On the Publishing Industry

As far as the publishing industry goes, I know very little about it. I know that I would like to be involved in it. And I know that it is incredibly difficult to get into the big publishing companies, purely because they’re just so competitive. The problem is less about your own aptitude for something, as opposed to finding a position that will allow you to pursue the career of your choice. Because in the corporate world, your dreams are just the same as another applicant, and you both want everything in the position.


The problem is acquiring experience and having enough initiative to search for the highly competitive internships that do exist out there. I think being aware of them is part of the challenge, and then finding out where to go from there is naturally difficult, but not completely impossible. I personally felt better about the whole prospect of searching for a job after attending some employability events, and realising that networking as opposed to simply qualifications, is the way forwards.

However, a note on talent; I feel that everyone has one, and it just takes longer to come out in some people. It’s always there, and I do honestly believe, even though I am known for being a tad cynical, that everyone has something. It’s hard to compete with people who have a huge amount of talent, all the time, but I think that’s just a part of the world we inhabit today. Once upon a time, people found a career and worked in it until they retired, however today, we’ll all have a number of different careers, and we’ll be wanting to move on, and upwards in the world, until we retire. There’s more of a hunger to be rich and famous today than there ever was; we all want to be something, or someone, or at the very least, we want to be rich and famous.

I don’t really know how I will go about being somebody, however I think my business which has started well, and I hope it continues to go well, will help with this. It’s not always easy, phoning and emailing everyone you know to tell them about it, but eventually you have to be accepted somewhere; it’s a law of averages. Eventually, someone has to say “Yes!”. Eventually however, is not a specified time frame, and everyone I’ve spoken to says that perseverance is key. Networking is also key. Talking and communication is key. It’s almost comparable to the Deathly Hallows, really; the three ingredients to worldwide domination.

So there we are. I love the idea of belonging to this industry, no matter which bit of it. I’d like to be involved in PR, and maybe even consultancy, but it’s so difficult to really define what it is I’d like to do. Which is natural, and it’s why people of my generation tend to have a multitude of careers, and areas of expertise. The agony of choice; that’s what’s made our lives both more delightful, and more difficult, all at the same time.


(1) http://www.consumercareinc.com/grey_business_group.jpg



On Waiting, and Trying Again

The problem with being a potential candidate for something, is that there are also other, potential candidates. They all want the same thing; you all have the same goal. They probably all want it just as much as you do. They probably worked just as hard on their articles as you did. They probably researched just as thoroughly, as you did too. So how can you possibly play the guessing game? You can’t, is the reality of it. Sure, you can add up the possibilities; you can endlessly rake over your work, look at things you could have done better; you can reread, as much as you like, but the reality is that you can’t change the article you’ve already submitted.

Latest photo of myself... (1)

The same sort of thing happens at job interviews, and in the case of being a student, the question is not whether you are good at your job or not, or how much experience you may have; it’s about your ability to be able to work consistently, throughout the year. And in the course of being a student, I live on the other side of the country to home. Which means that I would not be able to work during the holidays, because I have a job at home to go back to, and a family, that I like to see at least every three months. However, employers aren’t satisfied with having you for nine months of the year; if they want to hire you, they want it to be on a consistent basis. This is currently one of the challenges I am facing, in finding a job down at university; even pubs seem to be looking for permanent, and not absentee-for-three-months-a-year staff. This, coupled with the present state of the job market, makes part-time employment increasingly more difficult to obtain.

This tirade, you might say, was somewhat unprovoked; however in my little (exhausted) mind, it all made perfect sense, because I’ve been submitting applications left, right and centre. It sounds petty, and it sounds pathetic to be so cross, about this, but it’s a journey that seems futile. Having recently read Mr. Palomar as well, things are certainly feeling a bit futile; the man’s constant existentialist crisis makes me want to shout at him, and ask, (almost) politely, whether he has a real problem. A debt collector, or an illegitimate child, perhaps. Anything that would motivate him, to actually do something. And this is entirely the problem; even when you do everything, all the time, it doesn’t always work out perfectly.

But nevertheless, even though I’m not feeling optimistic today, due to a combination of being tired, my muscles hurting, and being buried under a pile of work, it will “all come to he who waits”, as my mother often says. A phrase that has annoyed me since I was about twelve years old. I hope she continues to be right; it would be beautiful timing to end the trend of “Mum is always right” now. Anyway, chin up, chuck.


