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What to Expect

Publishing is a broad field, so students should be ready to cover a lot of ground. Programs can include everything from writing and editing, to design and production, to the business end of things. That includes marketing, promotion, finance, information technology, management and law.

Katie Teed is a publishing student. She's taking a two-year program condensed into an intensive 12 months. She already has a bachelor of commerce degree with a major in marketing informatics and a few years of industry experience under her belt.

"I love working in the industry and wanted to go back to school to round out my skill set to include creative skills such as graphic design and writing," says Teed. She hopes to be able to open her own creative studio one day. She's glad she's getting a good understanding of all of the different areas that make up the publishing industry.

"I find this very helpful because no matter what part of the industry you end up working in, you will be working with designers, writers, production artists, business people and everyone else in between," she says.

Michael Gawley works for a publishing company and recently finished a post-graduate program at the University of Denver's Publishing Institute. It's a full-time course that takes four weeks to complete.

"Not only does the program stress networking and personal skills as a way to further your career in publishing, but the social relationships forged during the course have remained surprisingly strong," says Gawley.

The program gave him the opportunity to ask questions to experts from different areas of publishing and from every corner of the country. He describes it as "a book lover's dream come true." The tough part was realizing that publishing is a business -- not just cocktail parties with intellectuals.

"Just like any other industry, book publishing's primary goal is to generate revenue and turn a profit. This concept can be quite devastating to a group of (mostly) English majors," he says, adding that the program prepares grads for what to expect in the industry.

Most students spend two or three hours a night working on various projects. Homework could include preparing sample marketing plans or editing assignments.

"The program is by no means easy, but the work is fun and the faculty is amazing," says Gawley.

Books are the main expense for publishing students. Teed pays extra for art equipment and a website address.

How to Prepare

Teed says that art, design, photography, business-related or computer courses will be helpful for students who want to get into publishing.

Gawley urges student to start a romance. With the English language, that is.

"It seems terribly obvious, but the best way to prepare for a life in publishing is to nurture a simple, unconditional love for the printed word," says Gawley. "Whether it's writing an essay for Psychology 101 or editing a club newsletter, having an active relationship with language is a necessity for a career in publishing, even if you're not an editor."


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