module specification

SJ7110 - Routes into Publishing (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Routes into Publishing
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 20
School The Sir John Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design (The Cass)
Total study hours 200
164 hours Guided independent study
36 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Oral Examination 25%   10 minute oral presentation on a select aspect of the publishing industry
Coursework 75%   4000 word essay
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Spring semester North Tuesday Afternoon

Module summary

In this module, students will become familiar with the major forms, formats, platforms and processes of publishing and dissemination of writing in a range of genres and media. Students will learn about contemporary UK and international publishing markets, identify key factors guiding the industry and find ways to place their writing within it.  Given London’s location as the hub of UK publishing as well as its location as a key node for the multi-directional, global flow of literature, the module will help students understand the range of challenges, opportunities and innovations in the sector. Students will research and discuss technical, legal, and cultural aspects of publishing a range of long and short form fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction, digital texts and other materials. Students may choose to focus on an area of their choosing, including performance texts as well as digital and multimedia formats, and digital self-publishing.

The module will focus on practical issues of publishing including submissions, queries, elevator pitches, and book proposals, providing students with an understanding of the wide spectrum of publishing activities and markets. Students will research and discuss historical developments of publishing and dissemination processes, familiarise themselves with contemporary technical, cultural, and economic innovations in the field and learn to situate their own creative practice in context of contemporary globalised publishing industry. The module will also develop transferable skills emphasising research, editing and marketing in contemporary globalised publishing industry. 

The module is taught in weekly sessions over a period of 12 weeks and assessed via students’ contribution to seminars and workshop and a final submission. Students who enter the programme with a chosen specialisation may submit work for peer and tutor feedback to help further develop their expertise. Students who do not have a preferred form would be asked to choose a preferred area of interest as focus for the final assessment. Students may also choose to focus on specific aspects of the publishing industry with a view towards employment.

The weekly sessions will also cover aspects of professional opportunities in writing and publishing, including grants, residencies, and internships. Students will be encouraged and guided to engage with the full range of publishing activities including the London Book Fair, local literary festivals, as well as author and publishing events. The module will also facilitate student interaction with the industry including, and not limited to, guest speakers drawn from the industry.

For the first assessment, students will orally present their research on the chosen area of interest (25%). The final coursework will comprise of 4000 words essay (75%) on their chosen aspect of the industry (Students may also choose to develop other forms of professional documentation including a book proposal, film pitches or print/digital magazine proposals, or other professionally relevant material agreed upon with the tutor).

Module aims

In this module, students will:

  • research and understand conventional, digital and multi-media publishing processes, practices and industry structures, in UK and abroad
  • understand of the challenges posed by lack of diversity in UK publishing as well as the full range of industry-specific innovations intended to address this, including aspects of publishing including commissioning, editing and marketing,  reviewing, grants, prizes, as well as equality initiatives for employment in the sector
  • develop a professional and international approach to publishing a range of genres with regard to potential audiences, commissioning editors, markets, publication, digital opportunities and how to access them
  • develop a range of professional and specific writing skills required by the industry in the full range of activities including but not limited to query and submission letters, elevators pitches and book proposals
  • research and develop an understanding of the range of global publishing including digital publishing and translations, and digital self-publishing
  • develop an informed sense of UK and global cultural, social, economic and creative contexts for disseminating and publishing writing in different genres and media, including poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction and scripts


This module will run as a three hour combination of lectures, seminars and workshops. Students will be introduced to traditional and contemporary forms of publishing as well as an understanding of how the processes and industry are evolving through lectures, discussions and guided reading.  Students will research the markets and publishing outlets and reflect on their possibilities of engagement with them in a range of ways. Attention will be paid to different markets and outlets for a range of creative writing including poetry, creative nonfiction and fiction, as well as digital and multimedia publishing. Aspects of professional engagement with the industry as well as legal issues in publishing will also be considered in the module. In addition, student will be expected to research, discuss and present their own plans for publication or future professional engagement with the industry.  Specific practical guidance will also be provided including researching and identifying markets and market trends, writing submission and query letters, and developing book proposals and pitches for other forms of writing.

Some sessions will be dedicated to developing a wider understanding of the publishing industry and explore the writer’s location in this interaction. Students will also be encouraged to consider formal and informal marketing strategies for their work, both to the industry and beyond. Students’ engagement with contemporary publishing will be enhanced by sessions on the ‘author as a brand’ and social media marketing tips.

The module will address the notion of “research” in the broadest sense, harnessed in the interest of creating plausible and influential contexts for themes, events and relationships. Students will be able to become more conscious about the choices they make in creating their own literary worlds, the ramifications of these choices as regards publishing as well as a wider discussion of a variety of ethical and representational issues.

