Learning all the ropes in 6 weeks, for $6,000, to land a job that will pay $30,000 — maybe?

We speak of course about the long established Columbia Publishing Course, usually held every year in June/July.

It bills itself as shortest graduate school in the country. Basically in 6 weeks, you’ll learn what you would in an entry-level position in publishing. Although, we’re slightly skeptical about that only because the industry changes so fast. Here’s a description of their Book Workshop:

During the book workshop each student group forms a publishing company that develops six potential titles for publication. Students are responsible for determining the company’s editorial mission, evaluating book ideas and manuscripts, and contacting authors and agents. Students create marketing, publicity, and subsidiary rights plans for each book and present their titles to the class at a simulated rights auction. They design book jackets, set production specs, and create financial projections for each title and for the publishing house as a whole.

That’s all very nice, and traditional, but is it really a reflection of current publishing? Only if you work at a large publishing traditional publishing house. And there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s all worth learning. It’s just very lopsided.  It won’t teach you about author tantrums, endless revisions, psycho deadlines, etc, etc, etc.

On the other hand, you will definitely learn something and we do feel that it would take you 10 years to meet all the wonderful people they assemble at this annual event.  If your desire is to become an editor, literary agent, publisher, designer, publicist, etc, this can be a great opportunity well worth the time and money.

If you are considering a career in book, magazine, or digital media publishing, the Columbia Publishing Course will certainly give you a:

  • Broad exposure to current issues in publishing
  • Unparalleled access to top publishing professionals
  • Hands-on publishing experience
  • Comparison of publishing types that informs career decisions
  • Extensive career placement support
  • -Access to a large, active alumni network

If you don’t know what it is, you can read up on it via a recently published NY Times article by Julie Bosman: E-Book Revolution Upends Publishing Course.  It’s really less about ebooks upending things than the fact an eCulture is  basically a culture of piracy but, it does give you a good look at Columbia’s course. Applications are generally accepted between Dec 1 and March 15, so check their site later in the fall for the new posting.

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