20 Best Publishing Jobs In The USA

When you tell someone you want to work in publishing, they may see you buried over pages of a manuscript with a red pen in hand. While becoming an editor is a viable professional option, it is far from the only one. 

There are many different forms of publishing jobs, and you might want to look into what possibilities are available in another medium. 

Below are some of the best publishing jobs in the United States that will allow you to compare working in both mediums until you find the one that is the best fit for you.

Before we go on to list the best publishing careers in the U.S., you may want to know if publishing is really a good career.

Is Publishing A Good Career?

To secure a publishing job you’ll need to be confident, qualified and ambitious, with a passion for reading books as well as knowledge of industry trends and your target audience

You also have to put in a lot of effort to get book publishing or publishing jobs because it’s a fairly difficult sector to break into, but it’ll be well worth it. A publishing career does not have a one-size-fits-all solution. Editing, design, marketing, and book purchasing are all options for professionals interested in a career in publishing.

Do Publishing Jobs Pay Well?

In the United States, the average annual income for a Publishing job is $77,983. If you need a quick salary calculator, that works out to about $37.49 per hour. This equates to $1,500 a week or $6,499 per month.

According to ZipRecruiter, annual incomes for publishers range from $165,000 to $22,000 per year. The majority of publishing jobs pay between $39,500 and $116,500 per year, with top earners in the United States making $158,000 per year. 

How Do I Get A Job In Publishing?

If you want to work at a classic New York City book publishing house, preferably at one of the Big Five; Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin Random House, or Simon & Schuster or a recognized small publisher, you need to;

  • Discover the various departments that make up a book publishing business.
  • Know how to tell the difference between the various editorial positions.
  • Learn about the various types of book sales jobs.
  • From the author’s draft to the finished product, you should be aware of the publishing process.
  • Learn about the Big Five traditional publishing houses.
  • Research The Job You Want In Advance
  • Review the annual calendar for book publishing jobs, as the sector is quite seasonal.

Additionally, you have to present a well-documented resume that’s made to suit the type of job you’re applying to.

What Degree Do You Need To Work In Publishing?

Working as a publisher often necessitates a bachelor’s degree or above. Most employers prefer candidates who have degrees in English, journalism, or communications; but, if you have the appropriate abilities and experience, you can work as a publisher with degrees in other subjects. You can also look into 10 Best Colleges for Publishing and Editing in 2022 | Tuition and Admission Requirements

What Are The Different Jobs That The Book Publishing Industry Does?

In the process of publishing a book, many various responsibilities are involved, some of which you may not have considered before.

1. Editorial

Editors are typically involved in all aspects of book publication, including coming up with a concept, commissioning an author to write it, collaborating with other departments on design and marketing concepts, and even writing the material for the book cover.

2. Design

Designers are in charge of the appearance and feel of a book, guaranteeing maximum impact and readability. Although some publishing houses have in-house design teams, many currently rely on freelancers. Designers frequently collaborate closely with the production department on every aspect of a book, from the cover design to the size and typography. Picture researchers and text designers may have specialized tasks depending on the publication.

3. Production

The manuscript and design elements are transformed into a final book by production departments. Production teams take on project management responsibilities, which include anything from purchasing paper to obtaining estimates and negotiating rates for typesetting, printing, and binding. Because shops will be anticipating the book at a specific time, it’s critical that production proceeds smoothly.

4. Contracts

Contracts departments are in charge of drafting agreements between authors and publishers. This department’s employees will ensure that the contract documents are correct and in accordance with the author’s original agreement. They’ll then work with rights departments to make sure the proper royalties are paid.

5. Rights

Author and publishers’ rights must be protected because they rely on their work for a living, and publishers invest significant quantities of money in the development, production, and distribution of books. Rights departments are in charge of selling these rights to anyone who wants to buy them — an Asian corporation, for example, might want to translate a book into Japanese and sell it in that market. Translation, serialization, film/TV rights, and merchandise rights are often owned by the publishing house and can be sold.

6. Marketing

Through advertising, promotion, and sending out samples to important contacts, marketing departments are responsible for generating interest in a magazine and ensuring that its target audience is aware of its existence. Marketing teams establish a strategy and create promotional materials for a campaign. They frequently attend conferences and book fairs to promote books and conduct market research to determine product demand.

7. Publicity

Book publicists are responsible for obtaining newspaper attention for an author’s work as well as organizing promotional events. Coverage in newspapers, television, and radio, as well as evaluations of the work in literary journals and the organization of book launches and book-signing events, are all traditional methods. The internet is now being used more and more as a tool. Those interested in working in this sector typically begin as assistants before progressing to the coordinator and finally director positions.

SEE ALSO: Top 7 Digital Publishing Companies In 2022

8. Sales

Salespeople convince retailers, like bookstores and online platforms, to carry a publisher’s works, including new and backlist titles. They are frequently assigned to a specific sector or geographic area, and they cultivate strong ties with these shops in order to persuade them to buy their publisher’s books. Working in sales may also entail going to colleges or universities to talk about upcoming releases and see if there are any market gaps.

