The main responsibility of publishers is to decide what books to publish. An author may submit a manuscript or may be commissioned to write a book and then the manuscripts are submitted to the publisher. When an author submits a manuscript the publisher has to make a decision based on quality and suitability of the book for the company's publishing list.

Commissioning general books requires an ability to accurately assess trends in the reading market. Commissioning for educational publishing entails maintenance of regular contact with government or university departments, depending on the sector of education, to establish suitable subject areas in which to publish. Once a reading trend or subject area has been identified, the publisher needs to find suitable authors to write manuscripts and negotiate publishing contracts with them.

When a book is accepted for publication it is subjected to a process of editing, design, production and marketing. In medium to large sized publishing houses specialized personnel often control each of these processes. The publisher needs, however, to keep in touch throughout the process as budgets, deadlines, publicity and special editorial agreements are ultimately his / her responsibility.


This type of work is specifically geared towards employment by a publishing house. The majority of publishers in this country either fall into the educational or general book category. There are, however, publishing houses that specialise in publishing for niche markets, for example, classical literature and books for children, religious and technical books.

Getting Started

  • try to obtain vacation or part-time work in a publishing house

  • develop your interest in particular types of books

  • arrange to speak to a publisher about this type of career


Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Durban University of Technology , Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology, Sol Plaatjies University, University of Johannesburg, University of Pretoria, University of Rwanda, University of the Free State

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