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Commissioning Editor/Senior Commissioning Editor, The Bodley Head

We have a fantastic opportunity for an entrepreneurial and driven professional to join the team at The Bodley Head in the newly-created position of Commissioning Editor/Senior Commissioning Editor. The Bodley Head is growing and we’re looking for someone who will seize the chance to build on our position as a destination imprint and bring their own perspective and vision as we look to the future.

About The Bodley Head

We currently publish around 25 titles each year of agenda-setting non-fiction: books to help us understand the world and bend it in a new direction, books that offer connection and wonder. Our list embraces all subjects, from science and nature to current affairs and memoir, history to cutting-edge technology, from the urgent issues of the day to the timeless questions of how to live.  We are dedicated to the highest-quality and longest-lasting books by writers of exceptional talent and expertise such as Siddhartha Mukherjee, Minouche Shafik, Elizabeth Kolbert, Timothy Snyder, Jaron Lanier, Jessie Childs, Ai Weiwei, Timothy Bouverie, Christopher de Bellaigue, Ibram X. Kendi, Lady Hale, Jennifer Doudna and Yanis Varoufakis. Recent publications include Oliver Burkeman’s Four Thousand Weeks, Merlin Sheldrake’s Entangled Life, Caroline Elkins’ Legacy of Violence and Ed Yong’s An Immense World.

The Opportunity

In this role, you’ll be joining an editorial team of four. You will commission, edit and publish up to 8 titles per year, with a focus on proactive commissioning. Our publishing already includes science, history, politics, autobiography, expert-led self-development and the big ideas and issues of our times. We’re equally interested in what your interests and approach might add to our list, and therefore we are open in terms of the focus and breadth of this person’s commissioning.

Key Responsibilities

  • Contributing to the creation, planning and execution of the strategy to develop the list.
  • Developing and acquiring an agreed number of titles per year for the list.
  • Generating ideas for new books, making proactive approaches, evaluating proposals and developing a distinctive, personal commissioning style.
  • Having the vision and energy to take something from concept to typescript; editing books from beginning to end.
  • Understanding what is going to be interesting tomorrow as well as what’s interesting today; seeing around corners; adapting to changing markets and seeking out new publishing opportunities.
  • Determining viability and profitability of acquisitions – which includes drawing up proposals and generating profit and loss estimates according to forecasts agreed with sales colleagues.
  • Dealing with negotiations around the book before and after acquisitions.
  • Managing the entire internal book process of your titles, being first point of contact for your authors throughout and having a publishing vision for all aspects of a book’s package.
  • Championing acquisitions internally and working with Sales, Rights, Marketing and Publicity teams to coordinate successful book publication.
  • Writing first class copy, including online copy, jacket copy and subtitles, and ensuring all metadata is created and entered on the system in good time.
  • Working on some books acquired by the wider team as required.

Candidate Profile

We are keen to consider a range of experience-levels and types for this position. You might have existing book publishing experience (in editorial, as an agent, rights professional, or another role) or you might be working with writers and ideas in an adjacent industry/way. The following qualities would be preferred:

  • Voracious reader.
  • You are omni-curious and excited by finding out who’s doing the most interesting writing and thinking on every subject under the sun.
  • You have the ability to spot brilliant communicators, and what is genuinely new and original.
  • You think creatively about how to package and present non-fiction and can inspire colleagues with your vision for a book.
  • You have the vision to help someone who hasn’t written before turn a rough diamond of an idea into a book, and the sensitivity to work with accomplished writers
  • Your commercial sense lets you respond to the market but understand what readers want next too.

Please apply with your CV and cover letter (addressed to Stuart) by midnight on Sunday 29th January.

What you can expect from us:

We are open to appoint at either Commissioning Editor or Senior Commissioning Editor level. If the candidate and circumstances are right, we would consider a part-time appointment. 

Salary: range c. £34,000 - £50,000 dependent on level appointed and how your skills and experience align to the role, plus bonus and benefits.

For this role, there are meetings and activities that you will need to attend in person at our offices in Nine Elms. The exact balance of hybrid working will depend on the nature of your role and team needs, and we are open to discussing this through the recruitment process.

Our employees are the heart of our business. We have a range of benefits to reflect our commitment to our employees, some of which are:

•   27 days paid holiday entitlement in year one (plus bank holidays), increasing a day each year up to 30 days
•    Medical cover
•    Life assurance
•    Cycle to Work scheme
•    Discounted gym membership
•    Generous pension scheme
•    Summer working hours (role dependent) 
•    Volunteering policy and charity matching
•    Employee Assistance programme
•    Mentoring programme
•    Extended gender neutral parental leave
•    Access to books and eBooks across Penguin Random House UK
•    Each site has trained mental health first aiders 
•    We plant a tree for every new employee to our business

Our creativity is inspired by different perspectives, so we want our culture to be one of belonging, where everyone feels welcome and where differences are celebrated.

As a Disability Confident Committed organisation, we’re part of the offer an interview scheme. This is where disabled applicants who meet the essential criteria for the role can opt in to get to the next recruitment stage. There may be some situations where volume of applicants means we can’t take all eligible candidates to interview.

We want to make sure disabled applicants can be their best at each step of the recruitment journey. If you need adjustments during the application process, we encourage you to get in touch with us at

Remember, you only need to share what you are comfortable to for us to support your adjustment request. Find out more about our approach here:

We partner with The Book Trade Charity, who provide financial assistance for people looking to get into the publishing industry; you can find more information and talk directly here:

Please note, we are not able to accept agency CVs for this role. Any CVs sent speculatively will not be eligible for a fee.

Commissioning Editor/Senior Commissioning Editor, The Bodley Head

Penguin Random House Group, London
Full-time, Permanent
Administration, Commissioning Editor, Editor, Publishing, Communications, Business Development, Editorial
Commissioning Editor/Senior Commissioning Editor, The Bodley Head
Salary description: 
range c. £34,000 - £50,000 dependent on level appointed and how your skills and experience align to the role, plus bonus and benefits

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Voracious reader. You are omni-curious and excited by finding out who’s doing the most interesting writing and thinking on every subject under the sun.