Not your cup of tea? There’s a glaring lack of diversity in the publishing arena
The lack of diversity in publishing has been a topic of discussion lately, and for good reason. Research by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center has shown that over the past twenty years, on average, only 10 percent of books per year are written about a “diverse” population.
The problem extends beyond the books published into the core of the industry itself. According to a survey commissioned by Lee and Low Books, the overall industry, comprising the executive level, editorial department, sales and marketing departments, and book reviewers, is 79 percent white and 78 percent female.
Across “the pond,” similar figures emerge. The Diversity in Publishing report found that only 7.7 percent of people working in publishing are from minority ethnicities, thus failing to reflect the reality that minorities comprise 28.8 percent of the working population. Even fewer of the editorial staff members, who choose which books to publish, stem from nonwhite origin.
Innovation in publishing is alive and well
According to leaders of the publishing industry, the crowded market allows investors to be picky about where they direct their funding. Publishing experts speaking at a Digital Book World Conference agreed that investors are on the hunt for the most promising and innovative publishing companies. Start-ups that provide valuable content with strong potential to generate revenue attract the most investors.
Innovative people with the drive to create something new are constantly founding new companies that aim to publish and distribute content. Unfortunately for them, the competition is fierce, and it’s difficult to come up with completely new ideas. Even so, a few companies have managed to stand out with their ground-breaking approach to the business.
Messaging apps are constantly at hand
It’s clear to see how broadly technical companies grew their partnerships with publishers in 2015. Every major tech company has developed a platform to showcase publishers’ content: Snapchat Discover, LinkedIn’s Pulse, Facebook Instant Articles, and Apple News have become part of the news landscape. Now, with the news that messaging apps have outstripped social networks in terms of monthly active users, expect to see tech-publishing partnerships that spread content through messaging apps.
Publishers have shown their willingness to relinquish full control over their content in return for tech companies’ support. The immense reach and influence that companies such as Google and Facebook command make it worthwhile to give up control over distribution. As long as their content is seen, publishers are less concerned about which platform is presenting the content.
Converting a print book to digital format necessitates a unique strategy
Although the future of ebooks is debatable, their popularity has nudged many publishers toward developing a digital publishing strategy. It’s common knowledge that the publishing industry has been radically altered: traditional distribution channels are shrinking, Amazon has near-hegemony, self-publishing is an unstoppable trend, and the glorious publishing houses of old have been consolidated. Publishers recognize that developing drastic new strategies is essential to their survival.
Some publishers are adapting to the new reality by releasing ebook editions along with their standard publications. Before releasing an ebook, they have to precisely execute several elements, such as formatting and searchability, which depart significantly from the elements of a print book. Novel methods of monetizing ebooks are also called for. Developing a digital publishing strategy requires attention to new and different details.
Indie publishing is a boon to fiction authors
Publishing independently isn’t necessarily easy, but it gives authors a leg up in a difficult market. Taking matters into their own hands can allow authors to shine, earning readers and profits. At the same time, waiting for a traditional publisher to accept a manuscript is tempting because the payoff seems great.
Indie authors do not have to just write a book, but market it effectively as well. That requires developing a strong online presence and targeting the audience most likely to become devoted readers of the book. Marketing demands serious time and effort that authors would usually prefer to devote to writing more books.
Streamlining Publishers’ Social Media Strategies Grows their Followers
Most industries, including publishing, are endlessly exposed to messages about the social media imperative. Social media experts lead businesses to believe that without Snapchat, Facebook, and Twitter accounts, they will float into the nether world and become invisible to customers. Following blindly, most publishers set up teams of employees to manage their various social media accounts.
After a frenzied attempt to publish on every platform, some publishers took a step back and reviewed their strategies. They recognized that it wasn’t worth their time, money, and energy needed to splash their company name all over the social media sphere. Trying to be everywhere at once has the effect of watering down each individual effort.
Ad blockers Make Your Ads Invisible
Ad blocking is a serious issue for news publishers who have to persuade advertisers that ads posted on their sites will be seen by readers. Around two hundred million people use ad blocking software each month, so it’s a force that cannot be ignored. One estimate warns that ad blocking caused publishers to lose $22 billion in online advertising revenue in 2015.
A survey by Editor and Publisher revealed that 69 percent of news publishers are moderately to seriously concerned about the effect of ad blockers on their revenue in 2016. Rightly so, as a study of news consumers across twelve countries found that almost half of all users of news media websites regularly use ad blocking. The number is even higher when it comes to eighteen-to-twenty-four-year-olds, which is a coveted cohort of readers.