Undergraduate prospectus

Course Information

Contemporary Publishing

Module summary

Module code: PUBL1006
Level: 6
Credits: 30
School: Liberal Arts and Sciences
Department: Humanities and Social Sciences
Module Coordinator(s): Alexander Pheby

Specification

Aims

To provide an introduction to the contemporary UK publishing industry, the processes behind the publication of a book, and practical experience of creating a commercially available title. Students will learn about the structure and economics of the British book industry, the principles of text and jacket design, the processes of selection for publication, copyediting and proofreading skills, and engage with the necessities of running a marketing and publicity campaign, including writing blurbs and press releases. In preparation for the production of an anthology of student work, the course will deal with financing, book storage and distribution and copyright law.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this course a student will be able to:

1: Critically reflect on the historical development of publishing as an industry and its cultural and commercial relevance.
2: Understand the practical processes by which books come to produced and sold.
3: Analyse the commercial and operational context in which publishers operate.
4: Examine the impact of the legal environment in which publishing operates.
5: Critically assess the links between theory and practice in book production and sales.

Indicative content

Classes will cover:
Elements of cover and text design.
Management of a publication, flowcharts and finance.

Editorial policy.
The commercial organisation of contemporary publishing.
The internal structures of publishing companies.
The book market in the UK.
Distribution and bookselling.
Students will also examine the notions of editorship and what constitutes an editorial policy.
Contracts and Intellectual Property Rights.
Structural editing and copyediting.
Proofreading.
Marketing and publicity strategy.
Distribution.

Teaching and learning activity

The course will be taught through a mixture of lectures, seminars and practical workshops. Lectures will cover the theory and practice of contemporary publishing, seminars will train students in the nuts and bolts of book production, and practical workshops will lead the students through the process of producing the annual anthology of student work and establishing effective marketing and publicity strategies. The course will be run in conjunction with Galley Beggar Press, and the directors Sam Jordison and Eloise Millar will work with the students to select, edit and produce the anthology for production and then launch the publication at the annual Greenwich Book Festival. By collaborating with practitioners in the book industry, getting an insider understanding of publishing, and working towards the production of an actual book, students will gain invaluable knowledge and experience of real world publishing. Each student will be given a specific role in the production of the anthology and assessment will focus on the fulfilment of that role and on the lessons learned as they relate to contemporary publishing in the wider literary world.

Assessment

Methods of SUMMATIVE Assessment: Participation in anthology production
Outcome(s) assessed by summative assessment
(Please use the numbers above to refer to these): 1,2,3,4, 5
Grading Mode: Numeric
Weighting: 20%
Pass Mark: 40%
Outline Details: Assessment of contribution towards the production of the anthology.

Methods of SUMMATIVE Assessment: Role Report
Outcome(s) assessed by summative assessment
(Please use the numbers above to refer to these): 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Grading Mode: Numeric
Weighting: 40%
Pass Mark: 40%
Word Length: 4000
Outline Details: Report on the work done toward the production of the anthology.

Methods of SUMMATIVE Assessment: Critical Essay on Contemporary Publishing.
Outcome(s) assessed by summative assessment
(Please use the numbers above to refer to these): 1, 2,3, 4, 5
Grading Mode: Numeric
Weighting: 40%
Pass Mark: 40%
Word Length: 4000
Outline Details: A critical essay on an aspect of contemporary publishing.

Nature of FORMATIVE assessment supporting student learning:
Ensuring engagement in the practical aspects of the course.
Reflection on learning outcomes.
Reflection on critical aspects of course.