Publishing III (Non-Fiction Publishing)

Course CodeBWR303
Fee CodeS3
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment


Publishers are continually needing to consider: “What to publish?”  This course focusses on publishing commercial non-fiction.

Some will establish a limited repertoire of publication activities, focusing on:

  • academic books
  • novels e.g. romance, science fiction, horror
  • text and educational books
  • informative or self-help books
  • material on specific topics such as health and wellbeing, ostrich farming etc., fashion or gardening magazines, music scores etc.

Other publishers will engage in a wider range of activities, publishing books, journals, monographs and newspapers in their different branches. The nature of the publishing enterprise will determine what kinds of texts they will publish, and how they choose which texts to publish.

Whilst it can be taken alone, this course is ideally studied as a follow on from Publishing I and Publishing II.


Lesson Structure

There are 7 lessons in this course:

  1. What to publish in commercial non-fiction
    • The difference between non-fiction and commercial non-fiction
    • Using strong voice and narrative
    • Types of non-fiction
    • Non-fiction genres
    • Using reader interest and expectations to help decide what to publish
    • Identifying a perceived need
    • Using cost and profit-making potential to make decisions
  2. Planning a New Publication : Developing a Non-Fiction Book Proposal
    • Why self-publishers need a book proposal
    • Considering the publisher/business perspective
    • What the author wants vs. what the reader wants
    • Questions to ask and answer in the book proposal
    • Starting the publication process
    • Editing and proofreading
    • Typesetting
    • Standard book sizes
  3. Financial Management and Costing a Publication
    • Overview of potential outside services required for self-publishing
    • Print vs eBook
    • Market analysis for publishing in print
    • Competitor analysis
    • Estimating initial print run
    • Creation costs
    • Production costs
    • Marketing costs
    • Distribution costs
    • How royalties work
  4. Managing Resources and Expectations
    • Comparing resources for print vs eBooks
    • Print on demand
    • Just-in-time printing
    • Overview of print expenses
    • Resources required for eBook publishing
    • Analysing the market
    • Developing a business plan
    • Business plan framework
  5. Risk Management
    • Financial Risks
    • Scalability and Risk Management
    • Production
    • Copyright
    • Legal risks
    • Protecting intellectual property, including DRM and IRM
  6. Managing Writers and Illustrators in the Freelance Market
    • Types of freelancers and their services
    • Working with publishers, writers, and illustrators
    • Why authors choose to write
    • Specialist professionals and consultants
  7. Managing Production, Distribution, and Author Promotion
    • Sales agencies, PR, and conferences
    • Establishing an author platform
    • Networking
    • Social media
    • Media releases
    • Timing of production and distribution
    • Quality control
    • Marketing approaches, including total market approach, market segmentation, and developing the marketing mix


  • Discuss the important considerations that affect the decision of what to publish.
  • Describe the process of planning the publication of a non-fiction book.
  • Discuss the financial requirements to produce a new publication.
  • Develop procedures for managing staff, freelancers and other resources in a self-publishing business.
  • Demonstrate insight into the different types of potential risks in a publishing business, including legal and financial risks.
  • Develop an improved capacity to work effectively with colleagues in the publishing industry.
  • Develop procedures for the management of production, and distribution of a publication.

What You Will Do

  • Research the kinds and styles of works produced by three different book publishers;
  • List market research strategies that a publisher might use to decide which proposal to develop;
  • Research the percentage of publication given to advertising and graphics in three e-zines or books;
  • List the information that a publisher might want to research before either (i) commissioning a new children’s book (choose the topic), or (ii) starting up a new magazine aimed at 8-12 year old children
  • Investigate the costs involved in cash and/or in resources in producing a particular publication
  • Write up a budget for the publishing of one issue of a local newsletter in two colours
  • Identify factors that contribute the very different retail prices of books and magazines
  • Prepare a draft business plan for a publishing business of your choice.
  • Investigate insurance policies that would be relevant to the publishing industry
  • Define publishers’ responsibility in regards to copyright
  • Explain how a publisher would find a freelance writer and the process for contracting them
  • Briefly explain the importance of a photo library.
  • Track the process of a best seller and collect information on the marketing/advertising/selling process
  • Write different procedures which would be relevant to management of the production and distribution of a new e-zine, new magazine or new industry newsletter.

