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Last updated on Jan 10, 2022

Book Publishing Jobs: The 15 Best Places to Find Vacancies

If you’re hunting for a job in publishing, you’re probably well aware that it’s a super competitive field. You need to be on the ball to catch the best listings as and when they come up. To help you out on this quest, we’ve compiled a list of 15 places to hunt for book publishing jobs, including freelancing sites, traditional publishers, and everything in between.

What types of jobs are there in book publishing?

The publishing industry is a huge and varied one, and there are a lot of different career paths available. Other than the usual accountant or IT jobs that exist in every business, careers in book publishing fall within these broad fields:

  • 👋 Acquisition: Acquisition editors identify potentially successful book projects and sign authors on to a contract with a publisher.
  • ✏️ Editing: Book editors work closely with authors to polish the manuscript until it’s ready to be published. The editing department encompasses developmental editors, copy editors, and proofreaders. Learn more in this guide on how to become an editor.
  • 🎨 Illustrations and design: Illustrators, look alive! The design department is in charge of a book's presentation, from the cover jacket to the interior design of a book. Learn more about how to become a book cover designer in this guide.
  • 📁 Production: Production managers keep track of everything and ensure that the book is actually printed before the appropriate deadline.
  • 📢 Marketing and publicity: This department is responsible for marketing and promoting a book, which can include anything from setting up blog tours to writing press releases and sourcing author interviews.
  • 💰 Sales: Salespeople in publishing directly communicate with distributors like bookstores, libraries, online retailers, and schools to advertise new books.

  

types of book publishing jobs and their positions

These roles are available both in trade and educational publishers, though the job requirements may differ depending on each imprint. (A medical proofreader and a fantasy proofreader will approach their job differently from one another!) 

Some of these occupations, i.e. proofreading or book illustrating, are available as remote publishing jobs. Publishers tend to outsource these tasks to freelancing professionals to minimize costs. Indie authors are also likely to hire editors and designers to prepare their books for releases. With this in mind, we’ve divided our list of places to look for publishing jobs into remote marketplaces and in-house job boards.

Where to find remote publishing jobs

If you're a freelancing publishing professional, or if you are seeking remote part-time work outside of your in-house position, here are some sites to check out. 

1. Reedsy

📍 Location: Worldwide.
💻 Browse jobs here.
✨Top tip for jobseekers: Check out Reedsy’s selection criteria to get a head start on your application and see if you’re a good fit. 

If you don’t already know, Reedsy is a marketplace that connects authors with publishing professionals who can help them bring their book to readers. For the most part, you’ll be working with self-publishing authors who are looking for editorial, design, and marketing services (which includes web design as well).

reedsy marketplace with publishing jobs
Authors can use various filters to refine their search and find the best freelancer for their book — and that might be you!

When an author searches for a service, the marketplace brings profiles of suitable professionals to them. After that, the author can send requests to a maximum of five professionals, with details about their book’s genre, word count, description, etc. If you, the professional, are interested, you can respond with a freelance quote. With this mechanism, you get to be in control of your rates and are under no pressure to propose a price lower than you are worth. 

You will have to go through a selection process — the curation team only accepts the best of the best into the Marketplace — but once you’re in, that Reedsy seal of approval will help attract high-calibre remote publishing jobs. Sign up for free right here!

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2. Editing and publishing associations

📍 Location: Worldwide.
💻 Browse jobs by becoming a member of the organisation.
✨Top tip for jobseekers: Proactively build and nurture professional connections. 

Another good resource to check out for freelance work is publishing organizations. These often have professional directories that authors or publishers can browse to find their desirable collaborator. They also organize networking events that can bring you closer to your clients, or to other professionals who can refer their clients to you. 

This route is usually more time consuming and requires more effort to actively build connections than if you were to use a curated marketplace. That said, it can pay off in the long term once you’ve created a network of recurring clients. 

Some organizations you may want to join as an editor include the EFA and the CIEP. If you specialize in children’s books, the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators is a good place to go. 

3. Upwork 

📍 Location: Worldwide.
✨Top tip for jobseekers: Only use Upwork at the beginning of your career. 

Upwork is a well-known name in the freelance world — it’s a marketplace that hosts just about any kind of remote worker. You will be able to find book editing, web designing, illustrating, and marketing gigs on this site, but because it's not a specialized hub, the quality and pay of projects on Upwork won't be high.  

If you’re new to the publishing industry and you haven’t got the experience needed to list your service in a curated marketplace, Upwork provides an accessible solution. However, be aware that there is a lot of competition on Upwork — many freelancers without any publishing experience can bid alongside you, and they're ready to offer a lower price for less specialized services. That's why once you have the necessary experience, we advise you to move on to curated marketplaces. 

