certain topic
  • send articles to local newspapers or websites

This is also a good way to get to know people who work in the industry. This will help as many jobs are not advertised.

Direct Application

If you have specialist subject knowledge, you can apply directly for commissioning editor jobs in academic publishing.

Other Routes

You could take a proofreading or editing course from The Publishing Training Centre or the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading.

More Information

Professional and industry bodies

You may find it useful to join the Publishers Association and Professional Publishers Association. It might help you get professional recognition, training opportunities or make industry contacts.

Further information

You can find out more about becoming a commissioning editor from the Publishers Association and the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading.

You can also get information on working in creative careers from Discover Creative Careers.

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

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
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

As a commissioning editor you could:

  • keep up to date with trends in publishing
  • decide whether to publish an author's work
  • develop ideas for books and choose suitable authors
  • write proposals, including predicted cost and sales information
  • decide when to reprint, revise or produce a new edition
  • make sure schedules are followed and deadlines are met

Working environment

You could work in an office.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

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

Current opportunities

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Current 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

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Jobs In the United Kingdom

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Skills assessment

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