Skills for publishing

There are so many facets to publishing so finding a common thread in terms of skills can be challenging. The profile may be a person who is studious, enjoys reading and has an inquisitive mind. They will enjoy philosophical debate and have excellent attention to detail. They are the ones who naturally spot grammatical errors and spelling mistakes in the current novel or newspaper they are scanning.

But publishing is becoming increasingly an integrative activity rather than a standalone specialism. By that I mean a policy analyst will create and publish their own material. Reports and accounts will be generated by the auditors or advertising agency and there is a growing tendency for authors to self-publish which, through the ePub platform, has become a highly accessible and less expensive method.

At the other end of the spectrum you may enjoy a career writing for the tabloids where hype and sensationalism can be the order of the day and where the literary thesis would have no appeal.

Publishing can embrace all personality types and, subject to honing your literary skills, it gives you the opportunity to capitalise on a specialism or niche interest and to share it with others.

Its workplace

We are all familiar with publishing through our experience of books, newspapers and magazines. Increasingly we are reading them in their electronic form.

Wikipedia has now become one of the best-known sources of publication. University lecturers will now quote its content and include it in visual presentation. Publishing is so integrated within so many facets of our lives that it is difficult to demarcate and describe as a standalone activity.

From a career perspective the negotiating of copyright, licensing agreements and contracts between publishers and authors, which will include all broadcasting media, is an important component requiring specialist skills.

Reports and accounts are legal publications supplying corporate information which needs to be promulgated for shareholder meetings. Sales brochures, website content, blogs, safety bulletins, notices, information on packaging, press releases, policy statements, political party manifestos, conference and seminar materials are all part of the wide publishing arena. But it would be difficult to choose any of these activities and establish a career in that segment. There would not be enough scope. Publishing closely interfaces with PR and advertising which focus on the method of conveying the message.

The newspaper industry is a high profile sector of publishing with many areas of specialism for editors and journalists. You may be an expert in finance or science and compile features or write a weekly column. You may concentrate on topical news items or prominent events. Magazines may have a broad life style coverage or specialise in specific matters where they can build a reputation as an expert reference resource.

Publishing is critical to all the professions – setting out their reference materials. We are aware of its central and transparent role in education embracing both ends of the spectrum from children’s books to Shakespeare's plays.

So whether seeking knowledge from encyclopaedias, directories or databases, training manuals or entertainment through fiction, autobiographies, music, or information through reports and accounts or bulletins, publishing will have a central role to play.

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