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Editorial Director, William Collins

Are you fascinated by politics and current affairs? Do you love reading about the latest breakthroughs in science and natural history? Do you want to help find the best new voices in history and smart-thinking, business and biography, sport and spirituality? Do you know the brightest and best voices in podcasts/social media? Can you find and develop writers who believe ideas matter and want to help their readers make sense of the world?

William Collins is one of the most respected Non-Fiction imprints in the industry with a string of critically acclaimed and best-selling titles including Catherine Belton, Max Hastings, Tom Burgis, Cal Flyn, Brian Cox, Anna Keay, Mark Carney, Guy Shrubsole, Maya Jasanoff and Cat Jarman. We are looking for a senior commissioning editor to join the team. You will have considerable proven experience and be ready to take on an Editorial Director role. You will be a self-starter who can convey a vision for a book to the wider team and work collaboratively throughout the publishing life of the book. This is a fantastic opportunity for someone who wants a step-up in their publishing career and to be fully immersed in the publishing process.

Purpose of the Role

To identify new publishing opportunities for the William Collins imprint and commission/manage approximately 15–20 projects a year. We need someone who can keep on top of trends, talent scout, and liaise with agents/production companies to identify new voices and build established authors/brands for our imprint.

We are looking for someone who can drive creative, innovative strategies for key publishing assets and editorially manage projects. The Editorial Director will develop and manage additional projects that are commissioned by the leadership team; taking editorial ownership, providing creative input and critical assessment, and ensuring they are delivered on schedule and within budget. They will also be responsible for creatively managing the backlist, reinventing older titles when possible.

Finally, you will support the Publisher with publishing strategy, budgeting, forecasting, cost control, exploring sales opportunities (home, export and special sales).

Key Accountabilities

  • Nurture strong contacts with agents so we are first to consider key, commercial projects.

  • Make author care a priority so we are the first choice for authors and agents.

  • Develop strong awareness of market trends and competition in order to make informed decisions and to identify new publishing opportunities. Explore gaps in the market and new ways of doing things to help us be a trend setter and a market leader. Prepare reports on specific market areas/demographics when necessary.

  • Cost all projects accurately and negotiate the best deals possible with agents and authors.

  • Ensure all deadlines are met and costs controlled.

  • Share information/communicate with editorial managers, production, design, sales (home/export/special/rights) and marketing.

  • Manage large complicated projects (including illustrated books, picture research, permissions, freelancers, photographers).

  • Assist in successfully positioning and promoting all titles.

  • Communicate key selling points of all titles to maximise sales performance.

  • Contribute to overall profile and brand development.

Candidate experience:

  • Significant successful commissioning experience working on a high-profile list

  • Demonstrate entrepreneurial publishing talent

  • Excellent author/agent relationships

  • Good team player, willing to carry through projects commissioned by others and reinvent backlist

  • Global thinker – someone able to think 'beyond the book' and help us develop digital, e-book and audio

  • Cross-company thinker: someone who can work across News Corp when possible, to best effect

  • Excellent communicator (presentations) and writer (catalogue, cover copy)

  • Proven editorial skills

  • Comfortable with taking responsibility and owning decisions (plumping for a book, even at a high advance)

  • Organised multi-tasker, who delivers briefs, edits and so on to schedule

  • Detail-orientated and cost-aware


  • Hybrid working model (2+ days in the office) 

  • 26 days holiday plus bank holidays (option to buy and sell holiday days) 

  • Enhanced pay for maternity, paternity, adoption and shared parental leave 

  • Private healthcare cover and life assurance 

  • Free access to HeadSpace, employee assistance programme (24 hour helpline), mental health first aiders, and a wellbeing portal 

  • Season ticket loans (from day 1 for entry level) and cycle to work scheme 

  • Employee networks: HC All In (open forum), Elevate (for ethnic minority colleagues), HarperParents, Menopause at Work and Pride at HC 

  • Unlimited training on our Learning and Development portal, management courses (up to MA level) and mentoring programmes 

  • Virtual GP and eyecare vouchers 

  • Gym membership discount 

  • Onsite physiotherapy (London only) 

  • Charitable donation matching and volunteering day 

  • We're a certified Carbon Neutral company 

  • Free e-books and audiobooks, newspaper subscriptions and discounts on books 

  • Subsidised canteen and retail discounts 

  • Onsite prayer room 

If you wish to discuss anything regarding this position and/or your application to this role, please reach out directly to our Talent Acquisition Manager at with subject heading ‘Vacancy Query’ plus the job title and we will aim to get back to you within 5 working days. 

Editorial Director, William Collins

HarperCollins, London
Full-time, Permanent
Administration, Commissioning Editor, Editor, Publishing, Management, Communications, Business Development, Editorial
Editorial Director, William Collins

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Significant successful commissioning experience working on a high-profile list Demonstrate entrepreneurial publishing talent Excellent author/agent relationships