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Publishing Director, HQ Fiction

Specialising in commercial fiction and innovative digital publishing, HQ publishes a wide range of fiction titles including contemporary fiction, historical, crime, thrillers and book club, alongside our bestselling non-fiction list, and thriving digital-first imprint. Combining rapid growth with commercial success, HQ has a stellar record in launching fiction debuts such as Nadine Matheson’s The Jigsaw Man, Georgina Moore’s The Garnett Girls, and This Lovely City by Louise Hare, along with an array of outstanding Sunday Times bestsellers such as Adele Parks, Linwood Barclay, Sarah Morgan, Robert Thorogood and Erica James.

Reporting to the Commercial Fiction Publisher, you will develop long-term profitable publishing plans for our commercial fiction list, and you will be responsible for developing strategy for its profitable growth, evolving its identity and profile. Your focus will encompass launching new titles, ongoing author strategy, backlist management in line with the Division’s plans for growth, ensuring the list delivers on budget. You will be keen to identify opportunities for growth – through acquisition or strategic publishing.

With significant editorial and negotiating experience, the successful candidate will have a demonstrable awareness of the market and our competitors. You’ll be able to spot and pre-empt trends and will be an enthusiastic champion of our books.  You will be responsible for managing junior members of the team, and building strong, collaborative relationships with your colleagues, and will be as comfortable working autonomously as part of a team.

This senior role will suit commercially astute, highly organised candidates who have both initiative and energy, who are excited to think creatively about how we publish our books and can deliver excellent author care and editorial support. You’ll already have strong agent relationships and will represent HQ at trade events and help grow HQ’s presence in the fiction market.

We’re looking for someone truly passionate about all commercial fiction across print and digital, with the ability to develop and implement a profitable publishing strategy across all their titles, contributing to our success.

Key Responsibilities

Editorial Strategy: Plan, champion and execute a profitable and market-orientated publishing strategy for the Fiction team with the Publishers. You will be pro-active in seeking out new ideas and strategies and will have a clear publishing plan for each title on the list.  Forward-looking, you will have a clear vision for the list’s growth and potential, both at home and internationally, and in print and digital, and will be an ambassador not just for your own list but the wider team’s list too. 

  • Delivering creative, innovative publishing which is commercially successful and contributes to the Division’s growth targets.

  • Drive cross-format strategy with a view to meeting budget and forecast, and managing cost control.

  • Identifying market trends and publishing opportunities, through close contact with the market, retailers, and key influencers; a strong awareness of trade challenges and the ability to see solutions. 

  • Publishing by example, developing a strong, profitable list of your own both in the UK and international markets.

  • Developing original content projects and encouraging the team in this initiative too.   

  • Drive submissions through imprint profile and brand building with aspiring author communities.

  • Ensure that all titles are delivered profitably to critical path.

  • Ensuring titles have co-ordinated digital strategies and priority titles are pitched for promotions and metadata is optimised. Innovating digitally where possible.

Management of the team:

  • Supervising workloads and the quality of the team’s work. To manage and develop team members, matching their development needs to business objectives and ensuring there is a clear plan for development for everyone. 


  • Ensuring colleagues across the division understand the list’s goals and priorities, and celebrate its successes.

  • Championing the list throughout the company at showcases, sales conferences and commercial reviews.    

  • Analyse, evaluate, and implement systems and processes to help improve the business

  • Work closely with the senior team to maximise all opportunities afforded by world rights including Rights, Audio and Harper 360.

  • Working closely with Design to ensure packaging and positioning of titles is in line with market requirements.

  • Contributing fully to sales and marketing strategy and ensuring a collaborative, effective working relationship with partners in other teams.

  • Facilitating the positive involvement of Sales and Marketing teams in the list’s publishing. Engaging colleagues, contributing to good decision making and supporting strong relationships.

  • Using market knowledge to help deliver successful, innovative campaigns, adapting when necessary to changing conditions and market developments.

  • Identifying key promotions and agreeing price/format strategies with the Sales team.    


  • Building a happy, collaborative author community which is supportive and inclusive.

  • Develop long-term relations with authors and agents to secure future deals in preference to competitors.

  • Promote excellent author care within the team; Manage and develop relationships with agents so that the list is viewed as a destination publisher for their clients.

  • Championing the list externally – looking for opportunities to promote the list at trade events, Book Fairs, festivals, etc.

Experience and Skills Required

  • Robust experience of trade publishing experience at Editorial Director Level

  • Proven track of entrepreneurial commissioning

  • Experience of establishing and developing effective agent relationships

  • Negotiation skills

  • Commercial risk taker but will change view if presented with relevant evidence

  • In tune with digital innovations within the industry and strong awareness of market trends

  • Excellent communicator

  • Proven leadership skills

  • Strategic vision and strong business acumen

  • Strong organisation skills and analytical skills

  • Innovative and creative thinker

  • Passionate about commercial fiction

  • Flexible – able to work evenings and weekends as required to attend launches/events


  • Hybrid working model (3 days in the office)

  • 28 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 

  • Summer Hours  

  • 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 

  • Relocation Rent Support Loan  

  • 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  2 volunteering days 

  • 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 with subject heading ‘Vacancy Query’ plus the job title and we will aim to get back to you within 5 working days.

Please note, if you are interested in the role you would need to submit your application via Applied. We do not accept email applications.

Publishing Director, HQ Fiction

HarperCollins, London
Full-time, Permanent
Administration, Brand, Publishing, Management, Communications, Editorial
Publishing Director, HQ Fiction

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Robust experience of trade publishing experience at Editorial Director Level Proven track of entrepreneurial commissioning Experience of establishing and developing effective agent relationships