20 Best Publishing Jobs In The USA

For any of the publishing jobs, a bachelor’s degree in English, journalism, communications, or a related discipline is required.

1. Editor-in-chief

Editors in chief work for magazines, newspapers, academic journals, and websites, among other print and digital publications. Managing the editorial team, authorizing content for publishing, and representing the publication at events are all typical responsibilities in this position. You’ll be expected to keep in touch with publication managers and directors, editors, content marketers, writers, and sponsors as an editor in chief. You’ll need strong management abilities and the ability to lead editorial team members while meeting competing deadlines for this job. 

Salary: The average annual income for an Editor in Chief in the United States is $91,973 per year, according to ZipRecruiter.

READ ALSO: How To Self-Publish A Book On Amazon | Full Guide

2. Contract Manager

As a contract manager, you may oversee agreements between publishing houses and authors or their literary agents in the publishing industry. Several facets of the book development process are established by these agreements, including the writers’ rights, advances and royalties, publication dates, and the number of volumes released. You’ll be in charge of creating and negotiating contracts, as well as explaining contract provisions, reviewing requested revisions, and recording and filing all contract-related paperwork. Contract managers also provide advice to clients or employers on contract options, such as the risks and benefits of the agreements.

Salary: $87,267 per year

3. Art Director

The head of a company’s art department is called an art director. Your responsibilities and duties as an art director include directing all visual art-related tasks and projects for your departments, such as publication layouts, photography, and advertising pictures. You train your team’s junior members, assign them duties, and ensure that their projects are completed on time and within budget. You’re in charge of everything your team produces in this management position. To satisfy project requirements, you will need to collaborate with different teams inside the firm.

Salary: In the United States, the average annual pay for an Art Director is $78,781.

4. Book Publishers

For a publishing house or an independent book publisher, book publishers control all parts of the book creation process. In this job, you’ll choose authors and commission books and ebooks, as well as negotiate contracts with authors and track the writing process to ensure that the author reaches the deadline for publication. Working with editors and the marketing team to prepare the book for publication and ensuring sales are among the other responsibilities. You may also consult with copyright lawyers and collaborate with graphic designers, printers, and others to ensure that each aspect of the publishing process is performed correctly.

Salary: In the United States, the average annual compensation for a Book Publisher is $69,052.

5. Production Manager

As a production manager, you must keep track of the production team’s goals, keep everyone on task, and ensure that all activities are completed within budget or quota. To keep the project running effectively, you should know how to deliver positive encouragement to your personnel. A smart production manager understands how to clearly communicate concepts and ideas to a variety of audiences. You have excellent planning and coordination skills. You must also have great time management skills.

Salary: In the United States, the average annual salary for a Production Manager is $65,010.

6. Managing Editor

A managing editor is in control of the daily book publishing activities of a corporation, as well as authors, editors, and other workers. As a managing editor, your tasks include coming up with story ideas, planning editorial themes, hiring and training a team of personnel, and reporting to the editor-in-chief. A bachelor’s degree in journalism, communications, or a related field is normally required, as is extensive writing, editing, or reporting experience. You may want to see What Can You Do with a Journalism degree? Career & Salaries

Salary: In the United States, the average yearly salary for a Managing Editor is $61,692.

7. Circulation Director

A circulation manager is responsible for distributing newspapers, magazines, and other print products. As a circulation manager, your job is to ensure that distributors have enough copies of your publication to maintain sales. You must also cultivate positive connections with distributors and address customer complaints, particularly those related to subscriptions.

Salary: In the United States, the average yearly salary for a Circulation Director is $58,614 per year.

8. Ad Sales Manager

This position assists in the development of the publication’s advertising strategy and supervises a staff of sales agents. Advertising sales managers are in charge of planning advertising campaigns and selling ad space. Their job comprises directing an ad agency’s or company’s advertising efforts in order to expand customers and maximize earnings.

Salary: In the United States, the average annual salary for an Advertising Sales Manager is $57,908 per year.

READ ALSO: What can I do with an Advertising degree in 2022?

9. Editors

Your role as an editor is to improve written communication. You’ll work on books, articles, websites, training manuals, legal documents, corporate publications, and scientific studies, among other things. Background knowledge of the materials’ subject matter is required for you to be able to take what has been written and make it clear, organized, and acceptable for the intended audience.

Salary: Editors in the United States earn an average of $52,756 a year.

10. Web Editor

A web editor is someone who works with content on the internet or on a website. While they may be responsible for ensuring that HTML code is accurate, many in this position focus on the front-end user experience and function as authors or editors of new content. A web editor may operate on a site’s back-end to maintain its technological structure in some situations. Planning, programming, and publishing new information are common responsibilities. These responsibilities frequently necessitate the use of professional design or editing tools.

Salary: In the United States, the average annual salary for a Web Editor is $52,068.

