Course Objective

To introduce participants to both the creative and publishing aspects of the writing and literary process, emphasising and highlighting the important connection – what we would regard as the inseparability of the two. We examine writing and publishing both on their own terms, as separate disciplines and pursuits, as well as in their relationship to one another. We regard both as aspects of the same continuum, whose purpose is to connect authors to their readership. The main challenge facing authors, writers, independent publishers today is to have a knowledge and command of the entire writing and publishing process, not just certain aspects of it.

1. Why Do We Write?

Course introduction. Taking a brief overview at the history of literature and the written form while asking, what makes people take up the pen (or keyboard) to write in the first place?

This is an important but not always an easy question to answer – and we offer no ‘correct’ solution either. Rather, we suggest reasons why people have taken to the pursuit of writing in the past, with the view to offering motivation, guidance, advice that may help to spur your own efforts.
For some, writing may be a natural expression – something that arises spontaneously. Others have to work on the craft. Irrespective of which category you feel you belong to (and most writers fall between both stools at different times), understanding that you belong to a long, often illustrious history may help in understanding your place within this tradition, unlocking your own ability and potential in the process

2. Creative Writing

Exploring different styles of writing, choosing a form that best suits your creativity and talents. Not just knowing how to write but, who you are writing for. Who is going to want to read your work and why?

In publishing terms, it is not enough to know how to write – it is largely a matter of knowing how to write for a target audience. Who is going to want to read your work and why? What makes you, the author, uniquely qualified to narrate the story or account?
We look at the discipline of writing: how to get started, where you may find subjects to write about, developing your ideas to create something tangible, choosing a form, structuring a narrative, following through with a story that delivers, where to get help.
We also explore the writing challenges that are specific to different genres and styles, such as fiction, non-fiction, poetry, drama, storytelling, journalism, marketing, PR, advertising and copywriting, etc.

3. Presentation and Design Tips

Examining the principles of design and presentation across all media, not just the literary form. We also take a look at the various tools of the trade (programmes and software) that are at the writer’s disposal.

Knowing how to write and who to write for are all well and good but, how do we know that we are reaching people, having the desired impact? What media do you choose? We examine ways by which we can present our work in a manner that is accessible to the readership that we seek.
The topics covered in this module will be relevant to authors considering both the traditional and self-publishing routes, as well as new and modern forms of publishing that have arisen in recent times.

4. Writing as a Career

The possibility of making a career out of doing what you love is always at the back of every writer’s mind. Here, we bring the matter to the forefront and examine various ways and means that this end might be achieved.

Whether you write professionally or as a hobby, it is always gratifying to receive acknowledgement and consideration for the work that you have done. So, how do you persuade people to pay you for all your effort and hard work? How do you make a career for yourself in writing and publishing that might sustain a livelihood (even a partial one)?
We explore many and varied routes towards this objective, examining the issue from the point of view of what differentiates professional writing from the hobbyist form; what motivates and drives the professional writer?

5. Overview of the Publishing Process

We look at the stages involved and the business models that are applicable to all forms of publishing, focusing in particular on the traditional (publishing house) and the self-publishing routes but also examining new and modern forms of publishing that have arisen in recent times. From this, you will gain an overview of the publishing process and the stages involved.

We examine this publishing publishing process under broad general headings of editorial, manuscript preparation, printing, e-publishing, sales, marketing, retail, distribution, publicity and promotion and so on.
In comparing the traditional (publishing house) with the self-publishing path to publishing, we also look at both the similarities and the differences between the two: the features that they hold in common and the points where paths diverge.
In looking at new and modern forms of publishing, we ask whether they represent the changing the face of publishing as we know it or, merely a re-invention of the old.

6. Self-Publishing

Challenges and pitfalls await the writer who chooses this route but, there are certainly opportunities and even rewards. Publishing is a business at the end of the day. The key to it comes down to maintaining ownership and control while minimising exposure to risk.

By no means a recent development in publishing terms, self-publishing has acquired new impetus in the digital era. We look at both the challenges and opportunities that are presented to authors and writers, setting out on what may seem like a daunting journey of independent publishing.
We take you through the necessary preparatory and follow-through work that is involved and the questions that may arise: e.g. whether to avail of the printed or non-printed route, or both; the pros and cons of doing-it-yourself versus employing professionals.
Along the way, we will try to debunk some of the myths and negative perceptions that often crop up, without trying to engender a sense of false optimism.

7. e-Publishing and the Rise of the e-Book

Here, we look at the subject matter in terms of its place within the history of publishing, the long-term implications for the industry generally, as well as getting down to the very basics of how to get started, how it all works and so forth.

e-Publishing has resulted in the biggest shake-up of the publishing world in generations. It has done this by making publishing immensely attractive and viable to authors and writers of all backgrounds, genres, specialisms and talents. It also puts the author in control. That which was previously unattainable is now quite within the grasp of the author who is willing to invest the time, patience, effort. Money too can aid your efforts but, only if it is spent right.

Yet, how much about the e-publishing phenomenon do we really understand? What are the long-terms implications for publishing as a whole? What is different about e-publishing over the traditional printed form? How should authors and writers adapt to survive the changes?
Most importantly, we tell you how and where to get started.

8. Building and Managing your Web Presence

The worldwide web is a publishing platform in itself – one that is also free to use by virtually everyone. How you might be able to use all this to your advantage, as an author and independent publisher, is the subject of this module.

The worldwide web is an immensely valuable resource for published writers, for authors considering self-publishing, even for hobbyists looking for an outlet for their creative talents or, simply to share and interact with members of the literary and other communities that inhabit your preferred genre or niche.

We examine the web as a platform that allows writers, not just to publish but also to market, sell and promote their work. We consider all of the advantages of this vast global platform and the techniques involved, which will help you to build and manage your web presence – professionally, affordably, effectively.