top of page
  • Writer's pictureThe Publishing Post

Helpful Books to Upskill

In this feature we wanted to share a list of books that can offer some light reading or detailed analysis into the world of publishing. We have titles for production, editorial, specific genres, commissioning and lots more!

In Other Worlds: SF and the Human Imagination by Margaret Atwood

In 2010, Atwood delivered a lecture series at Emory University and subsequently produced a book on her findings and ideas. It includes essays on Ursula K. Le Guin, H. G. Wells and the distinction between ‘science proper fiction’ and ‘speculative fiction.' This is especially interesting for publishing hopefuls looking to understand more about these genres. 

The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories by Christopher Booker

Using a wealth of examples, including fairy tales and ancient myths, Booker asserts that there are only a few basic stories in the world. This can be an appealing title to individuals looking to get into the editorial scene of publishing.

Book Production by Adrian Bullock

A comprehensive analysis into how technology impacts the world publishers work in, and a guide to equip workers with the skills they need to work effectively. Part one addresses the role of project manager and part two explores the process behind certain book materials, alongside case studies.

The Oxford Handbook of Publishing edited by Angus Phillips and Michael Bhaskar

This provides an extensive look at the different sectors of publishing. It is also used for publishing studies and gives great insight into various departments within the industry.

Selling Rights by Lynette Owen

For publishing hopefuls with a specific interest in Rights, this is a fantastic resource which delves into this area in depth. Additionally, Owen is one of the contributors for The Oxford Handbook of Publishing; there is also a chapter in there which gives a broad overview.

Inside Book Publishing by Giles Clark and Angus Phillips

This book is required reading for many BA and MA degree courses in publishing courses across the UK including Oxford Brookes, Kingston and Bath Spa. Therefore, for a degree-like experience without the university price tag, I would highly recommend getting this book. From personal experience, having been taught directly by Angus Phillips in the past, there is a fountain of knowledge that can be gained from Inside Book Publishing. It will enlighten you of the functionality behind publishing and the key issues currently facing the industry across its various departments – future incentives that will most likely need to be taken into consideration by anyone interested in joining the industry. 

Book Commissioning and Acquisition by Gill Davies

A truly phenomenal book that contains a wealth of information and advice for all aspiring editors. The book is a great resource for those who want to truly understand the mechanics beneath the aesthetically pleasing facade that is the publishing industry. The book successfully covers the most important aspects of the editorial process, including (but not limited to) the intricacies behind managing a publishing list, the business of appeasing stakeholders and a step-by-step walkthrough in overcoming almost every possible hurdle a new professional could possibly experience throughout their career. 

The Writers' and Artists' Yearbook 2021 Edition (Foreword by S. J. Watson)

The Writers and Artists Yearbook is an amazing resource for those looking for a foot in the industry. It contains insightful, knowledgeable information gathered each year from a variety of standout industry professionals that help you to peek behind the curtain and look into the real experiences of those currently working in the industry. Most importantly, the book acts as a sort of 'Yellow Pages' for every known type of publisher within the United Kingdom. This makes it a useful resource for those who have had little to no luck with larger publishers and would like to discover smaller, local publishers to apply for jobs at. A look through this book will provide you with the names and contact details of thousands of publishers, thus making it easier for candidates to personalise any correspondence they may decide to send over. 

Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynne Truss

Though not directly related, this book is a wonderful resource for anyone interested in joining the publishing industry, particularly those looking to get into the editorial side of things. The book provides a highly entertaining yet extremely informative perspective on grammar and spelling. With a high level of wit and charm that could give any comedian a run for their money, this book will quickly have you in stitches over the various complexities that exist within the English language and the ways in which they complicate our communication with one another. This title will re-school you on some grammatical rules you’ll definitely need to survive in publishing, but will have likely forgotten since finishing school.


Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page