World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Commissioning editor

Article Id: WHEBN0014093476
Reproduction Date:

Title: Commissioning editor  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Publishing, Paul Kingsnorth, David Benedictus, Jon Bounds, Subsidiary right
Collection:
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Commissioning editor

In book publishing, a commissioning editor is essentially a buyer. It is the job of the commissioning editor to advise the publishing house on which books to publish. Usually the actual decision of whether or not to contract a book is taken by a senior manager rather than the editor.

Responsibilities

The other roles of commissioning editors vary between companies. Usually they are also responsible for ensuring that authors under contract deliver typescripts to specification and on time. They thus have an author management role. They usually have responsibility for ensuring that typescripts are of sufficient quality. In this, especially in textbook and reference publishing, commissioning editors may be assisted by development editors or assistant editors. Furthermore, in textbook companies, this role is responsible for managing title revisions, signing new authors, and ensuring products are profitable.

In some (usually small) companies commissioning editors are also responsible for overseeing the copy-editing, typesetting, proofreading, and design of books, although in other companies this responsibility is assumed by other staff e.g. Managing Editors, House Editors, and Production Editors.

Often commissioning editors are also responsible for managing books that have already been published, for example by ensuring that stock levels are adequate and advising on when a book needs to be reprinted.

The commissioning process

Commissioning editors may commission in a number of ways:

  1. pro-actively: by thinking of ideas for books and then finding authors to write them
  2. reactively: by reacting to book proposals or manuscripts
  3. collaboratively: by formulating ideas in dialogue with authors
  4. by republishing previously published books
  5. by co-publishing ("buying in") books being published elsewhere or in other editions by other companies

The role

Sometimes the phrase Acquisitions Editor is used. This is a near synonym for Commissioning Editor. Possibly the word "Acquisitions" implies more emphasis on types (4) and (5) above.

Commissioning has not been formulated into a profession. There is little formal training available. Recently there has been some attempt in the UK to articulate and establish professional standards. Most commissioning editors work up to the post through experience in other roles e.g. Editorial Assistant. Some editors see the post as a stepping stone to a senior management job (e.g. Publisher, Editorial Director, Publishing Director); others are content to remain in the post and to build a reputation as a star editor.

Qualities

There is little consensus on what makes good commissioning editors, though most people in the industry would agree that the following are desirable and important:

  • business acumen: understanding the market and the company's place in the market
  • creativity
  • linguistic sensitivity
  • communicativeness
  • project management skills

References

The standard work on the subject is Gill Davies, Book Commissioning and Acquisition (Routledge).

Website

  • For UK standards: The Publishing Training Centre
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.