Typical Roles at a Publishing Company

The roles at a publishing company can vary greatly depending on its size. If your company is too small to provide one of the following roles, simply contract out. You will need several kinds of editors, including at least one book editor, copy editor, and production editor. You should also consider hiring a publicist and a receptionist as part of your team.

Book Editor

Book editors work with authors to help develop an idea or a outline into a finished book.

Typical Salary: $50,000 per year

What Does This Role Entail?

  • Advising writers on what topics, characters, etc. should be included or omitted from a book
  • Proofreading each draft of a work

Who to Look For:

  • Degree in English or similar subject
  • Editing experience

Copy Editor

A copy editor focuses on editing for technical errors (rather than content).

Typical Salary: $44,000 per year

What Does This Role Entail?

  • Proofreading for spelling and grammar
  • Making sure an author’s words carry his or her intended meaning

Who to Look For:

  • Degree in English or similar subject
  • Editing experience

Production Editor

A production editor oversees the entire process of publication.

Typical Salary: $65,000 per year

What Does This Role Entail?

  • Managing a publication’s budget
  • Proofreading and editing
  • Scheduling publishing dates and deadlines

Who to Look For:

  • Degree in English or similar subject
  • Editing experience
  • Good presentation skills


Publicists create and maintain an image for authors.

Typical Salary: $56,700 per year

What Does This Role Entail?

  • Creating marketing campaigns
  • Arranging public appearances for their clients
  • Drafting press releases

Who to Look For:

  • Experience in publishing
  • Good communication skills
  • Creative with marketing strategies


Receptionists manage the front desk of the publishing company, where they greet clients and assist editors with administrative tasks.

Typical Salary: $27,300 per year

What Does This Role Entail?

  • Greeting clients
  • Receiving and managing telephone calls
  • Miscellaneous administrative work

Who to Look For:

  • Friendly and welcoming
  • Organized and detailed

Publishing Company Hiring Tips

Hiring employees can seem like a nerve-wracking process, but it doesn't have to be. We break the process down into four basic steps: (1) Planning; (2) Recruiting; (3) Interviewing; and (4) Completing the Hire. Here are some tips for each phase of the process

Plan to Staff Your Business

A publishing company must work as a cohesive team. Depending on the stage of the book (or other medium to be published), different editors will be working with the author. It is possible for the owner to function as one of these editors, but they will have to balance those responsibilities with overseeing all of the employees. While a smaller company could have only two or three editors, you will want to make sure that anything getting published is seen with several pairs of eyes to pick up on any errors.

If your publishing company is on the larger side (or when it begins to grow), you may want to consider hiring a recruiting company to help connect you with qualified candidates. Recruiting companies often specialize in certain fields and will likely be more efficient than if your company merely posted job openings online.

Develop a Recruiting Strategy

When hiring at a publishing company, you will want to target college graduates for all positions (except perhaps a receptionist). Put up flyers in places frequented by readers such as bookstores, libraries, and cafes. Advertise your openings online as well, especially if you specialize in online rather than print publishing.

Interview with Confidence

If you take your time during the planning and recruiting phases of the process, you will likely end up with many qualified candidates.

Nonetheless, it is natural for a new business owner to be a bit anxious the first time hiring employees. Don’t forget that the interview is just a chance to get to know an applicant and to give them an opportunity to learn more about the role and the business. Also, it might help to remember that they are probably even more nervous than you are!

Throughout the interview process, it may help to keep in mind that most publishing companies look for employees who are:

  • Good at meeting deadlines
  • Strong readers/editors
  • Reliable
  • Good at motivating clients

Here are some sample interview questions that will help you learn more about the character of your interviewees:

  • What is your editing experience?
  • Do you enjoy working with a team?
  • Are you good at working under pressure?
  • How would you describe your management style?
  • What is your favorite book?

Be Familiar with Hiring Laws

After selecting a job candidate, there are certain steps you will need to follow to complete the hiring process. Check out our Hiring Compliance Checklist for a step-by-step guide to the legal aspects of hiring employees.

One of the most important steps is to classify your new hire as an employee or an independent contractor. Become familiar with IRS guidelines on this matter, as there are serious consequences for misclassifying an employee as an independent contractor.

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For more details, please refer to our guide on the topic, Contractors vs. Employees: What You Need to Know. We also provide templates for the essential hiring forms you will need.

Set Up Payroll

Once you have a growing team of employees, it's time to set up your payroll. Using a payroll service provider saves you time for running your business, and also helps ensure that you comply with important federal requirements such as employee tax withholding.

To help our readers save money and grow their business, we negotiated a 20% discount for you with payroll provider ADP, the most popular small business provider in the country.

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Try ADP and get 20% off payroll services for your business.

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