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Senior Commissioning Editor – Books

Key Publishing is Europe’s foremost Transport publisher, producing market-leading magazines within all sectors of aviation, rail, bus, and modelling publications such as FlyPast, Airliner World, Modern Railways and Hornby magazine, we are renowned around the globe for our wide range of magazines and digital media.

We have an exciting opportunity for a Senior Commissioning Editor, who will lead the team commissioning book content in the agreed subject areas that Key Publishing operates within for print and other platforms.

The role will oversee the delivery of books in a timely manner, on schedule and within budget, and to provide a sustainable basis for print sales and other revenue-generation.

The Senior Commissioning Editor will deliver an appropriate amount of content via a wide range of subject-matter-expert authors and image rights-holders.

The quantity, range, quality and commercial success of content delivered by authors is an essential part of evaluating success in the Senior Commissioning Editor’s day-to-day responsibility. A lively interest in relevant specialist subject areas is important and the Senior Commissioning Editor will preferably possess some subject-specialist knowledge. They will be expected to demonstrate the ability to interpret information of that type to make credible commissioning and commercial decisions.

Working with a small team of colleagues and freelancers, you will deliver new titles by a wide range of subject-matter-expert authors and image rightsholders. You will also line manage the entire team.

Key Accountabilities / Responsibilities

  • Lead the Book Team
  • Maintain good communication with the following:
  • Publisher and editorial colleagues
  • Production and design
  • Authors and publishing partners
  • HR
  • Oversee the costing of proposed books and negotiate royalties as required
  • Ensure the quality and range of authors’ material
  • Plan and monitor content creation to ensure delivery on designated deadlines
  • Assess manuscripts/other contributions and ascertain their suitability or need for further research/photography/other images for use
  • Maintain a system of contacts with authors and publishing partners, with a focus on building the author base
  • Keep up to date with developments in the relevant subject areas
  • Attend meetings and implement process as necessary
  • Successful management of key authors – talent spotting and retention
  • Line manage editors, assigning titles and tracking progress and holding monthly and yearly reviews
  • Input sales numbers with input from distributors and internal teams
  • Project manage titles from delivery to print when necessary
  • Secure quotes from the printers for non-standard books
  • Prepare and track budgeting for the department as a whole
  • Hire and book freelancers when needed
  • Ensuring author invoices/payments are sent to Finance in a timely manner

Educational Requirements


  • Degree qualified graduate



  • Good book commissioning subject knowledge


  • Specialist/ expert subject knowledge
  • Previous line management



  • Proven team leadership
  • Good working knowledge of MS Office, Excel, InDesign
  • Understanding of the whole editorial process
  • Ability to work with authors and a wider team


  • Existing author contacts
  • Experience of hitting commissioning targets



  • Good project management skills
  • Good use of written and verbal English
  • An eye for detail and design
  • Good IT skills
  • Ability to commission original content in line with the audience profile and with adherence to agreed style and format
  • Awareness of audience sensibilities (including commercial audiences) and of accepted good taste
  • Appreciation of what constitutes good illustration/design
  • Understanding of audience needs and wants and how to meet them
  • Ability to prioritise workload
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Ability to demonstrate diplomacy and confidentiality at all times
  • Clear and consistent communication flow to line manager, colleagues, authors and partners
  • Ability to stay calm under pressure
  • Ability to keep abreast of developments and trends in the market (both competitors and content generally)


  • Outstanding project management skills
  • Highest level editorial skills and checking
  • Strong specialist knowledge
  • rack record of commissioning books for enthusiasts of specialist subjects, ideally in Key’s core areas
  • Personal ability to attract and retain authors
  • Develop new ideas for products based on customer needs (including our commercial customers)

We offer the following benefits:

  • 25 days holiday + Bank Holidays
  • Company events including Christmas Party and quarterly BBQ!
  • Company pension scheme and death insurance benefit
  • Cycle to work scheme
  • Free onsite parking
  • Free tea & coffee

Either office-based (hybrid – 3 days in office) or from home (with monthly visits required to the office in Stamford)

Senior Commissioning Editor – Books

Key Publishing, Stamford
Full-time, Home Working, Permanent
Administration, Commissioning Editor, Editor, Publishing, Communications, Project Management, Editorial
Senior Commissioning Editor – Books
Salary description: 
35 to 40K per annum

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Good book commissioning subject knowledge, Degree qualified graduate