I’ve always loved words. I practiced writing the alphabet on an old digital typewriter in my dad’s office, which had a shelf full of old books. I remember flipping through a dictionary that felt like a tome from another world with all these words I had yet to hear listed in beautiful order.
The Sunday newspaper was a constant, whether I was at home or at a grandparent’s house. Learning that words could also share news made me choose my college path long before I finished elementary school.
I learned a lot about working and talking with people from my newspaper experience. I also dipped into editing, which scratches the same itch that word searches do but with a lot more documentation to go over. I loved it.
However much I enjoyed it as a student, the real world wasn’t so great. The 2 small newspapers I worked for both hired me on because I was young and had social media experience. There were a lot of promises about getting to pave the way and bring sections of the newspaper into the digital age. I was bamboozled twice, as both gigs ended up with me filling multiple roles at the same pay. My desire to learn was often used against me as suddenly I’d be doing editing or layout duties at reporter’s pay. All those lessons on professional boundaries are another blog post themselves but the biggest lesson was I wasn’t happy there. I did not want to keep doing the same thing and watch what I loved get sliced down to the nothing. Newspapers that embraced the digital age are just doing well, just look at the Seattle area publications.
I have some memories of this place
I recently finished a copy editing certificate in hopes of turning my wordsmithing skills toward fiction. After countless dead ends in freelance or internship opportunities while keeping up on publishing news, I am seeing something all too familiar.
We don’t have to change. Every way that we have done business will continue because we want it to.
How about those classified as sales, news industry?
Big publishing houses are no longer the only way to get a book in people’s hands. With the expansion of digital avenues, you can be reading a book anywhere. Or even take your whole library with you. Now TikTok helps sell books as much as printed ads. It’s an exciting time to live, where millions of books are published every day. It can be difficult to outshine everyone else. Yet, publishing has been slow to shift. And it makes sense. Printers, page editors, artists, and everyone else involved in the printing of books wants to keep their jobs. In an industry that, like newspapers, wants you to start at the bottom getting paid little and work your way up in that field.
Hello, it’s the Internet
I can see technology overtaking this reliance on keeping things status quo. It’s rare for newspapers these days to have their own printing press now. Imagine reading a book on a device and the chapter illustrations move or change as you interact with them to give visual aids to the story. You can’t do that with real books.
Plus, just the amount of time it takes for traditionally published books to appear. I’m going to be close to retirement age by the time Sarah J. Maas is done with this storyline she’s weaving together.
Indie publishing is rising, sometimes even authors taking it all into their own hands, and I fear that this new industry I’m looking into is following a bad path. I hope instead there is a renaissance and we’re seeing jobs move to more modern areas.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the smell of old books and would hate for those to disappear completely. I hope there are some areas for special editions of good stories and continued work for those printing experts. But, it can’t stay the same way it has for so long.
Here’s to hoping there is more of an embrace in the modern, with pay, marketing, and business approaches, instead of ignoring the inevitable.