11. Freelance Proofreader

Freelance proofreaders examine printed or digital texts for errors and inappropriate wording. Unlike full-time proofreaders who work for a newspaper or company, freelance proofreaders are engaged on a project-by-project basis. Newspapers and book publishers frequently hire freelance proofreaders to revise early drafts of manuscripts before printing final copies.

Salary: A Freelance Proofreader earns an average annual salary of $51,391 in the United States.

12. Ad Sales Agent

Prospective clients buy advertising space from advertising sales agents to market their products and services. You may sell advertising space on billboards, periodicals, television, radio, and internet ads as an advertising sales agent. Contacting potential clients to set up sales presentations, providing clients market study data to illustrate advertising results, and monitoring client accounts are all part of your job responsibilities. You might also have to meet sales quotas.

Salary: In the United States, the average annual salary for an Advertising Sales Agent is $50,690.

13. Writers

Writing fiction and nonfiction for publication in a number of formats is your job as an entry-level creative writer. Writing novels, essays, and screenplays, as well as providing written marketing material for employers, are examples of this. Your job entails determining the most effective approach to communicate a story or idea to a certain audience.

Salary: In the United States, the average annual salary for an Entry Level Creative Writer is $49,735 per year.

14. Graphic Designer

A graphic designer uses digital graphics, photographs, and typography to create visual designs. Their graphic concepts send a message to customers that inform, inspires, or captivates them. Graphic designers assist businesses in developing their brand and expressing a certain identity or concept for promotional and advertising materials. They can manipulate colors, shapes, typefaces, photographs, photography, print design, logos, and animation, and they can sketch by hand or utilize computer software.

Salary: In the United States, the average annual salary for a Graphic Designer is $48,283.

15. Photo Editor/Researcher

As a freelance photo editor, you work with photographers, advertising agencies, and other photography-related businesses as an independent contractor. Your job entails using software like Photoshop or Gimp, as well as traditional darkroom instruments, to improve, tweak, edit, or retouch digital or print pictures.

Salary: In the United States, the average annual compensation for a Freelance Photo Editor is $46,674.

16. Publicist

A publicist is responsible for obtaining press coverage for your clients as well as communicating their brand or message to audiences as a publicist. You may work for a publishing house, promoting authors and their works. You could work with marketing personnel to design marketing campaigns for their clients in order to get good attention. Drafting press releases, delivering promotional materials, and acting as a liaison between publishing businesses and media outlets may be among your tasks. You’ll frequently help writers prepare for public engagements, such as book signings, interviews, or speaking tours, by coordinating and guiding them.

Salary: $43,217 per year

17. Illustrator

As an illustrator, you’ll be in charge of drawing and developing artwork for a variety of purposes, including print publications, marketing, and advertising materials, and more. You’ll frequently cooperate with authors in the publishing sector to generate artwork for their books. You can work for publishing organizations as a freelancer or in-house. Working with authors to decide the art style, presenting drafts, modifying images based on input, and adhering to deadlines and design criteria are all part of your responsibilities. You can do digital drawings and illustrations using software or with real instruments like pencils, acrylics, and watercolors.

Salary: $41,893 per year

18. Editorial Assistant

As an editorial assistant, you’ll be in charge of assisting senior editorial professionals at all stages of the publication process, from planning to production. You will frequently collaborate with members of the publishing team, including those from the creative, editorial, production, and marketing departments. Proofreading and editing texts, working as a contact for writers, handling rights and permissions assignments, and organizing production activities are some of their responsibilities. Filing paperwork, organizing calendars, answering phones, and compiling expense reports are examples of administrative office tasks.

Salary: $41,106 per year

19. Administrative Assistant

Depending on the role and business, an administrative assistant performs a variety of clerical activities in a corporation. Filing paperwork, making appointments, data input, answering the phone, greeting visitors, and generally providing help to other individuals in the office are all possible responsibilities. If you enjoy working with people and being the go-to person within a firm, an administrative assistant position is ideal.

Salary: In the United States, the average annual salary for an Administrative Assistant is $37,849 per year.

20. Marketing Assistant

Any marketing team benefits from having a marketing assistant. A marketing assistant assists in the planning and development of web and print campaigns to boost brand awareness and drive traffic to a website or store. They aid in the development of sales strategies, promotional marketing, and traditional media advertising. They employ web analytic tools to identify trends and monitor visitor visits. To generate sales materials and presentations, marketing assistants will work with their peers and salespeople.

Salary: In the United States, the average annual salary for a Marketing Assistant is $37,452.


Publishing is thriving and developing at a rapid pace, making it an appealing career choice for future professionals with a wide range of interests and backgrounds.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the requirements for a publishing career?

It is suggested that you have a bachelor’s degree.

Is it necessary to have a specific degree of discipline?

The majority of publishers do not place a premium on the subject of your degree. 

Is previous job experience required for a career in book publishing?

Most publishers prefer that you have completed at least two weeks of job experience.

Is Publishing A Good Career?

Publishing is a famously difficult industry to break into, so you’ll have to put in a lot of effort to land a job, but it’ll be well worth it.


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