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In newspaper and magazine publishing it is the responsibility of the commissioning editor to source articles and features from freelance writers, whereas commissioning editors who work for book publishing houses liaise with authors and literary agencies in order to find new material to add to the publisher’s book list. The commissioning editor will have to read through all material submitted to the company for publication.
Commissioning editors are in charge of negotiating contracts, budgets and deadlines with external bodies and must manage projects from start to finish. They will write detailed writers’ briefs, oversee progress and proofread finished material. Working within budgetary and time constraints can make the job stressful at times and may involve long and irregular working hours.
It is a mid to senior level position and will involve frequent communications with most other members of the editorial team at all levels, from editorial assistants and features writers through to the editor. As with all positions at this level, the job entails frequent editing and writing.
Commissioning editors in all fields must keep abreast of literary trends and current affairs in order to commission the best material for publication. Therefore a passion for reading, writing, journalism and literature in general is prerequisite for the position.