#IndieLife | UK #Selfpub Courses

My last post contained some interesting links of happenings, data and conflict within the Indie industry.

This one highlights some good news for UK writers, but with another”us vs them”  undercurrent, interestingly.

Read on for some good writing courses to look into.

This first item caused copious comment and a little ridicule across the airwaves too.  I have a somewhat different opinion on the news.

1. Gaurdian News: First self-publishing MA offers DIY education

MA_Self-Publishing_Banner750

The University of Central Lancashire has announced the launch of what it describes as the world’s first degree in self-publishing.

The MA will begin in September, and course leader Debbie Williams believes it will help “legitimise” self-publishing. “Things have definitely changed. In the last two years, self-publishing has stopped being a dirty word, and is a legitimate option for authors,” she said. “Even the biggest authors are looking at it now.”

There is a lot of commentory on this new MA course for you to easily find. The basis of many of the more derisive comments sits around price and value.  But there’s nothing new there surely?

For example: Why are so many (particularly Americans*) taking MFA’s and other writing degree-level courses? There are perfectly free or inexpensive libraries of information available on writing craft as it is.

*I get copies of the two biggest American writing magazines, and each edition is full of page after page of Writing MFA program advertising. There is an obvious desire for them.

We’re often asking that question, aren’t we? Yet still, there are a lot of people out there who don’t read all our blogs, but do go to university and study such courses.  (And I would never want to see a society where one branch of the arts or creative industry was just not available within our higher education facilities).

On the subject of this world-first university degree in self-publishing the same opinions are being made: “Those people are nuts to spend months and thousands of pounds on that, when all they need is to read so-and-so’s blog or this book, or that…”

Perhaps this is true. Then again, I think having a self-publishing degree course legitimizes the industry just a tiny bit more. We are talking about the UK here, where ebook sales are still slowly rising towards a peak, but also where the newspapers love to publish bestselling UK authors with quotes telling people Indie is wrong, not working, a fool’s paradise…etc.

I would love to have the money and time to undergo any university program for my passion of writing. If I won the lottery tonight I would possibly spend a little on something like that degree (and the campus at UCLAN looks lovely).

As can be seen by the banner the university uses for the course (shown above), such courses are often taken by people who have previously had a career elsewhere and are now turning to further education for further self-knowledge.

It’s something a lot of women locally are doing, whether they are studying teaching, psychology or social networking. Why not a degree in self-publishing? Perhaps one day such an MA will open up job opportunities in supplementary services, many of which we really do need.

Learning surrounded by fellow learners, a community of in-built support – mmm, sounds great. Yep, I’d pay for that in real life.

And surely that degree will also point those writers out to the many wonderful resources like those blog posts which provide complementary(even possibly more valid or up-to-date) knowledge. Providing a reference and further resources is always part of a successful degree course.

It’s a positive and winning situation. And a marketing opportunity now for areas of the industry offering cheaper or shorter courses on the same subject – like this one:

2. Guardian News: How to self-publish: a one-day seminar

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Here’s a much cheaper option, although the cost is irrelevant to the quality of the speakers signed up – all of whom I read, respect and enjoy.

If you live around London, then this may well be the seminar for you, all for just over the 100 pound mark.  Be quick – there’s still an early bird special on.

Date: Sunday 2 March 2014
Times: 10am-5pm
Location: The Guardian, 90 York Way, King’s Cross, London N1 9GU
Tutor and Host: Joanna Penn
Tutors: Orna Ross, Roz Morris, Polly Courtney and Ben Galley.

3. UEA-Guardian Writing Masterclasses

uea-banner-tag Aside from the Masterclasses as above, the Guardian has a partnership with the University of East Anglia and is offering a full measure of writing masterclasses through the Guardian’s London offices.

You can choose from many types of class – from crime writing; how to use Twitter; family-history writing; html introductions; upping your website; how to be a foreign correspondent; how to write a screenplay; or pitching your book. Beginner fiction writers are catered for with three levels of classes, while there is also a three month class on travel writing.

Many are long courses – taking up to 6-9 months, and require an application and work to be submitted. Fees are up there in the university brackets also.


IndieLifeThis post took place in the #IndieLife blog challenge, held at The Indelibles every second Wednesday of the month.

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