Quill and Quire

Acquiring Editor(s)

ECW Press Published: October 27, 2020
Job Type
Date Posted


ECW Press is looking for people who could be good book acquirers: people we don’t know, people we do know but never considered for the role. The qualifications? The list is unusual; it’s for someone who:

  • has strong ideas about the new books they want to see in the world
  • has good connections to communities of writers, and/or ways to introduce themselves to potential writers
  • will champion the writers, the people (staff, freelancers) that work on the books, even the readers of the books
  • understands the need to meet deadlines, and do the ancillary things that help sell books; and
  • will turn even a modest profit on their list of books.

As for acquiring books before, no experience necessary. Someone in acquisitions needs to be knowledgeable in the face of technical issues, persuasive in the face of indifference, and tenacious in the face of unfounded criticism. You don’t need to edit. Some of our acquirers don’t edit their books, but instead use freelancers or other staff. Yet you need to understand the craft of editing, as well as other aspects of book publishing.

It’s possible that a great person for this role is someone who works with other editors working with writers, rather than work with writers directly. It’s possible that this role works well on a part-time basis. It’s possible that this role is perfect for you somewhere down the road, and you want to learn with ECW about acquisitions (please check out our acquisitions internship). All to say that we are open to any ways in which this role could fit in well with your life, skills, and experience.

ECW has never put out a notice like this. We have relied before on the communities and people we know, and now we must reach out into communities of people we don’t know. Invest in them, in you. We are looking for people that expand the diversity of those currently working in book publishing, including, but are not limited to, ancestry, culture, ethnicity, gender identity, gender expression, physical and intellectual ability, race, religion (creed), sex, sexual orientation, and socio-economic status. We are looking for acquisitions editors who can connect with writers who will give voice to people not heard as often as they should be, and who can shape books that have not been dreamed of yet.

As a company, we believe that books, i.e. long-form writing, exist in forms and formats currently popular and in forms yet to be imagined. ECW has perhaps the most ambitious audiobook program in the country. We are working on making every ECW title fully accessible to all. The obstacle is getting readers to know about the writing; it should not be how to access it. We are open to any ideas that you have about what a “book” could be.

These ideas came to ECW from individuals such as you. As a company, we support the work of bringing ideas into action. This will mean the book ideas championed by a new acquisitions editor. There is no committee to convince; no executive to green-light your ideas. You will have the freedom to pursue the books you believe should be made, provided that your work also allows others to freely pursue their ideas, e.g. does not use all of our financial resources. You will work with people at ECW whose expertise will exceed your own in many areas such as design, editing, marketing, etc. You will heed their advice and respect their processes, but in the end, the look and shaping of your books will be in your hands. If there is a freelancer that you feel will be right for a certain book, let’s use them. This is a big investment by ECW in your ideas, and we will have regular conversations about how that investment is turning out in terms of sale revenue, critical acclaim, staff enthusiasm, etc.

Now we need to know who you are! Please send a letter and résumé to jobs@ecwpress.com. Please place both letter and résumé in one PDF document titled with your first and last name. We thank all applicants for their interest, but we will contact only those selected for an interview. Your salary will be commensurate with your experience, and ECW offers a flexible worktime and workplace policy, as well as group health and dental benefits.

ECW Press is an independent Canadian-owned book publisher, currently developing, producing, and promoting fifty original books each year in fiction, poetry, crime fiction, the environment, pop culture, sports, memoirs, pop science, and more. To learn more, please visit ecwpress.com.