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Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment

Online Course Publishing

Study Publishing via Distance Learning

  • Learn more about the business side of the publishing industry.
  • Learn about publishing books, journals, newspapers and much more.
  • Study in the comfort of your own home with help from our highly experienced tutors.

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Publishing Online Course

Every publisher will answer the same question, but in a different way: 

 “What to publish?

Some establish a limited repertoire of publication activities, focusing on academic books, novels, westerns, romance novels, text and educational books, informative or self-help books or material on specific topics such as health and wellbeing, ostrich farming etc., fashion or gardening magazines, music scores etc.

Other publishers will engage in a wider range of activities, publishing books, journals, monographs and newspapers in their different branches. The nature of the publishing enterprise will determine what kinds of texts they will publish, and how they choose which texts to publish.

All publishers share one thing in common though: that being their primary concern is to maintain a viable business operation.  This course focuses on the Business side of publishing.

Publishing enterprises include small book publishers and large publishing houses, magazine publishers, desktop publishers, e-zine publishers, self-publishing enterprises, and non-profit organisations involved in publishing, such as universities, galleries, professional bodies, community groups. 

All of these publishers follow a similar 6 step cycle in producing their work:

  1. Writing or commissioning the document (for commissioned works); accepting a manuscript for publication
  2. Editing and proofreading
  3. Designing the document and preparing artwork
  4. Typesetting
  5. Printing
  6. Marketing and distributing the publication.

While a production manager generally oversees this production process, a publisher will oversee that person and others controlling the spending and ensuring each project remains viable.

This course will help you understand these and other business requirements and practices in the publishing industry. 



There are seven lessons in this module/course as follows:

1.   What to publish?

  • Nature of publishing enterprises
  • Deciding what to publish
  • Commissioned work
  • Uncommissioned manuscripts and proposals
  • Factors influencing the decision of what to publish: Genre or type of writing, News value, 
  • Storyline, Cost and profit potential, perceived need
  • Guidelines for writers

2.   Planning a New Publication

  • The publication plan
  • Publication process
  • Editing and proofreading
  • Designing the document and preparing the art work
  • Typesetting, printing, desktop publishing

3.   Costing a New Publication

  • Cost components: Staff, Production resources, printing, quantity, distribution, etc
  • Why some publications fail
  • Sponsorship
  • Creation costs
  • Production costs
  • Marketing costs
  • Distribution costs
  • How royalties work
  • Income sources
  • How to prepare a budget
  • Collecting from debtors
  • Cash budgets and decision making

4.   Resource Management

  • Managing publishing
  • Nature of management
  • Different resources for different publishers
  • Printing: print run, binding, cover, paper, etc
  • Analyzing the market
  • Developing procedures
  • Developing a business plan

5.   Risk Management

  • Legal risks
  • Financial risks
  • Sources of finance
  • Health issues and risks
  • Duty of care
  • Safety audits
  • Managing risks

6.   Managing Writers

  • Scope and nature: publishers, writers and illustrators
  • Support role of literary agents
  • Support role of publishing staff
  • Photo libraries
  • Copyright free material
  • Benefits an author gets from a book
  • Style: variations, page set up, formatting etc
  • Guide to good writing

7.   Managing Production and Distribution

  • Timing production and distribution
  • Quality control during production
  • Quality control during distribution
  • Marketing and distributing a publication
  • Sales procedure
  • Managing the marketing process: step by step
  • Merchandising
  • Publicity and public relations
  • Managing distribution
  • Distribution channels: retail sales, direct sales
  • Physical transportation and stock control
  • Remaindering stock


DURATION    100 hours


Some of the activities you will be required to do in this course are: 

