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Senior Commissioning Editor - Non-fiction, Penguin Michael Joseph

Are you intellectually curious with a strong commercial sensibility? Do you love exploring unchartered subjects in search of that next bestseller or once in a generation book? This is a chance to build and manage a high-growth list in the non-fiction market. We’re looking for someone commercially minded, with a genuine interest in consumer and market trends. 

This role will suit someone who is ambitious and entrepreneurial and will have scope to work across a wide range of topics, from popular science, world history, philosophy and memoir to lifestyle, entertainment, humour and subject-led narrative non-fiction. This role will not focus on cookery or self-development titles.  

This position reports to the Head of Non-fiction. 

About Penguin Michael Joseph and the Non-fiction Team 

Penguin Michael Joseph are the publishers of a focused list of the UK’s best-loved fiction and non-fiction writers, from Marian Keyes to Raynor Winn, Stephen Fry to Jojo Moyes. 

In non-fiction, Michael Joseph are home to some of the UK’s biggest authors, as well as some of the most exciting new voices. Ranging from across a broad spectrum of genres, our recent bestsellers include Dr Julie Smith’s Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before?, Raynor Winn’s Landlines, Dame Judi Dench’s Shakespeare, Dawn French’s The Twat Files, Jeremy Clarkson’s Diddly Squat series, James Norbury’s Big Panda and Tiny Dragon, Roxie Nafousi’s Manifest and Nadiya Hussain’s Simple Spices.  

The Opportunity 

You’ll have a broad remit to commission actively across a wide range of topics – to succeed in this role you should be fascinated by what consumers are interested in and eager to find the next big thing, wherever that might come from. Supported by our brilliant publishing team with its extensive track record of success, your job will be to find the bestsellers of the future, manage relationships with those authors and help them develop their careers, and project manage each publication with a keen eye on finding the widest possible audience. We’re eager to identify books that have potential to travel, whether that’s through translated editions, or our own international sales team, and you’ll also have the opportunity to delve into our backlist.  

We are looking for candidates who have managed creative projects, whether this be in book publishing, magazines, journalism or the media industry more widely.  What’s important to us is that you can identify talent for the next bestseller, and work with them, bringing the rest of the team at PMJ along with you. 

Candidate profile 

  • Proven commissioning experience, or equivalent 

  • Commercially minded and curious, keen to acquire a high number of titles across a wide range of areas 

  • Excellent awareness of non-fiction market and consumer trends 

  • Confidence to act quickly in pursuit of opportunities 

  • Engaging communicator, able both to pitch books in a way that hooks a reader, and also to present themselves as a partner for authors and agents 

  • Great author care, to ensure writers feel supported at every stage of their publishing 

  • Confident project manager, capable of building trusting relationships with colleagues from sales, marketing, publicity and foreign rights; providing the leadership to make each book a success 

Application Instructions: 

Please apply with your CV and cover letter by midnight on Thursday 27th June.  

As part of your cover letter, please write 200 words on one author who you think would be a brilliant addition to the Penguin Michael Joseph non-fiction list and why.  

What you can expect from us: 

Salary: from £41,000 dependent on how your skills and experience align to the role, plus bonus and benefits. 

Competitive benefits package:   

Our people are the heart of our business, and we work hard to support a culture of responsibility and recognition.   

Our benefits include:  

Financial – discounted shopping, season ticket loan, rental deposit loan  

Wellbeing - healthcare cash plan, employee assistance, gym loan  

Lifestyle – taste card, tech scheme, free and discounted books  

For our full benefits list please visit:  

Hybrid working:   

While our offices across the UK are places to connect, collaborate and celebrate with colleagues, we recognise that flexibility around where you work is just as important. The Penguin Michael Joseph team typically work in the office three days per week. We’ll be happy to discuss this further as part of the interview process. 

The recruitment process:   

You can read about our recruitment process at  

As a Disability Confident Committed organisation, we offer interviews to candidates with a disability who meet the essential criteria for the role, and opt-in on their application form. There may be times when the volume of applications means we cannot take all eligible candidates to interview.  

We encourage you to tell us about any reasonable adjustments you may need by emailing Remember, you only need to share what you are comfortable to for us to support your request.  

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

Company: Penguin Books Limited 

Country: United Kingdom 

State/Region: London 

City: London 

Postal Code: SW11 7BW 

Job ID: 269328

Date:  28 Mar 2024


London, LND, GB, SW11 7BW

Senior Commissioning Editor - Non-fiction, Penguin Michael Joseph

Administration, Commissioning Editor, Publishing, Communications
Salary description: 
from £41,000 dependent on how your skills and experience align to the role, plus bonus and benefits.

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