Sample Module: Publishing Basics

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Course overview
A sample module featuring the "Acquisitions" lesson from our Publishing Basics course.

About the course

A high-level introduction to the publishing industry, with a focus on the interrelated workings of its principal parts. This course incorporates live videoconferences with experienced publishing professionals.

You know what writers do, and you know what bookstores do, but what about publishers?
In this course, you will be introduced to the basic business functions of traditional book publishing, and learn how and why publishing works the way it works in the 2020s. Along the way, you will be presented with two main conceptual models of how the book publishing industry works: the “chain” (a model describing the various interrelated functions that link writers, on one end, to readers at the other), and the “portfolio” (a model illustrating the development of multiple different expressions of a single written work/manuscript).

These two models are used to frame a larger exploration of the history and traditional workings of the book publishing industry, which touches on different basic business models in publishing; the crucial role of surfeit in the industry; the market for books, and various book-derived properties; the evolving historical role of the agent; and different ways to understand successful outcomes for book publishers. The module concludes by highlighting some contemporary trends and evolving topics in the industry.

After each module, you’ll meet with experienced publishing professionals in a live videoconference seminar, and be charged with bringing questions and comments to them about the module content. This is a unique opportunity to connect with people facing the challenges and opportunities of book publishing every day.

What our learners say

The Agate internship program was so valuable because it went way beyond training in individual editorial tasks — in addition to those, I gained a deep understanding of the purpose of each role in publishing, and how those roles fit together. Publishing Basics is organized thoughtfully, so that interns leave with practical experience and also a deep understanding of the “why” behind each stage of the publishing process.
Rachel Hinton
senior product developer, McGraw-Hill Education
One of the greatest barriers in publishing is breaking into publishing. Agate Publishing Academy’s Publishing Basics not only provides real-time knowledge and resources for the industry, it also creates a paramount space for learning and connections never afforded before.
Parneshia Jones
director, Northwestern University Press
Agate's 'Publishing Basics' course is exactly the resource I wish I'd had when diving into my first job in publishing. From acquisitions to rights to publicity to financials, this course covers all the bases in a way that not only explains what an individual's position may entail, but also what their colleagues are up to—and how teams work together to produce every book on the list.
Caitlin O’Neil
publicity associate, University of Minnesota Press

Course Lessons

While we strive to ensure accessibility in our online offerings, this course does not entirely conform to the latest accessibility best practices. For more, see our Accessibility Statement.