Book Publishing Jobs: Career and Salary Facts

Find out about the types of jobs you could pursue in book publishing. Read on to learn more about career options, along with information on job duties, earnings and education requirements. Schools offering Children`s Book Illustration degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Are Some Book Publishing Jobs?

There are many different careers within the publishing industry that may be of interest. You could become an editor, reading through manuscripts to decide which ones may go to publication. Editors need to have impeccable grammar, strong writing skills and an understanding of what constitutes a strong manuscript. If you are looking to get into the technical side of publishing, you could also become a printing press operator, setting up and operating a variety of printing machines. Alternatively, you could work as a marketing manager for a publishing company and conduct promotional campaigns for published materials. This would involve sending out press releases, organizing tours and book readings, and generally ensuring that there is a guaranteed audience for the materials being published.

Read through the table below to learn more about these careers:

Editor Printing Press Operator Marketing Manager
Training Required Bachelor's degree On-the-job training Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Journalism, communications, English Not applicable Marketing
Key Skills Correcting grammatical and other errors in manuscripts, rewriting text as necessary, checking facts Operating digital and other printing presses, performing quality control checks, maintaining the equipment Determining markets for books, analyzing publishing trends, working with sales and PR departments
Job Growth (2014-24) -5% (decline)* -12% (decline)* 9% *
Median Salary (May 2015) $56,010* $35,240* $128,750*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Types of Jobs are Available in Book Publishing?

Within editing there are executive editors, managing editors, associate editors and copy editors. Production jobs include printing machine operators, pre-press technicians, production managers and production directors. Marketing positions have such titles as marketing assistant, marketing manager and marketing director. Promotion positions include publicity assistant, publicist and publicity director. If a book publisher hires you, you are likely to start out in the lowest level positions such as copy editor or marketing assistant. For printing machine operator positions, publishers might consider hiring you right out of high school, but most other areas of publishing require a bachelor's degree.

What Will My Job Duties Be?

Editing positions bring you the closest to working with actual books, book content and authors. Executive editors decide which titles will be printed and distributed, what their cover design will be and how they will be presented. Managing editors assign personnel to projects, monitor budgets and production schedules and make sure deadlines are met. Associate editors collaborate with authors about content and make or suggest revisions to text. Copy editors review manuscripts for spelling, grammar and consistency of style.

In a production job, you would be directly involved in the physical printing, trimming and binding of paper. As a salesperson you would travel in a defined territory meeting with book buyers and store managers. Promotions positions involve you in the planning of ad campaigns, the purchase of advertising space and the creation of web sites, blog and social network posts, posters, brochures and other materials used by salespeople. Marketing entails coordinating the work of promotions and sales personnel.

What Types of Degree Programs are Available?

You will need a bachelor's degree for a majority of entry-level jobs in book publishing, with the exception of printing machine operation. Bachelor's degrees in English, journalism or literature are the most common in the industry. However, if you majored in history, the social sciences or the natural sciences you might be able to attract interest from textbook publishers. Degrees in advertising and marketing have direct applications to sales and promotion.

Assuming you have a bachelor's degree, you can also consider a number of master's degree programs in publishing. Even though most of these attempt to take in the entirety of publishing--magazine, Internet and books--a significant number of classes are specifically book related. Other topics considered include finance, editorial principles, marketing and distribution.

What Can I Expect to Earn?

Salaries vary dramatically depending on what type of work you do. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics groups book publishing in with newspaper, periodical and directory publishing; editors in that group earned a median salary of $56,010 in May 2015 (www.bls.gov). Meanwhile, press operators earned a median salary of $35,240. Public relations (PR) specialists had a May 2015 median salary of $56,770, whereas the combined group of PR managers (including publicity directors) and fundraising managers earned almost double that, at $104,140. Marketing managers earned even more with a median salary of $128,750.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

There are a great number of career paths open to those who studied English or other writing-related humanities degrees. If you have strong editing skills, you may want to look into becoming an editor for other kinds of publications, such as magazines or newspapers. This will require the same essential skill set as that which is required of a book publisher, but may require you to have background knowledge of the content that you are editing. Another option is to work as a journalist, contributing well-researched articles and analysis of current events to newspapers and broadcast media outlets. You may also want to consider becoming a professional author or writer and producing your own original content to be published in book form.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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