Online Book Publishing Courses and Training Programs

Dec 03, 2019

Research online graduate certificates and master's degree programs in book publishing. Get information about online courses, program and technical requirements, career prospects and salary to make an informed decision about your education.

Essential Information

Online book publishing programs are normally only available at the graduate degree level. Graduate certificates and master's degree programs typically include courses in publishing and book design as well as marketing and communications. Programs are fully online and in hybrid format. Some programs, particularly master's degrees, require an internship and on-campus coursework. Possible majors for those interested in publishing include creative writing, communications, and children's literature.

Before selecting a program, keep in mind that hands-on job experience is often more helpful than an academic credential for getting a job in the publishing industry. While researching programs, find out if they have a good track record for pairing students with publishing jobs and strong connections with publishers and editors.

In addition to full programs, many schools offer stand-alone publishing courses through their continuing education schools.

Graduate Certificate Programs in Publishing

Students enrolled in an online graduate certificate program in publishing are introduced to the world of publishing and the techniques used in presenting literary works to consumers. While on-campus book publishing programs are widely available, the limited online programs tend to focus more on general publishing, but some do offer a specialization in the book production and sale process. Because of advancements in technology, digital e-publishing is also prevalent in many online programs.

Applicants of the online graduate certificate program are often required to hold a bachelor's degree. Coursework a student will encounter might overlap with classes found in marketing, advertising, and graphic design programs.

Program Requirements

The online graduate certificate in publishing could take a year or more to complete and often consists of four or five courses. Using a computer with Internet access, students log onto an online portal to receive assignments, take exams, participate in discussion boards, and communicate with instructors and other students. These certificate programs can be earned completely online and no in-person attendance is required.

Common Coursework

General education requirements are usually satisfied in an undergraduate degree program, so coursework consists of publishing related topics. Book publishing classes offer instruction in the design, marketing, and distribution of books. Digital publishing courses may include the fundamentals of graphic design. Courses taken in the certificate program can often be applied towards related master's program requirements.

Principals of Publishing

Students study the process of acquiring literary content and creating a finished product to sell to the public. Financial and legal issues involving property rights and funding are also explored.


The various tools used in designing a book are introduced. Students learn how to select appropriate design elements such as font, color and visually appealing layouts.

Sales and Distribution

Students are taught how to determine what readers are looking for and what methods of distribution are most effective. Online methods of marketing - such as blogs and social media - are discussed.

Master's Degrees in Publishing

Online master's degree programs in publishing provide students with historical and procedural knowledge of the publishing world and provide the skills necessary for graduates to possibly qualify for editorial and marketing careers at large publication houses. Many online graduate degree programs in general publishing are available, but very few focus exclusively on book publishing. Applicants are required to complete a bachelor's degree program before gaining admittance, but the field of undergraduate study is usually not specified.

Program Requirements

Depending on how many courses are taken each term, the master's degree in publishing can be completed in 2-3 years. Many degrees can be earned completely online, but some programs offer a combination of online instruction and interactive opportunities on-campus. A few programs also offer internship experiences that will require in-person work. Students complete assignments and tests, view lectures, and participate in discussions through an online portal. An Internet connection is required, and students may need to purchase design software, depending on what coursework is offered.

Common Classes


Students are exposed to the publishing process of obtaining materials and the procedures involved with licensing and assigning tasks to the editorial team. The ways to produce a quality product are emphasized.

Publishing Management

The structure of a publishing organization is examined in this course. Students learn effective methods of directing business activities and how to provide leadership through the different stages of production.

Strategic Marketing

Students will analyze the relationship between editors and writers and the marketing department. Campaign creation and branding practices are among additional topics covered.

Career Information

After gaining some knowledge of book publishing in an online certificate program, a graduate could work as an advertising sales agents and promote book sales. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment of these sales agents will decline by two percent from 2018 to 2028 ( In May 2018, the BLS determined that advertising sales agents earned an average annual wage of $63,360.

A graduate of an online master's degree program might also qualify for a job as an editor in the book publishing industry. The BLS has projected that there will be a three percent decrease in the employment rate of editors during the 2018-2028 decade. Based on May 2018 numbers from the BLS, editors earned an average of $69,480 per year.

Graduate certificate and master's programs in publishing are offered online. Most of these programs are geared towards general publishing, with very few offering book publishing.

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