Though this blog is an assignment for a publishing course at my university, I am hoping that its use will spring outside of those boundaries of requirement and become as much a constant in my life as journaling has come to be. While journals and blogs both often serve as cartographers of the mind through plotting the myriad variations in opinion and thought, there is one clear difference between the two: the degree to which they are visible to others.
Using this blog as a catalogue of sorts will help me plumb the complexities of a constantly shifting industry while also (potentially) helping others learn along the way. Though the simple act of posting my thoughts and findings doesn’t guarantee a viewership, the constant possibility will hold me accountable to produce well-written explorations.
I expect to write about the publishing industry and what Michael Bhaskar calls its “strange textual alchemy” in his seminal book The Content Machine. Through this blog, I expect to craft a kind of modern lexicon relating 1) to the various branches of a traditional publishing house and 2) to common terms and concepts. I will then chart the changes of either the branches’ functions (in the former instance) or the words’ meanings (in the latter). Because I am also an avid reader (it often comes with the territory in studying both History and English Literature), I might also post the occasional book review to keep my faculties sharp ;).
On the whole, I hope to address questions such as:
- How do we define a publisher in these modern times? How should we define one? Has this definition changed from models of the past?
- What counts as self-publishing?
- In what forms does the traditional book exist today (e.g. an e-book vs. a “dead tree” book)? Why has one format gained prominence over another?
- Why have the number of free-lancers increased in the recent years?
Through this project, I will have hoped to have explored the complex issues that surround the publishing industry today. If–at the end of the day–my words strike a chord and resonate with even one person, then I feel this all will have been worth it.