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Careers In Culture
Writing and Publishing - What You Need to Know
Challenges and Opportunities
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The world of words is changing
The Information Age is a Great Time for Communicators
A knowledge explosion is shaking up our world as news, information and data are transmitted instantaneously around the globe through new technologies. Canada needs people who can explain the new knowledge and what it means to our society. You may want to be a journalist and specialize in writing for multimedia and new technologies. Maybe you’d like to express what is happening by publishing fiction or poetry. Maybe you’ll work for a company that wants to send a new message through a public relations campaign. Whatever you choose to do in writing and publishing, you’ll be on the cutting edge of the knowledge explosion.
The Digital Revolution is Creating Opportunities and Challenges
With the advent of the digital age, consumers have more choices than ever as to how they want to receive their information. For writers, this is a tremendous opportunity to move into a new medium of communication. Though the printed word is not about to disappear, many journals now publish only digitally and writing for the Internet is a growing field. This means you need to keep your computer skills current. Writing in electronic formats requires different standards for presentation and submission. You must also be familiar with new tools such as accounting software and writing collaboratively using “track changes.” As a writer or publisher, you face new challenges in protecting your intellectual property and finding distribution channels. Staying open and flexible to the emerging technologies is a good way to embrace both the challenges and opportunities of the digitalized world.
Words Go Global - The Competition is Hot!
Technology is putting the world at our fingertips. We can browse the Web for an article about a writer from India, listen to a CD produced in Spain, watch a video from Brazil and read information about a Japanese company on its website. Companies worldwide are fighting for our attention. Writers and publishers must work harder to sell Canadian culture at home and around the world. There is a dramatically changing global sales environment, with many new retail players entering the book and video/DVD markets. These include independent booksellers, book mega-stores, big discount chains, grocery, drug and computer stores, online storefronts and creators themselves. Good marketing and Internet presentation/design skills are crucial in today’s world where words and images are increasingly combined. You’ll need good sales skills whether you’re promoting your own work or a company’s multimedia products.
Careers That Mind Their Own Business
Many writing and publishing workers – writers, editors, translators and designers – are employed by publishing houses, government, and corporations in full-time salaried positions. Many work independently and provide their services on a contract basis. If you’re self-employed, you’ll need to be versatile. A writer may write a short story one day and a corporate speech the next. A copy-editor may be working on two projects simultaneously – an annual report for one client, a policy document for another. Running a small business requires skills such as goal-setting, self-promotion and negotiating, as well as time, financial and business management know-how.
New technologies and new ways of doing things require eager learners who can develop new skills. Writers need to design their products to reflect the interactivity that readers expect. Publishers have to plug into new technologies that are changing ways of design, marketing, printing and distributing. Advertisers and corporate communicators must develop marketing strategies for an increasingly diverse, global audience. Are you curious and adaptable? Do you enjoy learning challenges? Then the business of writing and publishing needs you.
An Important Word About Creative Writers
Are you interested in writing articles, novels, short stories or poetry? Then you face special challenges. Chances are you will be writing alone and without pay. You will have to compete with many other writers to find a market for your work and a publisher who believes that your product will appeal to a buying public. You may find that you can’t sell your writing easily or immediately. Experienced writers will tell you that one of the most important characteristics for success is persistence. They know how to accept rejection – they learn from it and they keep on writing. If your passion is writing, then don’t stop! Keep on writing, work on developing your own style, and have faith in your personal vision.
In addition to your writing and editing talent, if you’re in a writing and publishing career, you’ll need abilities in other areas. Can you match the traits and skills in Column A to the statements in Column B?