Certificate in Publishing

Certificate in Publishing

Through our 13-month course of study, writers become savvy about the publishing industry.

The Certificate in Publishing program offers students the opportunity to learn about the publishing industry through hands-on experience. Enrolled students will produce, from start to finish, a volume of Manifest West, the literary anthology series of Western Press Books. Students have weekly editorial board meetings to review and discuss submissions, then make the final selections and copyedit and proofread the anthology. Throughout the program, students work with experts in the publishing industry to gain insight into this ever-evolving field.

During this process, students also learn how to critically edit their own writing, and they regularly workshop writing from peers to prepare it for submission to magazines and presses. Graduates of the Certificate in Publishing Program are prepared to enter the publishing field as agents, editors or start their own small presses.

The Program

  • Come to Western’s campus in Gunnison, high in the Colorado Rockies, for two weeks, during two consecutive summers, in late July.  Study the publishing industry, workshop your writing, and learn how to present work to editors and agents.
  • Enjoy the beautiful country surrounding the campus with high-mountain hiking, climbing, biking and the chance to sit next to a stream or lake and write.
  • Learn about publishing house operations, including acquisitions, editorial, design, marketing and sales, as well as record-keeping and fulfillment.
  • Participate during the fall and spring terms in an online editorial board to plan and prepare a book for publication through Western’s press.

The Curriculum

The course of studies includes summer face-to-face classes, a series of integrated self-paced module, and synchronous discussions in an online environment. See the list of specific courses here:

Admission Requirements

The applicant wishing to enroll in the Certificate of Publishing Program must complete the following:

  • An application for admission to certificate study. (At appropriate prompts, select "graduate" and then "certificate")
  • A $50 non-refundable processing fee (charged to your credit card when you use the online application)
  • An 800 to 1,000 word personal statement describing writing experience and interest in publishing, and preferably sent as an email attachment to extendedstudies@western.edu.
  • A writing sample of 15-20 pages prose (double-spaced); or 5-7 poems; or a combination of 2-3 poems and 7-10 pages of prose, also preferably sent as an email attachment to extendedstudies@western.edu.
  • An official transcript of a baccalaureate degree, with a recommended minimum 3.0 GPA for writing-related courses. The baccalaureate-granting institution must send the transcript directly to the Western State College Office Extended University Studies Graduate Office.

 Send personal statement, writing sample and transcript to:

Certificate in Publishing
Western State Colorado University
Extended University Studies Graduate Office
600 N. Adams Street
Taylor Hall 303
Gunnison, CO 81231
FAX: (970) 943-7068

Program Costs

Tuition costs $350 per credit, or a total of $6,300.00 for the entire, 13-month program. Additional costs include class texts, as well as two-week summer residency expenses, such as transportation to and from Gunnison, on-site accommodations and meals.

The Faculty

Certificate Program Director

Dr. Mark Todd, founder of Western’s MFA in Creative Writing, has been a Professor of English at Western since 1988. He currently serves as Director of the Undergraduate Creative Writing Program, and as Editor-in-Chief for Western Press Books, which oversees the Graduate Program in Creative Writing's Certificate in Publishing. He has 25 years of professional journalism experience, having published hundreds of news stories, features, columns, and editorials in local through international markets. He also served as editor and publisher of both a newspaper and a regional magazine and, at one point, digested online news for the Lycos daily news service. In addition, Mark directs Western's summer creative writing conference, Writing the Rockies, now in its 15th year. Mark has performed his poetry and given fiction readings across the country and in Europe. His books include two collections of poetry, Wire Song (Conundrum, 2001) and Tamped, But Loose Enough to Breathe (Ghost Road, 2008). He is author of the science fiction novel Strange Attractors (Write in the Thick, 2012) and co-author with wife Kym O’Connell-Todd of the paranormal comedy/fantasy trilogy The Silverville Saga: The Silverville Swindle (Ghost Road, 2006), which was reissued as Little Greed Men (Raspberry Creek, 2011), All Plucked Up (Raspberry Creek, 2012), and The Magicke Outhouse (Raspberry Creek, 2013). All were nominated for Colorado Book Awards and Little Greed Men was also nominated for the Colorado Blue Spruce Award. Currently, he and Kym are at work on a creative nonfiction book about hauntings in frontier mining towns of the Rocky Mountains.


Mark Todd

Best-selling author and editor Russell Davis has written and sold numerous novels and short stories in virtually every genre of fiction, under at least a half-dozen pseudonyms. His writing has encompassed media tie-in work in the Transformers universe to action adventure in The Executioner series to original novels and short fiction in anthology titles like Under Cover of Darkness, Law of the Gun, and In the Shadow of Evil. In addition to his work as a writer, he has worked as an editor and book packager, and created original anthology titles ranging from westerns like Lost Trails to fantasy like Courts of the Fey. He is a regular speaker at conferences and schools, where he teaches on writing, editing and the fundamentals of the publishing industry. A past president of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, Russell now writes and edits full time, as well as teaches for Western's MFA in Creative Writing. His newest work, The End of All Seasons, a collection of short fiction and poetry, came out in 2013, and he is presently working on several new projects.
Russell Davis
Sonya Unrein is the editor for the Samizdat Group, responsible for the acquisition, production, editing and marketing of the Conundrum Press catalog. She performed the same for Ghost Road Press for several years and, more recently has consulted for a number of start-up small presses, including Seven Oaks Publishing and Raspberry Press. Sonya serves as the graphic designer for Western's annual anthology, preparing those books for final production. She brings strong experience in bookstore communication, inventory management, author relations and events, order fulfillment, promotional copy, content editing, line editing, layout, cover design, and creative-asset management. She also develops web, social media and blogs.
Sonya Unrein

Find Out More

  • Email queries to Larry Meredith, Certificate Director: lmeredith@western.edu
  • Contact  Extended University Studies for more information: 1-800-876-5309, Ext. 7

Next Steps

If you're interested in Western's Publishing Certificate, we invite you to take the next steps towards becoming a part of the Mountaineer family. 

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  2. Get more information about the program.
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  4. Start the online application process - apply online now.
  5. Find scholarships, grants, or financial aid that match your interests and situation.


Faculty & Staff


Director of Genre Fiction Concentration
Phone: 970.943.2025
Office Location:
Visiting Professor of Genre Fiction
Office Location:
Director of Screenwriting Concentration
Phone: 970.943.3016
Office Location:
Director of Graduate Program in Creative Writing; Director of Poetry Concentration
Phone: 970.943.2058
Office Location: Taylor Hall 222B