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Summary of occupation

Publishers manage the creation and production of a wide range of print-based media, including books, magazines, newspapers, software and online content. They select, assess and critique the content of the work they publish and oversee and authorise design and budgetary decisions. They also organise the scheduling and timelines for printing, reprinting or manufacturing and marketing published content. They liaise with authors and editors, designers, illustrators and photographers, and printers and distributors. Publishers also licence their content to overseas publishing companies, and organise and attend the launches of their published products.

ANZSCO description: Publishers manage the creation and production  of a wide range of print-based media, including books, magazines,  newspapers, software and web-based and online content.
Alternative names: Publishing Editor
Job prospects: Average
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

A publisher needs:

  • strong oral communication skills and a great command of written language
  • the ability to work to tight deadlines
  • decision making skills
  • the ability to remain calm under pressure
  • project management and organisational skills
  • leadership skills and strategic vision
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Working conditions

Publishers work in offices. They usually work regular hours, but are usually expected to work longer hours when working to deadlines. They may be required to travel nationally or internationally to attend launches, book fairs or conferences, or to meet authors, editors or other publishers. They generally work in cities and large towns, so in Western Australia most of the work for publishers is in Perth. However, some smaller publishers also exist in large regional centres, such as Magabala books in Broome.

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Salary details

On average, publishers, classified under artistic directors, and media producers and presenters, can expect to earn between $1 250 and $1 499 per week  ($65 000 and $77 999 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. As a publisher develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase. 

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Tools and technologies

Publishers use computers and specialist software to carry out word processing and document editing and formatting. Depending on their specific role within their organisation, they may also be required to use accounting or budgeting software.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

You may be able to work as a publisher without any formal qualifications and get training on the job. However, you are more likely to improve your employment prospects if you have completed a university degree in communications, media, journalism or a related area.

Most universities in Western Australia offer relevant courses. Postgraduate qualifications specialising in publishing are also offered by a number of interstate universities.

Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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