GUEST POST BY ALISON BAVERSTOCK
I'd like to thank my friend Alison Baverstock for contributing this exclusive guest post for my Google Plus feed. Alison is organizing a self publishing conference to take place February 25 in Portland, Oregon. I'll be there. If you're nearby, come join us!
Now on with her post:
Why an understanding of change within publishing is now being developed within universities
by Alison Baverstock
I began my working life as a publisher, but spotted early the irony that despite managing so much content, the publishing industry reflected relatively little on itself. Combining freelance work within the industry with raising a young family, I started trying to explore and chronicle the processes of publishing. The result was a series of books which were (just as I had hoped) used by the industry. But they also made their way into universities, to support courses in the newly established discipline of Publishing Studies; fast becoming a standard route into the industry.
I followed them, co-establishing the MA Publishing program at Kingston University in 2006 – of which I am now Course Leader. We recruit internationally and a consistently significant percentage of our cohort comes from the US. We offer an MA in one year (although it can be taken part-time over two), our qualification has a worldwide cachet and our graduates are very successful in obtaining employment.
While my work on chronicling publishing has continued – I am currently working on the 5th edition of How to market books – I was fascinated by the rise of self-publishing, and this became my main research focus.
My exploration of the principles of self-publishing – The Naked Author – came out in 2011 (foreword by Mark Coker) and I have continued with a series of related research projects.
Doing this from inside a university is a definite plus. Not only can I draw on the support and interest of colleagues – for my new research into how self-publishing is impacting on the freelance editorial market I am working with colleagues from our faculty of Business and Law – I am also immersed in an atmosphere of significant stakeholders.
Healthcare apart, there can be few other disciplines within the academy that are of interest to the entire community; overlaps between the processes of academic publishing and self-publishing are particularly significant.
And so to Portland Oregon, where I will be with Mark Coker on Tuesday 25th February 2014. I am currently working with Professor Per Henningsgaard of Portland University on an international research project into how profession-based subjects fare within the academy. What began as discussion over coffee at an academic conference has now grown into an international collaboration involving university colleagues in four continents – and we will be discussing this at the AWP in Seattle.
This handily gives us an opportunity to bring together key movers within self-publishing from the US and UK, and to share our progress and ideas within a US university. At Portland University on 25th February 2014 we are running a day on self-publishing for staff and students. In addition to Mark and me, Jill Kelly of The Northwest Independent Editors Guild (US) will explore the role of the editor and how to work towards material that can be shared with confidence, and Eela Devani of Bloomsbury Publishers (UK) will consider how the market is developing, and in particular how to maximise the potential of work online.
Online communication is a wonderful thing. But through seeking to get greater value from our travel, this one-off, first-hand gathering of key people within self-publishing on 25th February is undeniably significant. University colleagues and students will occupy the majority of the places, but additional spaces are available (£55/$90 which includes a free copy of The Naked Author).
For more information please go to https://www.writersandartists.co.uk/writers/services/publishing-route
Where is self-publishing going next? Join us, listen to the debate – and be part of publishing history.