Who Does What at a Book Publisher

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The Association of American Publishers has divided publishing jobs into three basic areas: editorial, production, and marketing. Of course, not every company employs all the positions listed. Titles mean different things in different houses. We may, therefore, show three or four job classifications on the same line, basically applying to the same function. Later in this chapter, we define these jobs and note the salary ranges for each.

  • Publisher/Editor-in-Chief/Editorial Director

  • Senior Editor/Acquisitions Editor/Project Editor/Textbook

  • Editor/Procurement Editor

  • Managing Editor

  • Associate Editor

  • Copy Editor/Technical Copy Editor/Production Editor Assistant Editor Editorial Assistant
  • Vice President Production/Production Director/Production Manager

  • Production Supervisor Cost Estimator/Production Estimator Art Director/Design Director Designer

  • Production Assistant/Production Associate
  • Vice President Marketing/Marketing Director

  • Market Research Manager

  • Sales Manager

  • Direct-Mail Manager

  • Promotion Manager

  • Sales Representative
Advertising Manager:
  • Promotion Manager/Sales Promotion Manager/Promotion

  • Specialist

  • Special Sales

  • Publicity Director/Publicity Manager

  • Subsidiary Rights Director/Subsidiary Rights Manager

  • Publicist

  • Copywriter

  • Marketing Assistant
Some of the job descriptions in this article have been taken from a report issued by the Association of American Publishers .

Editorial Jobs

Publisher/Editor-in-Chief/Editorial Director: This top editorial position at a publishing house plans the editorial program, determines its staff needs, and hires and trains the senior editorial and supervisory staff. He or she also assigns responsibilities for implementing the editorial program, sets or approves program budgets and schedules, monitors and evaluates progress of the editorial program, and maintains liaison with the company's administrative, marketing, and production departments. Along with the senior and managing editors, he or she must have knowledge of market dynamics and be able to spot market trends. The salary range is from $80,000 to $136,000 for a publisher, and from $72,000 to $100,000 for an editor- in-chief or editorial director.

Note: The lower salary shown in this chapter for a particular job is for a publisher with revenues of less than $50 million annually. The higher salary is for publishers with revenues of $10 to $100 million or more. Bonuses and raises are not included. The average annual raise for employees in the Publishers Weekly survey is 6.9 percent.

Although practices vary from company to company and within job categories, the salary gap between men and women is often wider than the one between very large and small companies.

Senior Editor/Acquisitions Editor/Project Editor/Textbook Editor/Procurement Editor: The senior editor solicits and evaluates manuscripts and shepherds them through the publication process. He or she obtains management approval to acquire, contract for, and publish a manuscript (usually done in committee). He or she contracts with the author for a manuscript and, once a finished manuscript is submitted, edits it, working with the author to make any possible improvements in content, style, or organization. The editor also maintains the schedule and budget for the publishing project and supports the marketing effort. The salary range is from $51,000 to $93,000.

Editorial positions (not described) and their salary ranges.

Executive Editor, College Division: $45,000 to $64,000 Executive Editor, Elhi Division: $61,000 to $83,000 Acquiring Editor, College Division: $33,000 to $41,000 Developmental Editor, College Division: $27,000 to $34,000 Senior Editor, Juvenile Division: $35,000 to $40,000 Assistant Editor, Juvenile Division: $19,000 to $21,000

Qualifications for General Editorial Positions

A college education is a must. A passion for reading and for the touch, smell, and feel of books is a prerequisite. The would-be book publishing professional must also have a thorough understanding of grammar and current English usage. Proficiency in typing and/or word processing is also helpful. A special knowledge of a particular field or discipline such as science fiction, history and politics, and fiction in trade publishing, or perhaps of math or science in textbook publishing, may accelerate promotion. Sometimes textbook editors are former schoolteachers. Often, journalism majors go into book publishing, creating a more competitive field.

The opportunity to work with books is most appealing, yet, as we have already seen, the salary ranges in book publishing are low. The fringe benefits, however, of day-to-day contact with creative, interesting co-workers, the occasional contact with well-known authors and celebrities (although this is the exception rather than the rule), and just the chance to be involved with the wonderful craft of books may make the financial sacrifice worthwhile.
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