The Columbia Publishing Course at Oxford, unlike the New York program, concentrates solely on book publishing. Through lectures and small seminars, students study every element of the process: manuscript evaluation, agenting, editing, design, production, publicity, sales, e-books, and marketing. Students also learn about different types of publishing houses, publishing strategies, and career paths.
Students are given assignments such as the reader’s report, which provides an opportunity to practice the fundamentals of manuscript evaluation. Each student reads an unpublished manuscript and writes a brief report recommending whether or not to publish. Once at Oxford, students meet in small seminars with professional editors to discuss their assignments, the editing process, and methods of manuscript evaluation.
But the cornerstone of the Columbia Publishing Course experience is, without question, the hands‐on book workshop. This weeklong exercise is an intensive, collaborative simulation that requires students to apply what they’ve learned in the first two weeks of the course and to interact with editors and agents.
Based on his or her particular area of interest, each student will be assigned to a workshop group and take on specific job responsibilities. Each group will form a hypothetical publishing company and develop six potential titles for publication, determining in the process the company’s editorial mission, evaluating book ideas, and putting together a final prospectus. Teams of carefully selected mentors will work with each group, facilitating discussion and providing guidance and professional advice.
Students will create marketing, publicity, and subsidiary rights plans for each book and present their titles to the class at a simulated rights auction. They will design book jackets, set production specs, and use computer models and industry databases to create financial projections for each title and for the publishing house as a whole.
At the end of the workshop, top publishing leaders will carefully evaluate each group’s proposal, giving constructive criticism and real-world feedback. The book workshop will equip students with the practical knowledge, experience, and confidence needed to help them succeed in their careers.
The Publishing Course allows students to compare career options within book publishing, which helps them determine their professional goals. The course’s emphasis on practical work skills prepares students to take publishing jobs right away, making the course an appealing alternative to much longer, more academically oriented courses of study offered elsewhere.
During the course, every effort will be made to prepare students for entry into the job market. Students will participate in workshops on résumé and cover-letter writing and will meet with the director throughout the program to discuss career plans, interests, and goals. New job listings are posted frequently during the program, throughout that year and in the years ahead.
Upon graduating, students will become part of a global alumni community that stretches throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. The wide‐ranging network of course graduates provides students with access to individual companies and publications as well as information about specific openings and employment opportunities in general.
While students cannot be guaranteed job placement, the Columbia Publishing Course places a very high percentage of its graduates in publishing jobs, offering personalized attention and guidance to those who are eligible to work in the United States or the U.K.