The LARB / USC Publishing Workshop

An Incubator for the Future of Publishing


The Los Angeles Review of Books / USC Publishing Workshop is an immersive, collaborative publishing program designed for students and innovators interested in playing a role in the future of publishing. This holistic training course equips participants with skills in both digital and print publishing and is unique among publishing courses in its focus on producing live ventures by the summer’s end. The Los Angeles Review of Books / USC Publishing Workshop is a vanguard, real-world program whose graduates will go on to be among the most well-trained, experienced, competitive, and inventive in the industry.

The Workshop gives participants a foundation in both traditional and future platforms, as they attend lectures, seminars, and boot camps in book, magazine, and online editing; digital and print publishing; SEO and audience metrics; and the financial and business side of publishing. Participants will learn from a broad selection of experts who specialize in various aspects of the publishing industry, including editors, art directors, book historians, literary agents, marketing professionals, published writers, academic publishers, web coders, developers, and digital innovators. The signature project of the Workshop is a real world, hands-on practicum: the creation of a print magazine or website, or the development of a business plan for a new publishing enterprise that is ready either for direct funding or for research and development funding.

Participants interested in print publishing will participate in staffing and co-publishing an annual Workshop print edition which features original content participants acquire, curate, and edit specifically for the publication. This publication, to be named and branded by Workshop participants, is both an online Los Angeles Review of Books Channel and a print edition, distributed in Los Angeles and shipped to LARB Members.

Participants will collaborate in cohorts, each of which will also generate a new publishing project and develop a business plan and funding proposal for that project. These participants will work with program faculty and visiting industry experts to bring those projects into being, receiving the instruction they need and training in the tools and skillsets necessary to achieve real-world results. By the end of the Workshop, participants will have participated in producing a viable publication or proposal, using the expertise they developed.

Participants will be in residence at USC for five weeks, from June 26 – July 29, committing to a series of preparatory assignments before arriving in Los Angeles.

Topics covered include:

  • How to edit short-form and long-form feature articles for a major magazine.
  • The art of copyediting.
  • How to be a part of and help run a new literary and cultural arts magazine, both in print and online.
  • The editor-writer relationship.
  • The history of the book, the state of independent publishing today, and possibilities for its future.
  • Publicity, marketing, SEO, and social media.
  • Current platforms and the future of media.
  • Innovations in the world of culture and curation.
  • Fiscal models: past, present, and future.
  • How to write for and get published in a magazine.
  • The art of print publishing: Color and dot correction, typeset, graphic design, print mechanics, and working with ink on paper.
  • How to design a business plan.
  • How to attract investors.
  • The nonprofit world.
  • Marketing

Career Placement

The Workshop is dedicated to launching participants into the brave new world of 21st-century publishing through the mentorship they receive during the program, through bringing publishers and investors to campus to meet the participants, and through networking events in the Workshop’s final days.