(1) http://www.routerfreak.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/frustration.jpg


Issuu Update

So, in light of my recent, rather ponderous post, I have decided to go full steam ahead in creating a magazine prototype. So far, I have a couple of articles, a photography spread, a few opinion pieces, and two book reviews, with many thanks to http://procrastin8or.wordpress.com/book-reviews/. The minute details are being adjusted day by day; alignment seems to be a massive problem in creating magazine pages. So far, I have nearly fifty pages of creative work, and it’s really starting to come together. Not only is it starting to come together, but I daresay that it’s starting to almost look professional.

Creating the project seems to have been a rather steep learning curve all on its own. Each spread has taught me something new, especially about IT management and using technology in a creative capacity. The use of colour also seems to be of paramount important in creating something, and creating an atmosphere around the text. The colours within photographs consistently have to align with the text, and enhance it; the emphasis has to remain on the creative element of the spread, no matter how gorgeous the font, or font colour may be. I suppose it’s prioritizing; it’s placing emphasis on creativity as opposed to aesthetics.

Equally however, aesthetics is of paramount importance; the magazine should look professional, and clean. I’m seeking a crisp layout; nothing too fussy, consistent, but not mind numbing. The articles for example are all formatted in a similar fashion; the text is the same size and font, however I’ve placed a variety of images on each of the pages to break up the text, and make it more accessible.

These details seem almost irrelevant, however I find them fascinating; the smallest changes seem to be making an enormous difference to the appearance of the publication. I also keep thinking of different elements to look at including at four o’clock in the morning, and then wondering whether or not this would make the magazine seem unfocused. I haven’t quite come up with a defined idea of what I’d like the magazine to be about, at this point; I know that I want it to be creatively focused, intermixed with some serious journalism and photography projects. It’s still very much in the early planning stages, and prototype stage, but making the prototype is confirming my commitment to pursuing a career in the publishing sector. That I think, makes the project worthwhile in its own right.

However, I need some advice; I need a title for the magazine. I started off thinking of “Live Critique”, however I’m not sure it captures the imagination enough, or whether it seems a little dry, and associated with literary theory explicitly enough to be off-putting. Please tell me what you think!



To Issuu or Not to Issuu. That Is the Question.

My flatmate introduced me to a website yesterday, called Issuu. I had been previously unaware of its existence, however this morning I created an account, and watched explanatory videos. It would seem that you can create an online magazine, or publish your work as though it were a glossy magazine. Now, I would love a career in publishing one day, and so this seems like a wonderful place to start. I have the resources to begin, but I don’t think I could write an online magazine entirely on my own. So I think I’m going to have to enlist some help.

I thought firstly, I could take a selection of previous posts, and tweak them, to make them into viable magazine articles, and collaborate with photographers at my university for the photo-shopping, and making things look pretty. However, I was wondering if I could find other contributors, around university and amongst the blogging community, who might like to be a part of an online magazine.

Pretty glossy magazines. (1)

If I were to try to jump-start a magazine, I’d take a creative focus; photography, and journalism, perhaps with columnists. I’d attempt to publish initially every three months. I’d like to include reviews on books, films, and music. I’d like to include three or four articles on current events, and I’d also like a photography project in there too. I don’t mind what kind of photography project; anything from fashion journalism, to personal projects. But I think I’d like to include an ‘editor’s letter’ too, and perhaps a theme per issue. The fist issue could be devoted to “Beginnings”; this covers a rather wide scope for topics. I think the idea of creating a ‘glossy’ magazine cost effectively also rather appeals to me. I’d like to be a part of paper publishing too one day, but one step at a time…

There are also innumerable benefits for publishing online; sharing, and sharing the rights to works, is made much simpler when using digital files, and work can be distributed among a much wider readership. Essentially here, I’d try to take some of my blogging experience, and my university experience, and make it more aesthetically pleasing and sophisticated, and pop it up online. I suspect that without the publishing costs, and therefore buying costs, people would be much more willing to read it; and any exposure for authors is exposure. It would be rather an experimental venture, but it could be off the ground reasonably quickly due to our boundless technological advances, and invaluable, curriculum vitae worthy experience too. I suppose there’s an element of coordination and management to be considered.

So, I need some ideas; anyone with experience, or anyone with a pointer to give to me, I’d be more than happy to listen to your suggestions!


(1) http://c1blogsustainablogorg.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/files/2011/08/glossy-magazines.jpg


On Dreams

Sunshine is currently streaming through the window, and the temperature is an ambient twenty degrees centigrade, inside my bedroom. But I’ve been sat staring at my computer screen for half an hour, wondering what on earth to do with the afternoon. Should I go to the beach, or should I research for my essay? I’m torn between the two, really. The beach seems far more appealing than an adventure to the library, but then again, essays don’t write themselves. This is something of a conundrum.

