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Learn how the publishing industry works

  • A solid introduction to the publishing industry.
  • Learn about desktop publishing, illustration, publishing procedures and techniques, marketing in publishing, editing and law in publishing.
  • Start a business, advance your career.
  • Course Duration: 100 hours of self paced study.  Study where and when you want.

You will learn about how the industry works, learn the creative and artistic skills of the trade, learn how to market your work and develop an understanding of the ethical issues and laws relating to the field.  You will also have a chance to undertake a stimulating publishing project and implement the skills you have learned.



1. The Publishing World
Learn about publishing with ACS Distance EducationNature & scope of publishing, types of publishers, how books are published, market research

2. Publishing Procedures & Techniques
Colour or black & white; film or digital imaging, types of printing, alternative ways of doing layout (eg. typesetting, paste up, electronic layout with Adobe products or MS publisher), comparing types of digital graphic files, printing costs, etc.

3. Desktop Publishing
Word Processing, Alternative publishing methods: Printing on a Computer Printer; Supplying a "Master" to a commercial printer, or plublishing electronically (eg. Internet or CD)

4. Desktop Publishing
Software options, use of colour, black and white, use of graphics, putting it together, etc.

5. Illustration: Graphics
Line illustrations, cartoons, photos etc. Freehand work, Computer graphics, etc.

6. Illustration: Photography
Photographic Equipment & Materials; Composition; Development of Photographic Style Portraiture, Posing for Photographs, Planning a Photo Session, Studio Photography, Fault Finding, etc.

7. Researching
Types of Research (Exploratory, Experimental etc), Primary & Secondary Data sources, Planning a survey, Conducting an interview.

8. Marketing in Publishing
Understanding marketing & publicity –what makes a publication succeed or fail, launches, press releases, etc.

9. Publishing: Ethics & The Law
Public attitudes, accuracy of writing, bias, monopolies, media ownership concerns, etc.

10. Publishing Project
Your opportunity to actually publish something.

  • Define the scope and nature of publishing today.
  • Describe some of the processes that are commonly used to perform work tasks in the publishing industry.
  • Identify a viable process to follow for desktop publishing of a small publication for printing on paper.
  • Identify a viable process to follow for desktop publishing of a small publication in an electronic format (eg. E book or web site).
  • Evaluate different types of illustration for ease and relevance for use in different publishing situations.
  • Determine photography appropriate for inclusion in a publication.
  • Determine research required appropriate to the needs of a publication.
  • Determine a marketing strategy appropriate to the needs of a publication.
  • Identify the impact of legal and ethical issues on a publisher.
  • Plan the production and marketing of a publication. 


Finding and Managing Intellectual Property
Publishers need things to publish - writing and illustrations.

It is easy to find people who want things published; but it another matter to find things that are worth publishing, will make you a profit, and which you can get rights to publish, at a reasonable cost.

Publishers will sometimes only pay the writer or illustrator, after the work has been published and sales have been made. Sometimes writers will write for free; just for the honor of being published. If you want the best work from the best illustrators and writers though; you will need to pay, and you may need to pay a premium price, before publication.

Writers and illustrators might not be very good business people, though of course there are exceptions. Even those that have good business skills might not achieve the same quality of work if they are preoccupied with the business aspects of publishing, and are unable to focus on their work. Therefore, publishers and agents can be very helpful to writers and illustrators by taking over routine business and organisational tasks, freeing up writers to concentrate on producing better work.

Writers and Illustrators can be Sensitive Types
Writers and illustrators are often creative people, with fragile sensitivities about their work. Writing, drawing, and taking photographs are artistic activities to a greater or lesser degree, and to do these things well requires not only talent but excellent communication skills and focus on the part of the person who is creating content for a publication. When the “creator” is upset, their focus and creativity can be easily disturbed, and as a result the content of a publication can suffer.

A publisher or agent needs to be acutely aware of these sensitivities. By looking after their authors and illustrators, they can contribute significantly to the final outcome.

Literary Agents
A literary agent works for the writer not the publisher. The literary agent’s job is to negotiate with publishers for the best deal for the author’s manuscript. Payment is by taking a percentage of the writer’s royalties.

