Top Book Publishing Jobs and Careers

Careers in Editorial, Production, Sales, Publicity, and Marketing

If you love books and you're interested in working in book publishing, you can choose from a number of available jobs. From production to editorial to sales and marketing, the range of jobs are varied and where you land depends solely on your interests and strengths.

Aside from writing, there are many other key roles involved in delivering the written word to a broader audience. From start to finish, a written piece must pass through the hands of many different experts before it's published.

So polish up your resume and take a look at 10 of the top jobs in publishing.

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Book Editors

Books on shelves in bookstore
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Books editors are in the business of finding literary talent and then working with those writers to publish their books. Not only do book editors find work to publish, but they also edit a writer's work, helping to mold it into the final product that is saleable when it hits the bookstores or online. 

If you're passionate about reading, and you're a strong writer with an excellent eye for good storytelling, a career as a book editor might be right for you.

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Copy Editors

Copy editors work in various fields of media including newspapers, magazines, and websites. In book publishing, copy editors work with editors and make sure authors' manuscripts are clear of grammatical errors. While many copy editors work full-time, this career is also ideal for those looking for part-time work as many companies hire copy editors on an "as needed" basis.

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Literary Agents

Literary agents are in the business of finding literary talent, like book editors, only earlier in the process. Literary agents find promising authors, sell their books to book editors, and then take a cut of the proceeds. You'll need a sense of how to sell and package a writer along with a sense of what kind of books will sell in the marketplace to be successful as a literary agent. 

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Literary Scouts

Literary scouts search for books—for foreign publishers or film studios—to be published abroad or to be adapted to the screen. This role often requires many years of experience as an assistant editor or editor before being able to recognize hidden talent.  

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Publicists can work in various media fields, as well as in the corporate world. In book publishing, a publicist usually works for a publishing house and is tasked with getting press attention for the books and authors that the house publishes. If you're interested in dealing with many different types of people, complex situations and you love reading, being a publicist at a publishing house might be a good fit.

Publicists usually work directly with authors and agencies while pitching books and building relationships with reviewers, websites, media outlets, and literary scenes. Once in a while publicists may have to demonstrate exceptional skills in crisis management and damage control if an author or publishing house gets themselves in some hot water with the press or the public. 

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Production Editors

If you are interested in combining your love of reading with beautiful, eye-catching designs, you may also make a great production editor. Production editors are responsible for ensuring that manuscripts are edited, designed, proofread, and printed. All of this must be done on schedule, with very minimal delays.

Production departments have strong working relationships with authors as they work diligently to publish the books, on time and make sure the books look polished and professional.  

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Marketers and/or Copy Writers

Marketers are often good writers themselves as they get to put their writing skills to use in creating press releases, media kits, and catalogs, often writing copy that highlights the great features of an author, a book, or a publishing house campaign.

A position in marketing for a publishing house can be a grueling job, as it is a fast-paced job and it's expected that you manage the expectations of editors, authors, and publicists with ease and efficiency.

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Sales Positions

Do you have a knack for always recommending the perfect book to others or can you sell ice in a snowstorm? Well, then a career in book sales may be the ideal role for you.

Know that sales positions are highly collaborative and communicative as they call for close communication with editorial and marketing as you help make the sale of books a success. Working in book sales will allow you to make new deals and perhaps travel while being an expert on a variety of books and titles.

Where to Begin

Most of these roles require many years of experience to be most effective and successful. Be willing to put in the hard work and expect to start in an intern position or assistant role after your schooling is done.

Careers in book publishing require bright go-getters who aren't afraid of some grunt work. Learn the ins and outs of all of the different aspect of publishing, and you will be able to make a more informed decision on which career track may be right for you.