Anyway, I think logic is going to prevail; research on postmodernism is going to be far more useful to my future, in comparison to an afternoon jaunt to the beach. This is perhaps one of the strangest things about modern life. We spend all of our present planning for a future, something we aren’t even sure exists. We have no idea of the course our lives will take, and whether all of our planning will come to fruition, or whether something will change the course of our lives without us realising it. This is perhaps one of the most alarming things about being human; we have no idea what might happen to us.

At this juncture, we can consider the lion; lions (especially males) have an almost intrinsic idea of the course their lives will take; they all have a goal. To rise to the top of the pack, and to be the dominant male, a chief hunter. This ambition puts their entire lives into focus, and they have an innate idea of what their existence will be about. Humans, on the other hand, are fickle; we have big dreams, and big ambitions. We all dream of being something different, whether it’s to be a mother, or to be a CEO, or be a novelist, or a protester. We just have no idea, and we have such an abundance of opportunity that it’s confusing, but so completely breathtaking, all at the same time. I often wish there was a clue, of where I might end up, so I could work out how to get there. I think we all wish that sometimes.

Courage to Dream

Walt E. Disney (1)

I hope to end up in publishing, as both a publishing mogul and novelist at the same time. I also want to be able to travel. I might have to make career changes, and cut back on things to do it, but as I said on my bucket list, I would like to travel to every continent on the planet. I love the idea of being able to escape, and run around the world, going on safari, building houses and schools, and so on. I just like the idea of being free. However, I also really like my mum’s cooking, and watching television with her. There’s so much choice, and technology makes it so very possible, that a person couldn’t ever decide on just one dream, I think.

So, I’ve got a plan: I’m going to do things that will make me happy. Sometimes these things, for example, going to the gym at seven-thirty in the morning, will not make me happy at that present moment. However, as I get thinner, and fitter, and closer to being ready to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, I will be happy. It’s simply a system of cause and effect; temporary pain for an abundance of long-term gain. Nobody gets everything for nothing. Dreams do not simply happen. You have to work for them, and work hard for them. And it feels amazing when you actually get somewhere, and it all pays off.


(1) http://images.picturesdepot.com/photo/c/courage_to_dream-8499.jpg


Blogging is a Launchpad

In today’s world of instantaneous Internet access, where relationships can change in a second, it is vital, if you are serious about publishing and breaking into the media sphere, to be able to write a blog, and publish regularly. The instant changes that are possible via the Internet make publishing, editing, and writing the most competitive it has ever been; editors in publishing have to sift through innumerable manuscripts, picking out only the very best, and the most marketable.

Perhaps one of the hardest challenges for a writer is the ability to reconcile their true artistic will with the potential for it to sell to a wider market. Simply put, there is a choice to be made: whether one wants to make money, or whether one wants to maintain his artistic integrity. Being able to work inside a market whilst writing exactly as one wishes to is potentially impossible.


Blogging today however allows amateur writers to publish their work independently, and attract readers through their own merit, and of course, a little Internet wizardry. Everyone who wishes to can be a part of this community, which has spread over the last few years with an almost viral intensity; businesses, individuals, authors, musicians and academics all have some form a blog; a way to keep in touch with the real people who are interested in their work; and to this end, blogging is perhaps the greatest tool available in the corporate world; the ability to “put themselves out there” without seeking the approval of an editor, agent, or authority. It allows them to publish what they wish, publish what they believe is good, and receive approval or constructive criticism based on a peer review system.

There does however seem to be a sort of blogging hierarchy; ranging from the experienced to the newest bloggers (like myself) who seek advice from one another. This creates an informal network, with constant information available to every user of the Internet. Whilst this is generally a positive experience, the struggle to be noticed, commented on, and reviewed by one’s own peers can be soul-destroying in itself, because you could feel as though you are simply confined to the silicone scrap pile.

At this point, it would be prudent to look at the dangers of the Internet; identity issues, comment spammers, and those who act in a predatory fashion. There will always be the issue of Internet privacy, however with a little common sense, and informational discretion, problems such as this can be avoided. The key here is discretion; as with everything else in writing, subtlety is often the best policy.

For anyone hoping to start blogging as a way into the wider world, and as a way to explore different mediums of communication, I’d say go ahead, and never be afraid of commenting, following and generally being involved in other user’s forums. Being involved means that others become curious about you; and being shy on a blog is a guaranteed way to avoid people reading your work. Be brave, be bright, and consider what you want to write before you published; discretion is probably a good rule of thumb.