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Editorial Processes and Practices: Creating Products (EASM176)

StaffDr Kate Wallis - Convenor
Credit Value30
ECTS Value15
NQF Level7
Co-requisitesEASM175, EASM177
Duration of Module Term 1: 11 weeks;

Module aims

Through a series of lectures, assigned readings, seminars and practical workshops, this module will build a critical understanding of, alongside the practical skills needed for, the role of an editor in the contemporary publishing industry. Through the processes of creating and editing material for a new publication, you will develop strategies for assessing, project managing and responding to ideas and texts while working closely with authors on submissions. Alongside this the module will introduce you to the broader processes of commissioning and editing new print and digital products moving from understanding the market to contracting authors to building a sustainable list of titles. Across the module you will consider the ways in which editorial practice intervenes in questions of social justice, and develop an approach to editorial processes that is consistently grounded in historical context and critical debates.  Including sessions on editorial finance, proofreading and list building, this module has been designed to develop fundamental skills for working in the publishing sector today.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Demonstrate advanced knowledge of and aptitude in core skills and practices associated with the role of the editor in the contemporary publishing industry
  • 2. Through module work, show critical appreciation of the relation between a text’s editorial production and its status as both a literary and commercial object.
  • 3. Demonstrate a conceptual and strategic understanding of publishing as a dynamic and evolving industry and the impact of this on editorial processes.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 4. Analyse the strategies, inequalities, strengths, and weaknesses of specific publishing initiatives.
  • 5. Demonstrate a sophisticated knowledge of the ways in which the publishing industry embraces complex and interrelated issues of commissioning, production, marketing and distribution.
  • 6. Demonstrate an advanced approach to the study of the publishing industry in terms of the inter-relation of various commercial, technological and aesthetic factors.

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 7. Understand the dynamics of editorial practice and strategy, including principles of editing, and project management.
  • 8. Formulate, evaluate and communicate the potential for new publishing projects.
  • 9. Pitch and present ideas to different audiences using appropriate media.
  • 10. Work critically with texts and writers to enrich and develop work for publication.

Syllabus plan

Although the module’s content might vary from year to year, it will balance practical publishing work with readings on conditions and histories that inform contemporary publishing. The module will consistently cover the following:

  • The role of the editor
  • Reading critically and decision making
  • Creating a strong and equitable publishing list
  • Communicating and building relationships with authors and agents
  • Structural editing, copyediting and proofreading
  • Creating practical editorial documents such as publishing proposals and profit and loss statements
  • Structural inequalities within the publishing industry
  • Digital technologies
  • Readings by practitioners on challenges and opportunities of publishing today.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled teaching and learning22Seminars and workshops
Scheduled teaching and learning11Lectures
Guided independent study60Individual seminar and workshop preparation
Guided independent study67Practical group work
Guided independent study140Research, reading and assignment preparation

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Editorial Costing500 words1-2, 6-9Tutorial follow-up
Audio Pitch for Publishing Proposal1000 words 1-2, 4-9Tutorial follow-up

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Critical Reflection303000 words1-2, 7, 10Feedback sheet with opportunity for tutorial follow-up.
Publishing Proposal and Essay604500 words1-9Feedback sheet with opportunity for tutorial follow-up.
Module Participation10Participation in group and seminar activities1-10Oral

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Critical ReflectionEditing Sample and Critical Reflection1-2, 7, 10Referral / Deferral period
Publishing Proposal and EssayPublishing Proposal and Essay1-9Referral / Deferral period
Module ParticipationRepeat study / mitigation1-10N/A

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 50%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of referral will be capped at 50%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Indicative secondary sources:

  • Bhaskar, Michael. Curation: The Power of Selection in a World of Excess. (2017)
  • Clark, Giles and Angus Phillips. Inside Book Publishing, 6th ed. (2019)
  • Davis, Caroline. Print Cultures: A Reader in Theory and Practice. (2019)
  • Abram Foley. The Editor Function. (2021)
    Einsohn, Amy. The Copyeditor’s Handbook: A Guide for Book Publishing and Corporate Communications, 4th ed. (2019)
  • Ginna, Peter. What Editors Do: The Art, Craft, and Business of Book Editing (2017)
  • Gross, Gerald. C. Editors on Editing: What Writers Need to Know about What Editors Do.
  • Tim Groenland, “Stuff that editors do,” The Art of Editing, pp. 1–9.
  • Alice Grundy.  Editing Fiction: Three Case Studies from Post-War Australia.(2022)
  • Hall, Frania. The Business of Digital Publishing (2013)
  • Konstantino, Lee and Dan Sinykin. ‘Literature and Publishing 1945-2020 American Literary History 33:2 2021 (225-243)
  • New Hart's Rules: The Oxford Style Guide (2014)
  • Nash, A., Squires, C. and Willison, I. (eds.) The Cambridge History of the Book in Britain: Vol 7 The Twentieth Century and Beyond (2019)
  • Murray, Simone. Mixed Media: Feminist Presses and Publishing Politics (2004).
    Norton, Scott. Developmental Editing: A Handbook for Freelancers, Authors, and Publishers (2009)
    Owen, Lynette. Clark’s Publishing Agreements: A Book of Precedents, 10th ed. (2017)
  • Phillips, A. and Bhaskar, M. (eds.). The Oxford Handbook of Publishing (2019)
  • Rajan, Mira T. Sundara. Moral Rights: Principles, Practice and New Technology (2011)
  • Ramdarshan Bold, Melanie. Inclusive Young Adult Fiction: Authors of Colour in the United Kingdom (2019)
  • Sinykin, Dan ‘On Editing’ ASAP/J (December 2022)
  • Smith, Kevin and Ramdarshan Bold. The Publishing Business: A guide to starting out and getting on. (2018)
  • Withers, D.M. Virago Reprints and Modern Classics (2021)

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Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

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Key words search

MA Publishing; Editorial Processes; editing; publishing