4. Twitter 

📍 Location: Worldwide.
✨Top tip for jobseekers: Keep your eyes out for freelance and in-house publishing jobs. 

While social media is not for everyone, it can be highly beneficial to maintain a professional account on Twitter if you want to work in publishing. For freelancers, it’s a great way to get in touch with writers (many of whom can be found on Twitter) in a more friendly manner. All you have to do is to search the hashtag #WritingCommunity and start interacting with potential clients. 

There are also a lot of managing editors on Twitter who will share news about vacancies in their publishing house with followers, so you can always keep an eye out for vacancies.

This is a high maintenance option — it asks for a lot of proactivity on your part. But if you are already on social media, why not use your account as a lookout for book publishing jobs as well?

Where to find in-house publishing jobs

For those hoping to work in a publishing house, here are the sites you can bookmark. We’ll go from publishing-specific job boards to more general hubs. 

5. Publishers Weekly Jobzone

📍 Location: USA.
💻 Browse jobs here.
✨Top tip for jobseekers: To keep abreast of industry news which might prove useful in your job hunt, keep an eye on the rest of the PW site for updates.

Brought to you by Publishers Weekly magazine, the PW Jobzone is a firm favorite among industry professionals for finding jobs. They have listings for all of the major cogs in the production process, from editing to design to marketing.

Book publishing jobs - screenshot of PW Jobzone listings

The main drawback? It’s not a massive pool of listings — it’s certainly nowhere near the size of generalist job sites. In fact, as of January 2022, they only have around 40 vacancies. But what PW lacks in size, they make up for in reputation — you can put your faith in this established name to curate legitimate opportunities for book publishing professionals.

6. Publishers Marketplace

📍 Location: USA.
💻 Browse jobs here.
✨Top tip for jobseekers: They update their job board several times a day, so check back regularly to see new listings as they come in.

Their user interface might be a little, ahem, dated, but Publishers Marketplace is another industry go-to. You can expect to find listings from Big 5 publishers, as well as indie and audiobook publishers. 

Note that Publishers Marketplace is selective in what they post — meaning, like PW Jobzone, you won’t exactly be spoiled for choice. But they do advertise a lot of senior positions, so experienced professionals are likely to find the book publishing jobs that fit their bill here. 

7. Bookjobs.com

📍 Location: USA.
💻 Browse jobs here.
✨Top tip for jobseekers: Bookjobs has a whole page dedicated to internships; it’s a good place to look if you’re just starting out.

Bookjobs.com is a site sponsored by the Association of American Publishers, created to help college graduates from around the USA find jobs within the publishing industry. They also pride themselves on their commitment to encouraging diversity in the industry (the AAP formed the Recruit and Retain task force in 2000 to support just that).

Book publishing jobs - screenshot of bookjobs.com

The cherry on top? It’s one of the bigger publishing job boards out there. 

8. The Bookseller

📍 Location: UK.
💻 Browse jobs here.
Top tip for jobseekers: Sign up for their newsletter if you’d like a weekly update on the latest jobs sent straight to your inbox.

If you’re based in the UK, check out The Bookseller job board. They post listings from Big 5 and trade publishers, but also commit to a good line of academic and educational publishing listings, too, if that’s what you’re looking for.

While you’re there, the Bookseller’s “My Job in 5” series is well worth checking out: they ask a bunch of industry professionals the same 5 questions about their role and advice for industry newbies. Handy stuff!

9. Association of University Presses

📍 Location: USA.
💻 Browse jobs here.
Top tip for jobseekers: Check the “closing” date on listings, which helpfully lets you know the deadline for sending in your application.

If your specialty is academic publishing, look no further than the Association of University Presses job list. It’s a small board, but some of the most prestigious journals and university presses advertise there. If you’re looking for a job in this field, here’s the best place to start.

10. Shelf Awareness

📍 Location: USA.
💻 Browse jobs here.
Top tip for jobseekers: Posting a listing on Shelf Awareness costs $200, so you can expect to only see serious recruiters here.

Shelf Awareness is one of the tiniest job boards you’ll ever come across. However, don’t underestimate its worth: it costs $200 for a recruiter to post a job listing here, so you can be sure that its job board is active and legitimate. 

Book publishing jobs | shelf awareness screenshot
We told you they're tiny.