  • Research the kinds and styles of works produced by three different book publishers;
  • List market research strategies that a publisher might use to decide which proposal to develop;
  • Research the percentage of publication given to advertising and graphics in three e-zines or books;
  • List the information that a publisher might want to research before either (i) commissioning a new children’s book (choose the topic), or (ii) starting up a new magazine aimed at 8-12 year old children
  • Investigate the costs involved in cash and/or in resources in producing a particular publication
  • Write up a budget for the publishing of one issue of a local newsletter in two colours
  • Identify factors that contribute the very different retail prices of books and magazines
  • Prepare a draft business plan for a publishing business of your choice.
  • Investigate insurance policies that would be relevant to the publishing industry
  • Define publishers’ responsibility in regards to copyright
  • Explain how a publisher would find a freelance writer and the process for contracting them
  • Briefly explain the importance of a photo library.
  • Track the process of a best seller and collect information on the marketing/advertising/selling process
  • Write different procedures which would be relevant to management of the production and distribution of a new e-zine, new magazine or new industry newsletter.

What Resources are Needed to be a Publisher

The good news is that almost anyone can be a publisher today, at least on the internet. If you are prepared to work hard, and multi task; it is much less costly to get a start, than what it was in the past. Here is some of what might be needed though:


What staff will be required during the production stages?

  • specialist writers
  • editors and proofreaders
  • photographers, illustrators, graphic designers, desktop publishers
  • web designers
  • admin staff

Production Resources

What specialised equipment is required?

  • technical equipment – computers, printers
  • access to photo libraries and research facilities


  • Will offshore or local printers be used? Offshore may be less expensive but will take longer and incur higher freight costs.
  • Is colour printing required?

Marketing and distribution

  • warehouse or storage facilities
  • distribution channels
  • retail outlets


If the publication is a book, newspaper, magazine, journal or other printed matter, also consider the materials required:

  • What paper will be used?
  • What cover is suitable (soft or hard)?
  • How will it be bound?


Market research is essential to making accurate or reasonable predictions:

  • What is the number of likely readers?
  • What is the proposed circulation?


Distribution involves the method and points of distribution, and the quantities to be distributed:

  • Will the publication be sold or free?
  • Will it be distributed through one-off sales or subscription, or supplied with something else, such as a society membership?
  • Would it be better to use single or multiple distribution points?







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Meet some of our academics

Alison Pearce (general)P.G.Cert. Ed., M.Ecotourism, S.Sc. (Hons). Alison has held many positions including: University Lecturer, Writer, Quality Assurance Manager, Research Technician, Vet Nurse and stockwoman. Over 30 years industry experience, mostly in Australia and the UK.. Alison originally graduated with an honors degree in science from university and beyond that has completed post graduate qualifications in education and eco-tourism. She has managed veterinary operating theatre, responsible for animal anaesthesia, instrument preparation, and assistance with surgical techniques and procedures.
Dr. Gareth PearceGraduated from the University of Nottingham in 1982 with a B.Sc.(Hons) in Animal Science. Between 82 and 85 worked as Research Assistant and Demonstator in Animal Science at the University of Leeds. Over more than 30 years he has furthered his studies, obtaining eight significant university qualifications including degrees in Veterinary Science, Wildlife Conservation and Animal Behaviour. Gareth has significant teaching experience around the world as a faculty member at eight different universities including Associate Professor at Murdoch University and Director of Studies in Veterinary Science at Cambridge University. He has over 100 prestigious research papers published, and enjoys an outstanding international reputation in the fields of animal and veterinary science.
Jade SciasciaBiologist, Business Coordinator, Government Environmental Dept, Secondary School teacher (Biology); Recruitment Consultant, Senior Supervisor in Youth Welfare, Horse Riding Instructor (part-completed) and Boarding Kennel Manager. Jade has a B.Sc.Biol, Dip.Professional Education, Cert IV TESOL, Cert Food Hygiene.
Tracey Jones (writing)Tracey has enjoyed creative writing since she was a child. She has had several short stories published and a novella. She is also a keen writer of children's stories and poetry. She has also written many academic and non-fiction books in the fields of psychology, sociology, child development, writing and marketing.

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