The Columbia Publishing Course

Dream of breaking into the book biz? Attend the CPC.

By Marcela Landres
Published on LatinoLA: January 12, 2010

The Columbia Publishing Course

Insiders know that the best way to break into the book biz is to attend the Columbia Publishing Course (CPC). Lindy Hess, the Director of the CPC, works tirelessly to help graduates land the all-important first job. If you dream of being an editor or other publishing professional, the CPC would be a smart investment of your time and money. Note the course is open to international applicants. To learn more, read this month's Q&A.


Lindy Hess has been director of the Columbia Publishing Course (formerly known as the Radcliffe Publishing Course) for more than twenty years. She was a former editor at Knopf and Doubleday. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts with her family. To learn more about the CPC, visit http://tinyurl.com/2dkqs6

Q: The CPC is highly regarded in the publishing industry, but for those readers who are not familiar with it, what specifically distinguishes the CPC from other summer publishing courses?

A: CPC is the premiere training course for people interested in books, magazine, and digital publishing. It is more intense than the other courses and has two, week-long workshops where students create their own book publishing houses, websites, and magazines. Students write a business plan, etc. It is very professional work that gives students hands on experience.
CPC has over 140 professionals come to the course. We focus more on job placement than other programs and work at it all year long.

Q: In addition to a passion for reading, what qualities or skills are essential for today's publishing professional?

A: A respect for the written word, a curious mind, and a healthy imagination. Tenacity is a good quality too.

Q: Who are some Latino graduates of the CPC?

A: There are many, many Latino graduates of the course in every part of the publishing world. Christina Cordero runs a publishing course in South America. Paul Samuelson is a publicist at Sourcebooks. Christina Granados is a production associate at McGraw Hill. Eugene Ashton-Gonzales is writing books for a classmate---he has become a successful author. There are many, many others--these few just come to mind.

Q: Only about 25% of those who apply to the CPC are accepted; what can applicants do to increase their chances of being admitted?

A: Write a wonderful essay that conveys your enthusiasm and passion for the field.

Q: Other than attending CPC, what advice can you offer to those who aspire to have a career in book publishing?

A: Try to get meaningful internships. Experience counts in this job market.

About Marcela Landres:
Marcela Landres is the author of the e-book How Editors Think. She is an Editorial Consultant who specializes in helping Latinos get published and was formerly an editor at Simon & Schuster.
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