Learn the Basics of Print Publishing

The first broad stage of publication is the creation of the material to be published. This involves writing the words and preparing the graphics or artwork, for example, drawing or painting illustrations, taking photos, and preparing maps or tables.

The second stage is compilation or layout. This involves taking the created material, such as a story, drawing or photo, and arranging the material as it will appear when published. This is done using a process such as typesetting or desktop (computer) publishing to create a product that can be easily mass produced. Compilation may result in a high quality single copy either on paper, film or stored electronically on a computer or disk.

The third stage is reproduction. This involves taking the copy and putting it into a form that people can access. The traditional process involved preparing a master copy of the publication as camera ready artwork; plates were then used to create an image to print from (eg. on a printing press). Nowadays, we produce copies of an electronically-stored publication on CD-Rom or load them onto the Internet.

Finally, the printed material is promoted, distributed, and sold…

Nature of Publishing
The nature of publishing has changed dramatically in recent times, and is likely to continue changing. These changes are being brought about by new technology, globalisation and marketplace changes.

Examples of these changes include the following:

  •  People are increasingly using the Internet and cable TV for information
  •  People can find information faster and easier than ever before
  •  People are better educated than in the past
  •  Information can be delivered to larger markets cheaper and more easily
  •  New economies are rapidly developing (for example, in China)
  •  Competition between markets is stronger than ever before.

Implications for the publishing industry may include:

  •  A reduced need to buy printed publications
  •  An increased desire for information
  •  An overall increase in the quantity of material being published
  •  Changed strategies in what is published and how things are published and marketed
  •  An increase in self publishing
  •  Development of publishing monopolies
  •  A greater need than ever before to predict future trends
  •  Changes in how revenue can be generated through advertising

These and other predictions are being made about the future of publishing. The one fact that is certain is that the publishing industry has been, and will continue to undergo rapid change, and that success in publishing in the future will depend upon a publisher’s ability to monitor and rapidly react to change.


There are lots of reasons why you should sign up to do this course with us, including:

  • The course is detailed to ensure that you have the level of knowledge required to apply the practices in your own work, whether that's as a business employee or as a self employed writer/publisher
  • Within each lesson you have the opportunity to apply your learning to activities which enables you to practice different concepts and expand your own research in areas of interest
  • Knowledge of these key areas will enable you to stand out from others when it comes to sharing your work, it will also give you greater confidence
  • Having the knowledge of different publishing approaches will enable you to work in many different sectors and business types, giving you flexibility now and in the future
  • Our subject specialist tutors will be there to support you throughout your course, they are only too happy to share their industry knowledge and experience with you
  • When studying with us you set your own deadlines, meaning you study at your own pace enabling it to fit around other commitments


You can enrol on the course now, but if you have any questions about the content of the course or studying with ACS, then please get in touch with us today - use our FREE COURSE COUNSELLING SERVICE to get in touch with our expert tutors. They will be pleased to help you!


Meet some Of our academics

John Mason

John Mason is one of Australia's most prolific writers. He saw his first work published when at secondary school, where he worked on the school magazine. In 1973 he was writing a weekly column for his local newspaper and by 1975 he was a regular contributor to Australia's national magazine "Your Garden". John was engaged by Victoria's Dept of Youth, Sport and Recreation to write a book on Fun and Fitness Trails in 1978. In 1981 he saw two more books published (one in America, another in Australia), and commenced writing regularly for the Self Sufficiency Magazine, Grass Roots. John is a long term member of the Australian Society of Authors, the Garden Media Guild (UK) and the Horticultural Media Association (Australia). He has written or contributed to over 100 books, many published by international publishers and published more than 2,000 articles across a range of genres (Gardening, Education, Business, Farming, Fitness). In addition, John has contributed to and overseen the development of more than 600 distance education courses which encompass around 20 million words. He has been an avid photographer for 40 years, building a collection of over 100,000 images, which are used to illustrate his work. His marine animal photos are even used by Legoland in England, on their Atlantis ride! Writer, Manager, Teacher and Businessman with over 40 years interenational experience covering Education, Publishing, Leisure Management, Education, and Horticulture. He has extensive experience both as a public servant, and as a small business owner. John is a well respected member of many professional associations, and author of over seventy books and of over two thousand magazine articles.

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