How to Become a Publisher


How to Become a Publisher: Career Guide

To become a publisher, the first thing you need to do is determine if a career as a publisher is right for you.


If you love reading and you’re interested in a lucrative and relatively secure career that involves overseeing the work of others, as well as ensuring quality publications are being produced and properly promoted, then a career as a publisher may be right up your alley!


Below we've outlined what you'll need to succeed in a career as a publisher. We've also included helpful information for a career as a publisher, such as job description, job duties, salary expectations, a list of possible employers and much more!



Education Needed to Become a Publisher

The typical educational background needed to become a publisher is a Bachelor’s degree in a field such as English, management, journalism, communications or liberal arts.


Although it is not typically a requirement of employment in a publishing company, a master’s degree in publishing, or one of the aforementioned fields, can be attractive to potential employers.


The educational requirements to become a publisher can also vary based on factors such as who the employer is, the size of the publication, the industry the publication operates within and many others.





Skills Needed to Become a Successful Publisher

There is a certain set of skills that you need to apply to your work in order to become a successful publisher, including:


• Must have a good understanding of effective marketing techniques related to your industry

• Must be able to keep abreast of what’s popular in the literary world

• Must be extremely detail oriented

• Must be able to meet deadlines

• Must be able to oversee and delegate the work of many different types of specialists

• Must be able to recognize promising new opportunities

• Must be computer literate and must be comfortable using basic office applications

• Must have good negotiation skills

• Must have excellent communication skills (verbal and written)

• Must be able to network and establish professional relationships



Publisher Job Description

Publishers work to release books, novels, magazines, newspapers, textbooks and other printed works to the public. Publishers must ensure that the materials they publish and promote align with the mission and objectives of the publishing company they represent. They are also responsible for acquiring new authors and determining payment parameters for new contracts.



Publisher Job Duties

• Supervise the work of authors, editors, journalists, graphic artists, illustrators, photographers, lawyers, accountants, marketing personnel and clerical staff

• Oversee the preparation of publication contracts, including payment terms and submission deadlines

• Review written materials that have been submitted for publication in order to ensure they qualify, based on numerous company parameters and objectives

• Establish relationships with trade publications, newspapers and radio/TV representatives

• Liaise with distributing channels and bookstore chains



Publisher Salary

The salary level of publishers can vary quite a bit depending on where they work, their level of experience, their level of education and many others. It is difficult to determine an average salary level for publishers, as there is no reliable data available specifically for this career. We can get a good idea of their earnings however by examining the earnings of the closely related profession of Sales Manager.


Publisher Salary United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary of sales managers in the United States is $119,980 per year (2010 figures).





Who Hires Publishers?

Publishers are hired by large, medium, small and non-profit organizations that produce print media for any number of purposes, including education, entertainment, news, industry related information and others.


• Book publishing houses

• Magazines

• Newspapers

• Scholarly publications

• Textbook publications

• Trade publications

• Self-publishing



Publisher Career Advancement

To you become a publisher you must often begin in an entry or mid-level position, such as publishing assistant or junior publisher. With enough experience and education, you may be given an opportunity to apply for a job as a publisher, either with your current company or externally.


After you’ve gained some experience as a publisher, you may be eligible for upper management opportunities with your organization. It is also fairly common for experienced publishers to leave their jobs in order to start their own publishing houses.



Careers Related to Publisher

Listed below are jobs that are similar in nature to that of a publisher, as they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and responsibilities.


Copy Editor

Literary Agent

Production Manager

Publishing Rights Manager

Sales Manager



References: Publisher Career

Please use the references below to find more information on the various aspects of a career as a Publisher.



Resources:Become a Publisher in 7 Strategic Steps–Stop Manuscript Rejection.” Deborah S. Nelson (n.d.). Publishing Solo website. Retrieved January 11, 2020.

Press:What Do Publishers Do?.” William Germano (n.d.). University of Chicago website. Retrieved January 11, 2020.

Publishing Jobs:What Does a Book Publisher Do?.” Ian Linton (n.d.) Houston Chronicle website. Retrieved January 11, 2020.



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Scholarships for Becoming a Publisher

Scholarships in Canada and the United States listed for majors that apply to becoming a Publisher can be found on our All Scholarships by Major page.


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!



Becoming a Publisher: Applicable Majors

Studying one of the university majors listed below is an excellent starting point to becoming a publisher. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!


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