Most literary agents are reputable, but some are not. New writers should be aware that many vanity publishers offer an ‘agency service’, which not only charge fees for ‘manuscript assessment’, but also for associated services such as resume preparation and website listing. Such services tend to be expensive and are highly unlikely to lead to publishing success.

A good literary agent can save a writer much of the difficult work associated in dealing with publishers but, in reality, a new author rarely can afford that type of service.

Many literary agents specialise in publishing genres, for example, children’s literature or crime writing, so writers should target their agent accordingly. Listings of literary agents can be found on the Internet.

Similar to many publishers, literary agents do not automatically accept unsolicited manuscripts from unpublished writers. Most agents receive too many requests to be able to take on every prospective author. Instead, agents recommend that new authors first take their completed manuscript to a reputable ‘manuscript assessment agency’. The author pays the agency to review the manuscript; a favourable report from the agency might then lead to a literary agent agreeing to represent the author.

From the publisher’s point of view; a well-connected literary agent can find the publisher the type of writer they seek, and may save them the trouble of needing to search for someone they are having trouble finding.

The Support Role of the Publishing Staff
The publisher and the publisher’s staff:

  • review and evaluate manuscripts that are suitable for publication;
  • organise the production of the publication;
  • organise the promotion and sale of the publication.

Nearly all publishers pay the entire costs of production.
Some publishers, usually smaller publishers or those producing specialist or technical works, may require the author to provide reproduction-quality photos and illustrations (and to pay for the costs involved in producing the photos and illustrations). All other costs, including editing, proofreading, typesetting, design and printing/publication online are borne by the publisher.

A few publishers, commonly termed ‘vanity publishers’, require the author to pay some or all of the production and marketing expenses. Some vanity publishers offer a professional, competent and worthwhile service for authors who are keen to see their work published and are prepared to pay the entire costs of production. Family histories, memoirs, poetry, and other non-commercial writing are often published in this way.






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Start a career in publishing!

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to work in a more creative industry? Well wonder no more. 


  • How the industry works
  • The creative and artistic skills of the trade
  • How to market your work
  • Develop an understanding of the ethical issues and laws relating to the field. 

You will also have a chance to undertake a stimulating publishing project and implement the skills you have learned.

This course provides an excellent start for anyone considering self publishing or seeking employment in publishing. It is equally relevant to electronic or print publishing.

Meet some of our academics

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.
Maggi BrownMaggi is regarded as an expert in organic growing throughout the UK, having worked for two decades as Education Officer at the world renowned Henry Doubleday Research Association. She has been active in education, environmental management and horticulture across the UK for more than three decades. Some of Maggi's qualifications include RHS Cert. Hort. Cert. Ed. Member RHS Life Member Garden Organic (HDRA) .
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.

Check out our eBooks

How to be a Successful EditorThere are plenty of books that show you the processes involved in editing; but knowing the process is in itself not enough to be a successful editor. This book not only covers aspects of the process; but it also goes beyond the process; showing you things that may help you to become better than the “average” editor.
English GrammarThe English Grammar ebook can be a great reference for students, people who are learning English and anybody who writes anything- ever. The English Grammar ebook takes grammar back to basics to help confirm correct use of grammar. Topics that are covered within this course include 1/ Introduction- the components of language, 2/ Types of words, 3/ Punctuation, 4/ Upper and lower case, abbreviations, numbers, bullet points and 5/ Using words together.
Professional WritingProfessional writing is any writing that you are being paid for. It can include fiction writing, a best-selling book, articles in a magazine, articles in a newspaper, blogs for companies, technical manuals or procedure manuals, copy for catalogues, newsletters, text books and other academic material and so on.
Creative WritingThe Creative Writing ebook can be useful for writing students or even professional writers to help improve their writing techniques and skills. The Creative Writing ebook is a fabulous starting point for budding writers. The topics that are covered within this book are an introduction to creative writing, Methodology and technique- the building blocks of writing, Genres, Creative non-fiction, creative writing techniques, developing your skill, building your career and a Glossary.