Want to Work in Publishing? 

Develop your knowledge of the nature and scope of the publishing industry; and both opportunities and limitations applicable to your own situation relevant to that industry.

Understand the Process of Publishing: Print and Electronic

The term ‘publishing’ conjures images of editors, proofreaders, printers, and the like, but the reality is that the publishing industry encompasses many different occupations and skills. Publishers might employ any of the following:

Cost accountant, marketing representative, imprint manager, copy editor, production editor, proofreader, indexer, picture researcher, paste-up artist, plant supervisor, telemarketer, bindery supervisor, letterer, layout artist, human resources director, traffic controller, editorial assistant, freelance writer, technical editor, promotion manager, design supervisor…

There are many different types of publishers. Most deal in hard copy or electronic publishing via the Web. Anything printed and disseminated can be described as a publication – a simple flyer or handout, a 500,000-copy-a-month magazine, a scholarly journal, an e-zine, a paper, a book. Anyone who engages in producing any of these documents for circulation might describe themselves as a publisher.



There are eight lessons in this module as follows:


1. The Publishing Process for Fiction for Adults 

  • Stages of the publishing process, from writing through to publishing the final product
  • Overview of non-fiction genres
  • Overview of fiction genres
  • Defining subgenre
  • Types of story and their word count, including novellas and short stories
  • How word counts vary with genre
  • Graphic novels
  • Defining world building

2. Law and and Publishing Fiction

  • Copyright 
  • Public domain
  • Defamation
  • Criminal libel 
  • Author's agents
  • Vanity press vs self-publishing
  • Contract law and types of contract
  • Creative control
  • Scams

3. Ethics and Morality in Fiction Genres

  • Culture
  • Diversity in fiction
  • Writing diverse characters
  • Sensitivity readers
  • Religious content and niche publishing
  • Content and ratings
  • Censorship
  • Right to privacy
  • Manipulation of digital images

4. Production Systems I: Costing and Constructing a Book

  • Understanding production costs
  • Costs for website, social media, and software
  • Costing out creative services, including art & design and editorial
  • Printing and distribution costs
  • Self-publishing print
  • Self-publishing ebooks
  • Hybrid publishing
  • Assisted publishing
  • ebook production processes
  • Digital file formats
  • Releasing foreign language editions

5. Production Systems II: Editing and Perfecting a Book

  • Developing the manuscript
  • Editing the manuscript, including line editing, copy editing, and proofreading
  • Manuscript critiques and beta reading
  • Front matter requirements
  • Back matter requirements
  • Categorisation, sales, and coding, including ISBN, BIC, and BISAC

6. Layout for Print Media 

  • Page layout for books
  • Selecting a font
  • Page setup for working with books
  • Layout for magazines and news sheets
  • Offset printing
  • Binding
  • Graphic designers

7. Media Advertising for Self-Published Fiction

  • Establishing the market
  • Retail and distribution
  • Print advertising, including reviews, catalogues, and bookmarks
  • Public relations activities
  • Social media presence

8. Marketing and Distribution Systems and Author Promotion

  • Writers’s groups and cross-promotion
  • Print distribution
  • Local author promotions
  • eBook distribution
  • Sales and marketing for self-published authors
  • Book trailers
  • Marketing a publication
  • Using a website for self-promotion



  • Explain the stages and general timeline for self-publishing a fiction book.
  • Discuss different types of genres and how they affect expectations for a fiction book.
  • Discuss word counts and their relationship to genre.
  • Explain the basics of law in relation to self-publishing fiction.
  • Explain the basics of ethics and morality in relation to publishing fiction.
  • Describe the production systems of self-publishing from writing to printing.
  • Discuss layout and design requirements for self-published print media.
  • Discuss ways to sell self-published fiction.
  • Discuss author promotion methods through print and website media.


Duration:  100 hours


Publishing is a fast paced and constantly evolving business. New technology is introduced constantly, changing the processes and products used in the industry at an extraordinary rate. There are many facets to the publishing industry and the terminology used varies accordingly; a project editor for example at a book publisher may be called the managing editor at a magazine or web site. The most important issue, however, is that the client and the publisher interprets the client’s instructions correctly and that they are implemented in the way the client would expect.

Following is a description of the production process for a non-fiction book. Newspaper or magazine publishers would use a slightly different process.

1. The Development Stage

The editor works with the writer in developing a concept into a manuscript. This may include writing a proposal, and sometimes also an outline followed by several drafts. At this stage the manuscript will include specified photographs and artwork. For complex subject matter an expert (for the particular subject) or technical editor may also be involved. Co-authors, and a design artist may also be involved at this stage.

2. Manuscript Preparation and Design

With the advent of modern technology authors now submit manuscripts on disk. A typesetter is therefore no longer required to re-type the manuscript. This means that there should fewer typing mistakes; however it is still the function of the copy editor to ensure that errors are not overlooked.

The manuscript is prepared for production by several editors under the direction of the production editor or a copy editor in a newspaper. The production editor works to ensure that production costs are kept down by eliminating as many problems as possible at this stage as later in the process changes to text and graphics becomes very costly.

The work is checked for accuracy and consistency in style as it is passed on to each editor (see following section ‘The Editing Process’). Modern publishers, using the latest technology, speed up the editing process by performing this function on screen. The designer works in collaboration with the production or technical editor and bases the design of the manuscript on art specifications and small parts of the manuscript that best represent the whole. The manuscript is coded for typesetting or formatting by the designer before being passed on to the production team.

3. Production

Once the manuscript has been planned, the production editor ensures that the plans introduced at the design and preparation stage are correctly implemented. Now that the document has been formatted for production the proof reader checks it against the manuscript to ensure accuracy and adds any corrections required. The corrections are made by the relevant person i.e. the typesetter, illustrator or printer. Several proof readers may be used to ensure accuracy at each stage.

Much of the work needed to create bibliographies, contents pages, formatting and indexing, is now done with specialised software. This can help to speed up the production process. At the completion of this process the manuscript is ready to print.