Providing educational resources and opportunities for all individuals involved in book and book-related publishing.

Publisher’s Assistant | City Lights Publishers

City Lights Publishers is seeking an energetic, multi-talented, team-oriented person to work with us in our office in North Beach, San Francisco. As the Publisher’s Assistant, this individual will work closely with the Publisher, who is also the Executive Director of City Lights, on a range of tasks critical to the functioning of all aspects of the publishing process — editorial, production, sales/distribution, and marketing/publicity — as well as tasks associated with the general oversight and development of City Lights Booksellers & Publishers.

Previous experience in book publishing is desirable, and/or experience as an executive assistant. A sincere enthusiasm for the publishing program at City Lights is a must, as well as a deep familiarity with contemporary literary fiction, poetry, and social and political nonfiction.

The ideal candidate must be self-motivated, well read, dependable, highly organized and attentive to detail, able to handle and prioritize multiple tasks and to work quickly and efficiently in a deadline-oriented environment. Excellent written and oral communication skills are required. Must exercise keen judgment, discretion, and diplomacy.

This is a great opportunity for someone who is eager to learn and grow in this industry.

Responsibilities may include, but are not limited to:

  • Reviewing submissions sent to the publisher, providing editorial reports and support as needed
  • Organizing incoming and outgoing communications for the publisher
  • Scheduling appointments and managing the publisher’s calendar
  • Compiling data/running reports, filing, correspondence
  • Maintaining databases pertaining to foreign and subsidiary rights, as well as tracking incoming payments and author royalties
  • Generating publishing contracts and tracking advance payments
  • Assisting publisher with annual royalty payments
  • Copywriting for catalogs, marketing materials, web postings
  • Copyediting and proofing catalog copy, covers, and marketing materials
  • Managing entry of backlist titles into short run print program and ebook conversion
  • Checking ebook files
  • Registering books with the Library of Congress CIP program
  • Troubleshooting technology issues, helping to improve on existing systems
  • Assisting with tasks associated with the development of a new website
  • Assisting with special projects and other tasks as needed
  • Conducting research on various topics as needed


Required Skills, Knowledge, and Abilities:

  • 2+ years of professional experience, preferably in the publishing field
  • Interest in book publishing and knowledge of contemporary literature, poetry, literary non-fiction, and progressive politics
  • Interest in and enthusiasm for City Lights’ publishing program
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Experience in proofreading and working familiarity with The Chicago Manual of Style
  • Self-starter who can work independently with little direction—an investigative problem solver
  • Proven ability to juggle multiple priority projects simultaneously
  • Detail-oriented, well organized, and meticulous in execution of tasks
  • Strong Mac OS and Microsoft Office skills, particularly Excel, and other basic office technology
  • A professional and friendly attitude, ability to collaborate across departments and disciplines
  • Immediate availability preferred


Preferred experience:

  • Independent project management experience
  • Involvement with website development
  • Experience with data entry and databases
  • Experience in political or community organizing and activism
  • An intimate relationship with San Francisco and Bay Area literary communities
  • Familiarity with book layout and typesetting, digital printing, and/or e-book production.


Physical Demands, to be performed with or without reasonable accommodation: Must be able to sit for extended periods of time Frequent use of hands for keystrokes Ability to infrequently lift boxes weighing up to fifty pounds

To Apply: Interested candidates should email the following materials as email attachments to publishers [@], with the subject line “Publisher’s Assistant 2019.”

  • Cover letter addressed to Elaine Katzenberger, Publisher
  • Resume
  • List of 10 favorite books
  • A review (no more than one-page, single-spaced) of a contemporary work of literary fiction, or social or political nonfiction.

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until the position is filled.

Job Type: Full-time

Experience: professional experience, preferably in the publishing field: 2 years