Publishing Career Builder Series: Careers in Book Acquisitions

Acquisitions editors play a leading role in how publishers identify, select, and secure the books they publish. In this month’s publishing career builder webinar, we’ll examine careers in acquisitions for professional, scholarly, and trade books. Our panelists, Greg Britton, Editorial Director of Johns Hopkins University Press, adjunct faculty member in publishing at the George Washington University; Jane Bunker, Director of Cornell University Press; Jermey Matthews, Ph.D., Acquisitions Editor, MIT Press; and Kate Roddy, Assistant Editor at independent trade publisher Sourcebooks (MPS in Publishing 2019), will discuss the skills needed for success in an acquisitions role, to identify promising projects, work with authors to refine those ideas, and assess the editorial, financial, and market viability of those projects. We’ll discuss job search strategies and the variety of different editorial roles. We’ll also discuss acquisitions editors’ role in efforts to increase the diversity and variety of publishing voices.

Panelists:

  • Greg Britton, Editorial Director of Johns Hopkins University Press; adjunct professor, Publishing, George Washington University
  • Jane Bunker, Director of Cornell University Press
  • Jermey Matthews, Ph.D., Acquisitions Editor, the MIT Press
  • Kate Roddy, Assistant Editor at independent trade publisher Sourcebooks; MPS in Publishing 2019

Moderators: 

  • Nicole Mintz, Career Services Director, College of Professional Studies, George Washington University
  • John W. Warren, Director and Associate Professor, MPS in Publishing, George Washington University

Speaker Bios:

  • Greg Britton is editorial director of Johns Hopkins University Press, where he oversees the publishing of 170 new books annually. He also acquires the Press’s list in Higher Education studies. Greg serves on the press’s management team that directs the substantial book and journal programs, distribution service, and Project Muse. Prior to his appointment at Hopkins, Britton directed Getty Publications at the J. Paul Getty Trust. He is active in both the Association of American Publishers and the Association of University Presses, which gave him their 2016 Constituency Award. In 2018, the Council of Independent Colleges presented him with their Academic Leadership Award. He wrote “Thinking Like a Scholarly Editor: The How and Why of Academic Publishing” a chapter in Peter Ginna’s What Editors Do: The Art, Craft, and Business of Book Editing (University of Chicago Press, 2017.) Greg writes occasionally for the Chronicle of Higher Education and Inside Higher Education. Greg will be joining the MPS in Publishing program in Fall 2021 to teach the new course, Mastering Book Acquisitions.
     
  • Jane Bunker is Director of Cornell University Press. Previously, she was Director of Northwestern University Press. She began her career at SUNY Press, where she acquired books in philosophy, psychology, women’s studies, and education. She earned her M.A. in Philosophy from Fordham University and B.A. in Philosophy from St. Norbert College. 

  • Jermey Matthews, is Acquisitions Editor for Physical Sciences, Engineering, and Mathematics books at the MIT Press. He is also an advisor for the new MIT-Candlewick Press imprints: MIT Kids Press and MITeens Press. Prior to these roles, he was an associate editor and book reviews columnist for Physics Today, the flagship magazine of the American Institute of Physics. He obtained his terminal degree, a PhD in chemical engineering, from the University of Maryland. Some of his notable signings include The Dialogues: Conversations about the Nature of the Universe, a graphic book by string theorist Clifford Johnson, Fire, Ice, and Physics: The Science of Game of Thrones by physicist Rebecca Thompson, and The Curie Society an original YA graphic novel by Heather Einhorn and Adam Staffaroni.

  • Kate Roddy is an acquisitions editor of adult fiction, adult non-fiction, and college reference at Sourcebooks—an independent trade publisher based outside of Chicago. She previously worked as a production editor at Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group, and she earned her Master of Professional Studies in Publishing at The George Washington University with Cohort 13. Prior to that, Kate earned a Bachelor of Business Administration at the University of Tulsa with minors in Creative Writing and English.


Moderator Bios:

  • Nicole Mintz is a Career Coach who specializes in executive leadership development coaching. She currently serves as the Director of Career Services for GW's College of Professional Studies.
     
  • John W. Warren is Director and Professor of the MPS in Publishing program, College of Professional Studies. He has 30 years of senior management experience in publishing, having led groundbreaking initiatives in digital content development and distribution, including eBooks and enhanced eBooks, short-form digital content, open access journals, and open educational resources. Prior to leading GW’s publishing program, he launched a new university press and library publishing program at George Mason University, and directed marketing and ebook development efforts at Georgetown University Press, the RAND Corporation, and Fondo de Cultura Económica USA.