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Masterclass: Preparing for Publication (Online)

Course Times & Enrolment

This course is currently unavailable.

Course Summary

‘Preparing for Publication’ is for writers and creative writing students who want to make the leap into publishing their work. It focuses on key skills to give emerging authors the best chance to get noticed and includes a Q&A panel with industry professionals.

This course gives emerging writers the opportunity to develop key skills to help them towards publication and allow them to test the water. The publishing world is always hungry for saleable work, but there are more than enough want-to-be-authors to fill the publishing slots available as agents and publishers are inundated with new submissions.  It does not help that new writers can find conflicting advice from online fora and private agencies on how to get their work published.

In this context, emerging writers need to reflect on how to showcase their work to give it the best chance to reach the right agent or publisher.

This course is primarily for fiction writers of longer works, whether these be aimed at ebooks or print. It will also benefit writers who are redefining their careers.

The day course offers an overview of the publishing industry, including how to do research, and how to present your work. What are unique selling points? Can the story be summed up in a logline as well as in a synopsis?

As well as lectures and discussions, participants will work with their peers. The afternoon will include a Q and A panel with some informal time for students to meet with at least two Scottish industry professionals.

Course Details

Pre-requisites for enrolment

Students will need to be able to confidently use videoconferencing software and be comfortable with using websites.

Preferably emerging writers and creative writing students who have finished or have a longer work of fiction in progress. Students are asked to email the tutor with details of their work in progress and their background in advance of the class. Full manuscripts are not required.

Special Information

In order to participate in this course, you will need access to a computer with a speaker and an internet connection.

Content of Course

1. The Writer’s Toolbox

Students will be given an outline of how modern publishing works, including the various ways into publication, using an agent, self-publishing, approaching a publisher, as well as the forms of publication including ebooks and print. This part of the toolbox is designed to help students present themselves professionally in a competitive industry. It will help the students examine what they aim for and how realistic their desires are. It also provides exercises, both written and oral, to prepare students to meet Scottish industry professionals in the afternoon. Pitching your work: by learning the art of concise pitching the students can begin to condense their own works, narrowing down their narrative to key points for a synopsis summary. Skills to develop the synopsis will be addressed through lecture, discussion, exercise and group/pair work. Subsequently, taking their new understanding of their work, students will roleplay meeting industry professionals. The Writer’s Toolbox ends by tackling both understanding and dealing with rejection by looking at sample submission letters and examining points for rejection, including what different rejection letters actually mean.

2. Lunch break

During the break students are encouraged to network with their peers. The lecturer will also be available for more informal discussions.

3. Afternoon Q&A Panel

Q&A panel with Scottish industry professionals includes some informal time for participants to network with the panel members (to be announced). The final session with the lecturer gives participants an opportunity to clarify any issues that have arisen during the day.

Teaching method(s)

This course will be delivered via live online sessions. Students will be able to discuss their aims and projects with their peers, the lecturer and industry professionals; they will be guided through the various processes of publication, including completing exercises that will give them opportunity to practise key skills in their publishing journey and a deepened understanding of how this complex industry works. As well as working on how to market their own work, they will also be working on their confidence and skills to interact with the publishing world.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Recognise how the publishing industry works, including options open to new writers;

  • Start preparing a submission package for an editor or agent;

  • Interact with industry professionals;

  • Outline the next steps on how to take their personal journey to publication forward.


Web Sources

For information on publishers:

For information on Agents in Scotland and UK generally:

For information on the Society of Authors (Authors Trade Union):


If you have questions regarding the course or enrolment, please contact COL Reception at Paterson's Land by email or by phone 0131 650 4400.

Student support

If you have a disability, learning difficulty or health condition which may affect your studies, please let us know by ticking the 'specific support needs' box on your course application form. This will allow us to make appropriate adjustments in advance and in accordance with your rights under the Equality Act 2010. For more information please visit the Student Support section of our website.