30 Jan Building your reputation in publishing
You might not realise it today, in a world of pop stars, populist politicians and tech billionaires, but historically publishers have been some of the most important people on the planet. That’s because publishers held the key to communicating ideas to people.
Great thinkers, writers, polemicists and philosophers would have been nothing without the people with the wherewithal and skill to spot their talent and deliver it to the masses.
Many of the greats throughout history, from Dickens to Orwell to Darwin, relied on the skill of publishers to take their ideas and make them popular. In doing so, they changed the world. But publishing is not just about having the funds to print books, papers or pamphlets – it’s also an industry that relies heavily on reputation.
If you want to succeed as a publisher then you need to manage and develop your reputation – both amongst your peers and with the general public who will consume the information. There are several key areas in which you can build your reputation.
Perhaps the number one goal of any publisher is to be accurate. That doesn’t just mean checking the materials for grammatical correctness, clarity or quality (although this is a big part of it). It also means ensuring that what you publish is true (and can be proved if claims are being made) or has something interesting to contribute to the debate. As a publisher, if you garner a reputation for being inaccurate or irrelevant it is very hard to recover.
Another core skill of the publisher is being able to understand what kinds of materials or content are relevant and in demand. Ideas very often have temporal quality. For example, when Darwin’s On the Origin of Species was published in 1859, the scientific, increasingly secular and industrialising world was just about ready for it. Had it been published 100 years earlier, Darwin and the publishers would have been in serious trouble. The skill lies in knowing which ideas or stories are ready for public consumption.
Marketing and PR
In today’s crowded marketplace it’s not enough just to let the work speak for itself. You have to be engaged in marketing. This means getting to grips with social media and other branding and public relations channels. Of course, it depends on the nature of the material you’re publishing as to which marketing platforms you utilise, but knowing which are most suitable is also a big part of the job.
If you would like to know more about how to manage and build a reputation in publishing, then get in touch with a member of our team.