Course Outline
– themes and modules –

Course Objective

To introduce participants to both the creative and publishing aspects of the writing and literary process. Emphasising and highlighting the important connection, what we would regard as the inseparability of the two. We examine writing and publishing both on their own terms, as separate disciplines and pursuits, as well as in their relationship to one another. We regard both as aspects of the same continuum, whose purpose is to connect authors with their readership. The main challenge facing authors, writers, independent publishers today, is to have a knowledge and command of the entire writing and publishing process, not just certain aspects of it.

Course Modules

1. Why Do We Write?

An important but not always an easy question to answer. We offer no 'correct' solution either. Rather, we suggest reasons why people may take up the pursuit of writing. More importantly, we offer motivation, guidance and advice to follow through on it. For some people, writing may be a natural expression, something that arises spontaneously. Others have to work on the craft. Irrespective of which category you feel you belong to (and most writers fall within both categories, albeit at different times), understanding the different motivations that inspire people to write, will help in unlocking your potential as a writer.

2. Creative Writing

It is not enough to know how to write if you want to get published (successfully). It is largely a matter of knowing how to write for a target audience. Who is going to want to read your work and why? What makes you, the author, uniquely qualified to narrate the story or account? We look at the discipline of writing: how to write, where you may find subjects to write about, developing your ideas to create something tangible, choosing a form, structuring a narrative, following through with a story that delivers, where to get help. We explore these challenges as they apply across all genres and styles - fiction, non-fiction, poetry, drama, storytelling, journalism, marketing, PR, advertising and copywriting, etc.

3. Presentation and Design Tips

We look at how to hone and develop your style of writing, in a manner that exercises and releases your creative talents. We also look at how to present that work so that it is accessible to the readership you are seeking. The topics covered in this module will have a bearing for authors considering both the traditional and self-publishing routes. We explore the principles of presentation and design across different media, examining also, the tools of the trade in the form of computer programmes and software.

4. Writing as a Career

Whether you write professionally, or as a hobby, it is always gratifying to receive acknowledgement and consideration for the work that you have done. But how do you persuade people to pay you for your efforts and hard work? How do you make a career for yourself in writing and publishing, that can sustain a livelihood, or even a partial one? We weigh the options available to authors and writers in this regard: approaching publishing houses; getting your foot in the door; when to consider self-publishing, etc. Other avenues include journalism, freelance writing, ghostwriting, copywriting and editing, professional blogging, web publishing as a commercial activity. We focus in particular on what differentiates professional writing from the hobbyist form; what motivates and drives the professional writer?

5. Overview of the Publishing Process

From this, you will gain an overview of publishing and the stages involved - manuscript preparation, printing, e-books and e-publishing, sales, marketing, promotion, etc. We compare different business models for publishing, which are usually considered in terms of the traditional (publishing house) route and the self-publishing approach. We explore both the similarities and the differences between the two: the features that are common to both and the points where paths diverge. We also consider the implications of e-publishing for publishing generally - both traditional and self-published.

6. Self-Publishing

By no means a recent development in publishing terms, it has acquired new significance and impetus in the digital era. We look at the challenges and opportunities that are presented to authors and writers, willing to try their luck as independent publishers. We look at the various stages of getting your book ready for public consumption. Whether to choose the printed or non-printed route, or both? The pros and cons of Doing-It-Yourself versus the Paid Professional approach. We explore the question of 'vanity publishing' and debunk some of the myths that are associated and perpetuated. We see Self-Publishing as being primarily a matter of retaining ownership and control, while minimising exposure and risk.

7. E-Publishing and the Rise of the E-Book

It has resulted in the biggest shake-up of the publishing world in generations. It has done this by making publishing immensely attractive and viable to authors and writers of all backgrounds, genres, specialisms and talents. It also puts the author in control. That which was previously unattainable, is now quite within the grasp of the author who is willing to invest the time, patience, effort. Money too can aid your efforts but only if it is spent right. But how much about the e-book phenomenon do we really understand? What are the long-terms implications for publishing? What is different about e-publishing over the traditional printed form? How should authors and writers adapt to survive the changes? Most importantly, we tell you how to get started.

8. Building and Managing your Web Presence

The worldwide web is an immensely valuable resource for published writers, for authors considering self-publishing, even for hobbyists looking for an outlet for their creative talents. We examine the web as a platform that allows writers to market, sell and promote their work; also, to share and interact with literary and other communities who inhabit your chosen genre or niche. We consider all of the advantages of this vast global platform and the techniques involved, that will help you to build and manage your web presence - professionally, affordably, effectively.

Enquiries/Further information:

We welcome all interested enquiries from individuals and groups. Please contact us by phone or by e-mail.
Phone: 01 8569566 or 087 7604547
Course Director: Oscar Duggan