Welcome to a new blog about publishing. I’d like to begin by explaining the reason behind my blog. I have recently started to study a Publishing MA at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, UK. During my induction, Alastair Horne, the Social Media and Communities Manager at Cambridge University Press, tasked us with creating an online presence related to publishing and explained that the student who is most successful in their project wins a £1200 bursary from CUP.
I have decided to take up Mr Horne’s assignment for a number of reasons. First of all, I am eager to jump into my postgraduate course. Having applied for the course many months ago, I spent a lot of time over the summer wondering about what the course would really entail and what kind of work I’d be doing, so naturally the idea of such a competitive project excited me. Secondly, the possibility of winning a bursary from CUP is too good to refuse. Not only would the prize make my fees considerably lighter, there is a huge amount of prestige involved in receiving an award from CUP, so it seems that participating in the competition can only be a great opportunity.
Though I will discuss whichever publishing trends interest me, my blog will focus around branding and lifestyle within the industry. I am interested in how publishing houses and self-publishing individuals are able to prescribe to their audience particular lifestyles through use of social media. Blogs and YouTube channels intentionally show a certain lifestyle, but now consumers are targeted in ways they may not realise. Fans of Jamie Oliver may just believe themselves to be finding out his recommended way to roast a chicken when flicking through one of his recipe books, but in fact probably find that they long for his way of living.
I want to discover why this style of publication continues to rise in popularity. Why do books and blogs want to show us how we could live? Do the books sell more as we want something to aspire to? Are we simply uninterested in the old fashioned recipe text book and the informative product review? Did this new genre become popular simply because it was what the consumer wanted, or is it because we cannot escape from marketing and advertising due to the widespread use of social media?
I want to learn more about this trend because I am fascinated by what it means for the future of the publishing industry. The author as a brand has been a popular marketing notion within publishing for a while, but now it seems that there is more scope for crossover with other consumer industries, and there is a huge focus on spending in order to obtain the dream lifestyle as seen in publications. It seems logical that in the future books may contain more product placement, and could perhaps even be sponsored by companies. I hope that this blog can be used as a base to discuss the trend and to share ideas about what might happen next in this area of publication.
Thanks for reading!