Thursday, July 15, 2010

Back to School?

Many people coming straight out of college think a good way to get into publishing is... more college! There are a few publishing programs around the countries, such as Emerson College in Massachusetts, Pace University in New York, along with CCNY, Columbia University, and NYU, The University of Denver in Colorado, and DePaul University in Chicago. But are they worth the money and time?

I took 3 classes at NYU: The Business of Publishing, Publishing Law, and Copyediting. The first two were incredibly helpful, and the last one made me want to stab myself in the eye with a pencil (I am not meant to be a copyeditor.) But the thing is, I waited until I already had a job in publishing. Most full-time jobs, as a part of their benefits, have a tuition benefit. Which means that your company will pay for part or most of the tuition. Sure, there are rules. You might have to pay up front and get reimbursed. You have to get a certain GPA (not just pass) and you have to have been working at the company for a while before you can take advantage of this benefit, and also continue working there for a certain period after. Of course I think if you can get someone else to pay for classes, that's always your best option.

I knew a couple of editorial assistants who did this full publishing program. For someone with zero contacts, no networking options, who's had no luck with applying for jobs, it can be a way to make contacts in the industry (the New York programs are probably best for this.) It also can get something publishing-related on your résumé, if you are at loose ends how else to do so.

Here's the current NYU class listing for the publishing program:

  • Graphic Print Production

  • Prepress to Binding

  • InDesign I: Foundations

  • From Writer to Reader: An Introduction to Book Publishing

  • Children's Book Publishing

  • Publishing Online: Site Planning and Management

  • Fundamentals of Copyediting Books

  • Freelance Indexing

  • How to Be a Book Editor: An Inside Look at the Editorial Process

  • Grammar Intensive: Mastering Style and Sentence Structure

  • Fundamentals of Proofreading

  • Book Manuscript Editing Workshop

  • Fundamentals of Electronic Copyediting

  • Introduction to Online Media

  • Book Publicity and Promotion

  • Creating Author Platforms

  • Book Marketing Strategies in Print and Online

  • Legal Issues and Book Publishing: Contracts, Content, and Copyright

  • The Business of Book Publishing for the Non-Financial Manager

  • The Role of the Literary Agent in Book Publishing

  • Self-Publishing: How to Create and Sell Your Own Books

  • Freelance Opportunities in Book Publishing

  • Publishing the Graphic Novel

  • Social Media: Strategies for Marketing Success

  • Beyond Google: Research Tools That Deliver

  • Digital Strategies in the Book Industry

  • Promotional Writing That Works:

  • How to Create Great Marketing Copy in Print and Online Blogging Workshop

In my experience, a lot of the information in these classes you learn on the job. For instance, I don't think editing can really be taught. And at a large publishing house, while it's good to work with other departments, I don't know how much an editor needs to know about publicity, and vice versa. (At a small house, it could be much more helpful as there will be more overlap between departments.) I opted to only take the classes I thought would be helpful.

Of course last week we heard from my friend Emily who got a Master's in Publishing, about her experiences with a publishing program. It can certainly be a foot in the door, and a way to get a start in the publishing industry, but it's no guarantee. Both of us think it doesn't exempt anyone from having to do the heavy lifting of job hunting.

1 comment:

B said...

This is helpful. Thanks :)