11. Big 5 publishers

📍 Locations: USA and UK, with more offices internationally.
💻 Browse jobs on their individual job boards.
✨Top tip for jobseekers: Networking is often the key to securing a job at a big publishing house, and the baseline requirement is usually a Masters degree minimum.

Of course, the option is always on the table to go straight to the source. This is perhaps the most targeted (but time-intensive) approach to finding a book publishing job, as it involves seeking out the specific publishers you’re interested in and checking out their in-house listings. 

Most publishing houses list their available career opportunities on their websites. Big companies even have their own job boards, like Bertelsmann's board for Penguin Random House imprints. Other Big 5 publishers other than PRH include Hachette, Harper Collins, Simon & Schuster, and Macmillan, which are so named because they’re just that — big. (In fact, you may already know that one of them is about to get even bigger, what with PRH’s acquisition of S&S.)

Book publishing jobs - logos of the Big 5 publishers
Any prospective publishing professional should familiarize themselves with Big 5 publishers.

Their clout and reputation can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, they’re so big that they tend to always be hiring, but, on the other, they are hugely competitive. Like, Hunger Games competitive.

As well as brushing up on your networking skills, you’re going to want to do some hardcore research into the different imprints of each company (which may focus on different kinds of books) if you want to ensure you’re a good fit. While some of the Big 5 like Harper Collins do accept CVs for general consideration, we recommend identifying particular openings that you’re suitable for. 

Bear in mind that the standard Big 5 publishers have for their employees is very high and competition is intense, so there’s no guarantee that applying to an open listing will generate any leads. Make sure to do your research, manage your expectations, and be open-minded about applying to smaller, more specialized publishers instead.

12. Other publishers

📍 Location: Worldwide.
💻 Browse jobs on their individual sites.
✨Top tip for jobseekers: Brush up on a smaller publisher’s back catalogue and new releases before applying. 

This is a pretty big umbrella, we know, but the range of small publishers also translates to a variety of opportunities! From Christian publishers to LGBTQ publishers to cookbook experts — if you can think of it, there’s probably a publisher for it.

So if you have a particular literary passion, it’s well worth researching for publishers that specialize in that area — not least because it’s easier to get your foot in the door of a boutique publisher than in one of the Big 5 folks. You’re also more likely to get one-on-one time with colleagues in other departments or with senior colleagues once you get the job. So rather than putting on blinders, be open-minded to opportunities that are a little more off the beaten path! And you can get a headstart by checking out this directory of 30+ independent publishers.

13. Indeed

📍 Location: Worldwide, but be sure to visit your local version.
✨Top tip for jobseekers: While Indeed’s “Easy Apply” feature lets you send out a ton of applications quickly, consider editing your CV to suit your potential employer to increase your chances of success.

If the smaller, industry-specific sites aren’t turning up anything for you, consider dipping into more general job aggregators like this site and the ones below. 

Indeed is one of the household names when it comes to job sites, and there’s a huge number of book publishing jobs advertised. They’re global, and they feature listings from some of the biggest players in the industry (think Big 5 publishers).

Indeed is well established, and well trusted. Just be prepared to sift through some less-than-relevant results for your searches, and bear in mind that smaller companies (like boutique publishers) seem to be at a disadvantage and don’t appear very high in the search results, and so they’re unlikely to list there.

14. SimplyHired

📍 Location: Worldwide, but be sure to visit your local version.
✨Top tip for jobseekers: Better suited to finding managerial roles than hands-on creative ones.

SimplyHired is Indeed’s younger, smaller sibling — both fulfill a similar role as a job aggregator. One perk of SimplyHired, however, is that their listings are a little more transparent in terms of pay and requirements, making the job search that bit quicker if you know what you’re looking for.

A potential downside is that SimplyHired tends to list more administrative or managerial roles than creative positions, so it’s not the best fit when looking for book publishing jobs like designing or copy editing.

15. ZipRecruiter

📍 Location: Worldwide, but be sure to visit your local version.
Top tip for jobseekers: You can set up notifications for new listings that match your skill set (provided you don’t mind them sending you a lot of emails).

ZipRecruiter is the new kid on the job listing block. What sets them apart is that employers have to pay to list a job on the site. While this means that the employers you can find here are pretty serious about hiring, it also puts off some of the smaller employers.

On the flip side, the pro of ZipRecruiter is that its job-suggestion algorithm is pretty good at matching candidates with suitable listings. But like the other general job aggregators, they lean more towards managerial positions than hands-on ones.


As you can see, it’s a jungle out there, but we hope that this list will provide you with a useful starting point for your search. Good luck with the hunt for a book publishing job!

– Originally published on Dec 17, 2020