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Do we need a postgraduate self-publishing degree?

Iain Broome
Iain Broome
1 min read

The University of Central Lancashire in England has launched a new postgraduate course, simply titled, Self-publishing MA. Apparently, it’s the first of its kind.

Taken from the the course information, here’s what you get:

This course will equip you with all of the necessary skills you will need to be a self-published author including how to edit your book, how to lay it out, how to monitor sales, how to manage yourself and your finances, marketing yourself and your book and how to create an eBook. The final part of the course will give you the opportunity to complete a finished copy of your book.

I must admit, I can’t work this one out.

I understand that the skills required to self-publish a book might not come easy to everyone, and I know that some people will appreciate the opportunity to learn those skills in a closed, taught environment. But I’m not sure what advice an MA could provide that isn’t free and easy to find via a quick Google search.

The cost issue is important. For some reason, the course information doesn’t currently include fees, but the University’s other postgraduate writing courses, such as its Writing For Children MA, cost £5,000 a year.

I happily admit that I’m no expert, but I’m pretty sure that forking out that kind of money is the opposite of what the self-publishing movement has been about these last few years.

Perhaps the only way a fee of that size can be justified is if it includes access to professional editors, cover designers and proofreaders. But that’s not what the course information says. It talks about learning ‘how to edit’, but not direct support on getting your manuscript into shape.

I’m sure that this is just the first of what will likely be a wave of postgraduate courses on self-publishing. But if you ask me, you might as well explore the archives of sites like The Creative Penn, where you’ll find all you need to know.

Part of self-publishing’s allure is the satisfaction of doing it yourself – of being in control of the process from start to finish. I’m not sure that paying thousands of pounds to achieve the same end has quite the same appeal or ethos.

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I'm the author of the novel, A is for Angelica. Every week, I send Draft Mode, a newsletter full of tips and tools that help you improve your craft and promote your writing.