DePaul Taps Local Press For New Publishing Course
By Betsy Mikel in Arts & Entertainment on Aug 16, 2010 8:20PM
Meet Jonathan Messinger and Zach Dodson, small-press gurus and university professors.
Dodson said he and Messinger had no knowledge of the publishing industry when they started featherproof in 2005. As they muddled their way through the process of figuring out distribution, building an audience and sticking 1,000 stickers on 1,000 book covers, they turned to already established presses such as Akashic Books and Soft Skull Press for guidance. For the DePaul course, they had to retrace their steps and establish the bare bones essentials of what it took to build featherproof. “The first step is creating a quality product. If the book doesn't read well, and doesn't look good, it makes everything else much harder,” Dodson said. It’s also necessary to edit and design a great title and figure out how to get it out there. Lastly, Dodson said the digital component has rapidly advanced to the short list. “The industry is one of the last to embrace the Internet, and there are major upheavals right now. The ability to see where things are going, to understand Web presence and ebooks, will serve anyone who wants to learn about publishing today.”
So the course is divided into three workshops: editorial and production, publicity and marketing, and digital publishing. Throughout each workshop, students will work on different components of publishing of the anthology Brute Neighbors: Urban Nature Poetry, Prose and Photography for the DePaul Humanities Center. Along the way, students will have to edit and design the anthology, conceptualize and execute a digital publishing component, and design and execute a publicity campaign. The workshops can be taken as stand-alone courses, but students must complete all three to earn the Certificate in Publishing.
Online registration is open up until the first day of class, which is next Monday, August 23. The first workshop, Editorial and Production, meets weekly at the Loop Campus from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.