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Senior Commissioning Editor - Children's Books

Reporting to the Editorial Director, this is a vital role in the HarperCollins Children’s Book Fiction team. The Senior Commissioning Editor will have a genuine commitment to and passion for children’s books, and will be responsible for acquiring titles and delivering them to agreed budgets and schedules. They will take the lead on the creative development of their titles, building strong author and agent relations to acquire and publish books that are best in class, as well as appropriate and appealing for the audience. They will be informed and agile to the needs of the market and channels of distribution to ensure that their titles are delivered to achieve commercial success and stay on track to agreed schedules and publication dates. This is an important role in the Division, as a member of a growing editorial team and with exciting potential for career development, on a list that has some of the highest profile fiction authors and brands published today.  

Key tasks and accountabilities

  • To acquire new authors and series on the Children’s Fiction list, to provide best-in-class editing for key existing authors, and to be active in developing in-house book concepts and IP, as well as proactive in proposing new ideas both for existing authors and to attract new talent to the list

  • To proactively manage authors across their front list and backlist titles to deliver long term commercial success for authors and business

  • To create and build good relations with external agents to ensure HCCB is first port of call for top talent

  • To devise and lead the editorial strategy and creative development of all titles and authors under remit, including backlist management as well as pro-active development of authors’ lists

  • To deliver best in class content for titles across all formats including physical and digital, across ebook and audio to achieve same day and date publication in all forms

  • To ensure titles achieve financial targets and to manage the P&Ls associated with them, ensuring all costs are brought in within budget in order to build strong commercial publishing on the list

  • To negotiate deal terms for titles and work with HC Contracts and Finance teams to bring titles through from offer to final agreement, achieving clarity for all parties

  • To contribute to the efficient and cost-effective progress of the Children’s Fiction programme by working with the Editorial Director and with the production and design teams to maximise profitability in all areas

  • To deliver all titles with on-point creative and in line with critical path, including briefing and proposing relevant and audience-appropriate covers and illustrators, where applicable, that connect with the intended audience

  • To ensure the book is developed in line with strategy and stays focused on audience and on market, and to take overall responsibility for all touchpoints on the path to publication

  • To present titles effectively to internal and external stakeholders: contributing to Marketing and Publicity plans, briefing images, illustrations, and visuals, writing copy for covers, Rights guides, metadata and more, as well as working with the Desk Editor and central metadata champions to create winning online representation for books, ensuring that AIs, keywords, reviews, subtitles and search terms are best optimised to win the attention of readers

  • To contribute to the creative development of the Children’s Fiction programme as part of the senior editorial team

  • To build good relations across the children’s book industry including authors, illustrators, agents, retailers, educationalists and literacy partners, and ensuring that HCCB is well represented and connected

  • To stay abreast of needs of children as readers by building strong understanding of educational, social and cultural context of the audience as well as the trends affecting their environment and future

Experience required

  • Experience in publishing at acquiring editor level

  • Experience of working within a broad and lively team

  • Fiction publishing experience

Skills required

  • Self-starter: a proactive approach to publishing, as well as author and agent relationships

  • Financial awareness: (i) experienced in managing a P&L and delivering to budgets agreed, (ii) full familiarity with budgeting and cost-control processes in relation to specific projects and lists.  (iii) to understand the financial implications of decisions within the overall company framework

  • Market knowledge: market orientation and an ability to publish successfully in a changing market, with strong knowledge of the entire children’s market, from physical to digital to audio

  • Innovation and Creativity: ability to develop successful products and approaches to market that clearly demonstrate success over market conditions and competitor performance

  • Design sense: a good eye for design, and the editorial and production knowledge needed to ensure top quality, attractive and timely books that create trends rather than following them

  • Presentation skills: able to clearly present market needs and publishing solutions to internal and external stakeholders

  • Strong negotiation skills and contractual experience: in particular, negotiating contractual arrangements with authors and agents

  • People-management and teamwork: to actively develop and contribute to an effective, productive and motivated team – both in-house and freelancers

  • Communication: outstanding communication skills

  • Application: ability to see a project through to completion with multiple stakeholders, from in-house to authors and agents

  • Organisational Skills: to plan and manage resource allocation, schedules, freelancers and budgets to agreed plans, reporting and acting depending on changing circumstances

  • Publishing Process: a clear understanding of how to best develop successful titles. To be able to influence change in process(es) when appropriate

  • Programme management: an understanding of how a publishing list works, how to build it and ensure continuity in line with the overall list; value of long relationships with author and illustrators; an awareness of gaps and an ability to plan ahead with reissues, anniversaries and backlist-boosting initiatives

  • Relationship management: to work closely with in-house and external teams on all aspects of product development, achieving the widest-possible buy-in to plans

  • Networking: maintain and pro-actively build relations with key external influencers in the market

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

Senior Commissioning Editor - Children's Books

HarperCollins, London
Full-time, Permanent
Administration, Commissioning Editor, Editor, Publishing, Communications, Business Development, Editorial, Acquisitions
Senior Commissioning Editor - Children's Books

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Experience in publishing at acquiring editor level Experience of working within a broad and lively team Fiction publishing experience