Exetra recent alumni group

Recent Graduates explore how Writing and Publishing have changed

Exetra, the recent alumni group, held an event at the British Library in April on ‘Writing and Publishing in the Modern Age.’ A panel of Exeter alumni, with expert experience in the industries, discussed how these two popular sectors have seen a huge amount of change in the last few years and gave advice and guidance to recent graduates on how to stay ahead of the curve in these competitive sectors.

Panel members were Nia Beynon, Head of Digital Publishing, Harper Collins Publishers, Virginia Stuart-Taylor, EU Policy Advisor, UK Civil Service and Travel Blogger at www.thewelltravelledpostcard.com, Charlotte Pike, Award-winning cookery author and Becky Short, Senior Publicity Manager at Transworld (Penguin Random House UK).

Together they discussed how the rise of the internet has opened up new areas within the writing and publishing industries including e-books, blogs and online newspapers. These areas have led to a lot of new opportunities, for example self-publishing has become much easier and more prevalent since the introduction of the e-book.

However, these changes have also brought new challenges for authors and publishers alike. Space within newspapers for book reviews and write-ups has dramatically reduced and many more people now look to social media for recommendations and ideas. This has meant that publishers now undertake a lot of their promotion via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, as well as through book tours and talks. Authors are also now expected to self-promote through social media and aspiring writers with large social media portfolios may well find themselves in a more favourable position when it comes to being chosen by a publisher. This is especially true for any authors wishing to publish non-fiction books within a niche area who will be expected to have a large following before being taken on. Content does of course still have a large part to play however, and a book must be a good read to be ultimately successful.

Tips and advice given to budding authors therefore included building your social media portfolio before approaching publishers as well as networking and joining relevant groups and societies where possible to help develop your writing and find opportunities. For those wishing to become bloggers it was advised that, although it is difficult to make money from running a blog, it is possible to secure deals and opportunities, for example an expenses paid trip to a particular destination if you will then blog about your experiences. Regular updates and a passion for your subject will help grow your readership and gain you a larger following. For those interested in entering publishing or the publicising of books a good knowledge of social media is a must. The new opportunities available however make it a fascinating time to join this industry.

Date: 15 May 2018

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