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Publishing Foundation Master Classes

Delivered by HarperCollins professionals and industry experts, the Academy’s professional foundation master classes are 45–60-minute modules that give writers and designers a greater understanding of the publishing industry in general, providing students with insider knowledge of publishing processes and the associated business considerations, while covering all aspects of what authors ought to know. Delivered as on-demand, streamed modules, our current master classes are as follows:

An Introductory Guide to the Publishing Business
(Tutor: Rose Sandy, Publishing Director, HQ Non-Fiction)

An introduction to the entire publishing business and how it runs, which explains how books are acquired, published, marketed, and sold. The class looks at a book’s life cycle, from manuscript to retailer’s bookshelf, and offers tips for navigating the industry.

The Author and Technology in a Digitally Minded World
(Tutor: Abdu Mohammed Ali, Operations Lead, HarperCollins Operations Technology)

This master class helps students to navigate the course’s technological aspects and how to use these tools, and runs through the best tech software at an author’s disposal, offering tips. The class also sheds light on publishing technical terms and jargon, such as ‘metadata’, ‘ONIX feeds’, and more.

The Author Brand and Platform
(Tutor: Rosalie Audoin, Founder of Flat Out Social)

Yes, an author is a ‘brand’ and this master class unravels your own author brand, showing the various ways authors can build their unique styles and platforms – a must for any successful author.

The Agent–Author Relationship
(Tutor: Silé Edwards, Agent, Mushens Entertainment)

Joining up with our agent community, this master class, run by a partner literary agency, demystifies the author–agent relationship. It delivers insights into what agents are looking for, how to find one, and working together with your agent.

Book Covers: Design and Use as Marketing and Sales Tools
(Tutor: Holly Macdonald Deputy Art Director | Harper Fiction and Nonfiction)

Although book-cover design is the publisher’s responsibility, it is important for authors to know that book-cover design is one of the tools used to sell books across all formats. This course looks at how book jackets fit into genre-specific groups that ensure readers know what they are getting.

The Author and the Editing Process
(Tutor: Ore Agbaje-Williams, Editor, HarperCollins, The Borough Press Imprint.)

This master class focuses on what authors need to know about the editing process, from submission to finished book. Our HarperCollins tutor takes you step by step through this process – commissioning, developmental/structural editing, copy-editing, proofreading – and explains what each level of editing means, with tips for success.

Copyright, Rights, and Contracts
(Tutor: Arthur Heard, HarperCollins, Senior Legal Advisor)

This master class digs deep into the nuances of contracts, copyright, royalties, rights, licences, liability, and how the law around publishing works. The focus is on understanding the division of responsibility between author and publisher.

Marketing, Social Media, and Publicity
(Tutor: Bengono Bessala, Commissioning Editor/MarketingWilliam Collins)

For those who want to see their books thrive in this industry, this master class teaches authors what they need to know about their brand and how marketing, publicity, and social media operate in partnership with a publisher.

An Introduction to the Children’s Book Market, from Preschool to Teen
(Tutors: Melissa Fairley, Publishing Director, Picture Book, Gift and Nonfiction, and Lindsey Heaven, Publishing Director, Fiction)

An overview of the children’s market, with title life-cycle examples to illustrate what types of books sell and where. Discover more about publishing books for children, appealing to parent and grandparent buyers, as well as retail gatekeepers.


Working with Artists, Designers, and Illustrators
(Tutor: Elorine Grant, Deputy Art Director, HarperCollins)

A bonus course for children’s authors, who often need to work with other creatives. Children’s books would not be as much fun without design and illustration. This master class delves into how children’s authors work with illustrators and designers. Students are given a glimpse into the world of book illustration and the role an author plays.

How Books are Sold
(Tutors: Tom Dunstan, UK Sales Director, HarperCollins)

As the aim of commercial publishing is sales, this master class looks at how publishers sell all formats of books to retailers. It covers what authors need to know about the selling-paths books take, from finished product to the bookshop shelf.

Ships, Trips and Video Clips – An Introduction to International Sales
(Tutor: Ben Wright, International Sales Director, HarperCollins)

A brief introduction to HarperCollins’ sales in these territories, including; the value of our international business, the work of the sales teams, the customers we sell to, the challenges and opportunities we face and the books that perform best outside the UK.

Audio Publishing: More than Just Voices
(Tutor: Joanna Surman, Group Digital Director, HarperCollins)

The Audio masterclass is a great introduction to audio books, covering everything from the audio book market and the recent audio boom to how we choose the narrator to record our audiobooks and then get them into the hands of the listeners..

The Production Process; A Behind the Scenes Look
(Tutor: Charlotte Veaney, Group Production Director, HarperCollins)

The aim of this masterclass is to give you some insight into how books are made, what is involved in each stage, how and where they are printed, and why it takes a while to get from words and images to books in store..

Reading Resources:

A comprehensive list of further reading resources is also available for enrolled authors to use and absorb in their own time.