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Book Publishing Class
3 credit lecture/lab
Western Washington University

Western Washington University will once again offer a 3 credit lecture/lab class entitled, Book Publishing . The class was created for those who want to learn about best publishing practices in the publishing business as well as publishing a book. Classes are limited to 18 students. Enrollment for Summer Quarter begins in May and a link will be inserted on this page when enrollment is open. Note: This class fills up quickly.

Contact the instructor for additional information about the class or enrollment questions. Rosanna Porter at Western Washington University (Bellingham, Washington).

Course Title: (ART 397F) Book Publishing

Credits: 3 credits

Class Dates & Times: Summer Quarter dates and times to be posted.

Registration: To be announced May 2023.

Where: Western Washington University, Bellingham, Washington (Fine Arts Building).

Class size limited: 18 students

Course Description:

Book Publishing has changed radically over recent years. Authors who have ventured into traditional or subsidy publishing have found that it is nearly impossible to have a manuscript published by the major publishing houses. In some respects, authors today are not any different than Jane Austen whose manuscripts were rejected by a major publisher. Miss Austen believed in her stories and self-published her first and several subsequent novels. However, today’s authors have additional options that Jane Austen did not have available to her. As an example, E L James, another British author, who self-published her book Fifty Shades of Grey was able to publish first in e-book format. After success with her e-book, she followed the print-on-demand option. Both authors overturned the negative stereotype of a self-published author as both books have enjoyed huge successes. As for Jane Austen, her books have stood the test of time.

Many authors lack the know-how or the finances to follow the historical self-publishing path of financing the entire cost of manuscript preparation and printing, which can cost about $10,000 for a small run. However, today with the advent of e-books and print-on-demand options many authors are now becoming published. This course is designed to provide these authors with the information and skill to self-publish their manuscript into, hopefully, the next great novel or picture book.

The class will consist of presentations; power-point lectures; demonstrations: computer lab exercises and basic application in Adobe In-Design, Photoshop, PDF, Excel, and Microsoft Word; and online tools. Note: No prior knowledge of Adobe In-Design, Photoshop, or Excel are required. We will only be using basic skills in these programs.

Course Syllabus

Proposed Course Schedule for Publishing Chapter and Picture Books

The following is an outline of topics to be covered during the term. Detailed descriptions of project requirements will be handed out for most assignments.


Class 1 Introduction, discussion of requirements, materials, expectations, slide presentation on publishing a book via traditional methods and the different self-publishing options.
Before the next class read the handout: Syllabus and Introduction to Book Publishing.
Class 2 Copyright Basics: Topics to be explored are: Who Can Claim Copyright, How to Secure Copyright, Length of Copyright, Copyright Registration, Registration Procedures.
Before the next class read the handout: Copyright Basics.
Assignments Using pdf fillable worksheet: Set-up files for book production.


Class 3 Book Elements and Details: Identifying the various elements of a book for publication. Paper density and color selection for the interior and cover of a book. Interior book spacing of sentences, paragraphs, and indented quotes. Selecting the type of book: paperback, trade-paper back, hardcover, and dust jacket.
Before the next class read the handout: Book Elements and Details.Before the next class read the handout: Book Elements and Details.
Class 4

Book Layout: Selecting the dimensions of the book, font and style, estimating the page count, understanding publishing terminology on interior design and bleeds, discussion of publishing industry standards.
Before the next class read the handout: Book Layout.


Using pdf fillable worksheet: Identify book dimensions, bleeds, interior design with estimated page count. Due:


Class 5

Set-up of images and illustrations: formatting, resolution, working in Photoshop.
Before the next class read the handout: Setting-up Images and Illustrations.

Class 6

Author and Illustrator Biographies and Photographs.
Before the next class read the handout: Writing an Author/Illustrator Biography.


Using pdf fillable worksheet: Identify book dimensions, bleeds, interior design with estimated page count.


Class 7

Defining, understanding, and use of Book Industry codes: ISBN numbers, EAN Bar codes, and QR codes.
Before the next class read the handout: Book Industry Codes.

Class 8

Defining, understanding, and use of BISAC Subject Headings and book cataloging for the different book genres.
Before the next class read the handout:Understanding BISAC Subject Headings.


Using pdf fillable worksheet: Identify book BISAC Subject Headings. Due:


Class 9

Book Production Costs: illustrations, drawings, graphs, editing, copyrights, layout, cover, design and writing.
Before the next class read the handout:Book Production Costs.

Class 10

Managing Costs: Book pricing, profits, royalties, commissions, direct sales versus consignment, and marketing.


Using pdf fillable worksheet: Identify book selling price. .


Class 11

Setting up the book to go to press and reviewing proofs. Slide presentation on Creating Bookmarkers and Brochures for book advertisement.
Before the next class read the handout: Advertising Tools and Packaging Your InDesign Files.

Class 12

Package files, upload files on printing website, and prepare book information for distribution.

Class 13

Complete unfinished book files.

Class 14 & 15

Student Presentations of their books.
Assignment: Complete book and InDesign packaged files for your book to turn in for grading that are due TBA.


A presentation is required for the course of the students’ completed book and cover layout. Students will be required to have completed the layout for their book including title page, copyright information, library cataloging information, dedication, applicable table of contents and a cover design with layout. In addition, students working on a picture book will need to have their story completed and at least one illustration or concept illustration. The students working on a fiction or non-fiction adult or young adult chapter book will need to have their first chapter written and layout completed. Critiques of the student’s work in this class are intended to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses with each pre-press layout. Evaluations will take place on a regular basis and are designed to encourage the development of their technical and conceptual skills in publishing. The student’s participation and the expression of ideas and opinions in critiques are a important part of this course and will be reflected in their final grade. Since this is a concept class, the final text of a chapter or picture book manuscript is not required; however, the more developed the student’s manuscript, the more they will gain from this course.

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