Learning and teaching

This module will be taught by a programme of weekly sessions over eleven weeks. The sessions will combine workshops, writing practice, seminar discussion, and research tasks. Students will reflect critically on their learning and on their personal creative practice, through peer and tutor feedback, workshops, and tutorials.  The module will involve a good amount of guided self-analysis that takes account of personal, academic and practical skills and professional profile development. The module will incorporate guest speakers when appropriate and may include guided visits to literary festivals, book fairs, and author and publisher events. Independent learning will include guided reading, weekly research and writing tasks, set texts and preparation for seminars. Students will be encouraged to carry out independent research and incorporate it critically into their coursework.

A blended learning strategy will be employed to enhance the learning experience, facilitate communication between students and tutors and develop collaboration among students. The Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) will be used as a platform to support online activities including on-line discussion, role-play, blog writing, evaluation of online resources, access to electronic reading packs, viewing and reviewing of online video/film/audio, access to online media databases etc. It will also be used to facilitate formative assessment and related feedback, and as a tool to integrate useful online learning materials provided by research institutions, academic publications, professional organisations and other relevant sources.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  • research and analyze contemporary UK and global publishing, in terms of terms of historical trends, challenges, interests and participants
  • develop a theoretical and practical understanding of the publishing industry in the UK, including the challenges posed by technology, economic shifts and transformations in demographics
  • identify the range of publishing venues and outlets for writing in a range of genres as well as critically appraise their suitability
  • incorporate research and knowledge of the industry in writing practices
  • enhance their professional skills for submission of creative writing to appropriate outlets
  • examine and appraise current and future trends impacting the publishing industry in order to engage constructively with the full range of professional activities
  • demonstrate transferable skills required to pursue a professional engagement with the publishing industry at UK and international levels
  • learn independently for the purposes of continuing professional development.

Assessment strategy

  • Formative assessment will comprise weekly oral and written exercises demonstrating research, contribution to seminars and discussions as well as one oral presentation.
  • Summative assessment will comprise of a final written presentation demonstrating knowledge and understanding of contemporary publishing
    4000 word essay on select aspect of industry, or a book proposal/film pitch/ print/digital magazine proposal/another professionally relevant document agreed upon with the tutor


Indicative Bibliography:

Baverstock, A., Bowen, S. and Carey, S. ( 2008) How to Get a Job in Publishing: A Really Practical Guide to Careers in Books and Magazines, London: A&C Black
Bingham, H. (2010) The Writers' and Artists' Yearbook Guide to Getting Published,  London: A&C Black
Clark, G. and Phillips, A. (2014) Inside Book Publishing, London: Routledge
Directory of Publishing: United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland (2014), London: Continuum
Epstein, J. ( 2002) Book Business Publishing: Past, Present and Future, New York: W.W. Norton
Galton, D. (2008) How to write and sell short stories. Abercynon: Accent
Get Published: A First Time Writer’s Guide to Publishing (2011), Oxford: Infinite Ideas
Germano, W. (2016) Getting it Published: A Guide for Scholars and Anyone Else Serious About Serious Books, Chicago: University of Chicago Press
Goatly, A. and Hiradhar, P. (2016) Critical Reading and Writing in a Digital Age: An Introductory Coursebook. London: Routledge
Greco, A.N., Rodriguez, C.E. and Wharton, R.M. (2006) The Culture and Commerce of Publishing in the 21st Century, Stanford: Stanford University Press
Herman, J. and Herman, D. (2001) Write the Perfect Book Proposal, New York: John Whiley
Lyon, E. (2003) Nonfiction Book Proposals Anybody Can Write, New York: G.P Putnam's Sons
King, C. (2015) Self-Publishing Boot Camp Guide for Authors: How to Prepare, Publish, Promote and Sell Your Ebooks and Print Books, San Diego: CA: Misadventures Media
Morgan, N. (2011) Write to Be Published, London: Snowbooks
Richardson, P. and Taylor, G. (2008) A Guide to the UK Publishing Industry, London: The Publishers' Association
Smith, K. (2012) The Publishing Business: From P-books to E-books, Lausanne: Ava Publishing
Stam, D. and Scott, A. (2014) Inside Magazine Publishing, London: Routledge
Thompson, J. B. (2013) Merchants of Culture: The Publishing Business in the Twenty-First Century, Cambridge: Policy Press
Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook 2016, London: Yearbooks

Online Resources:
Book Brunch:
Penguin Random House Creative Responsibility Programme:
Royal Literary Fund:
Society of Authors:
Spread the word, Writing the Future: Black and Asian writers and Publishers in the UK Market place:
The Bookseller:
The Royal Society of Literature: