“Nothing ever happens like you imagine it will… but then again, if you don’t imagine, nothing ever happens at all.”
― John Green, Paper Towns
After about an hour of trying to predict the future of publishing, I arrived at the following conclusions:
1. Predict what you want, but don’t publish it. As the famous quote goes, a lawyer’s mistakes are hung, a doctor’s mistakes are buried, but a writer’s mistakes are published.
2. When you go wrong with publishing, you can blame technology. No such luck for predictions!
3. You don’t need a time machine to get your publishing right (We can help you with it.).
4. Publishing is as different from predictions as a thesis is from a hypothesis.
5. Publishing can get hazardous, especially when you get it wrong (That’s where you get the ‘don’t try this at home — or your workplace’ disclaimer).
6. If you can’t write the future, then you sure can’t publish it.
However, there are times when reason deserts us and we try to stare into a crystal ball, however hazy it might be, and try to prognosticate the future. If we had it our way, we would even try to influence it, but thankfully, a rapidly approaching deadline or a rapidly receding opportunity rushes us back to reality and we get back to regular work at our regular desk.
This is one of those rare times when I disregarded all the fires around me and proceeded to venture where no man had ever gone before — into the future of publishing. Here are my findings.
1. Everything will be published under one roof
Not literally. But figuratively speaking, yes. The entire process of publishing will be integrated by a software that will manage it all and at the press of a button, deliver the published content at the desired destination. No running after individual resources or trying to bring together different members of a team. Technology will do it. Resources could be located across the globe, but they will all work seamlessly on one project. Again, technology will make it happen.
Wait a minute! Isn’t this already happening? Sort of, yes, but one can see a future where this will be the norm. There will be no Tom n Jerry shows in the publishing industry, with the Editor chasing someone to get a project completed. Nor will there be a roadrunner show, where one would need to spring a trap and wait for someone. Effective networking and easy availability of resources would mean zero waiting — and zero baiting!
2. End-to-end publishing will be the name of the game
That’s right. Publishing will not end with the completion of the product, be it in print or in digital. On one end, publishing will span the spectrum of diagnostics, in-depth analysis of content before it gets published and even contract validation and management. On the other, it will see the published content through the stages of marketing, sampling, author liaison, reviews, feedback and updates in subsequent editions.
So a publisher/author is not left on his/her own after content has been published. He/She is guided/aided at every stage of the content cycle and well into the next content cycle, when it’s time for updates and reprints. You can add author interactions, market interactions and interactions with subject experts to this large basket of offerings.
3. Media-independent publishing will prevail
We are already familiar with different mediums for publishing, some traditional and the rest, technology-based. Be it print or electronic or digital or social-media related, content can be effortlessly repurposed or reused for any medium. With minimal to zero effort. In absolutely no time at all. No reworking the content. No duplication of the publishing process (or parts of it). No overlaps in the stages involved. The publishing platform will do it for you. Once you choose your mode of output, you can sit back and relax.
It goes without saying that the quality and consistency you expect will be delivered. And of course, the uniqueness of each media will be preserved, so output in one form doesn’t look like an imitation of the output in another medium.
4. Technology will be the hero, more than ever!
Content Management Systems. CSS. Workflow Management Systems. Artificial Intelligence. In-built workflow engines. Machine Learning. Cloud-based technologies. Virtual assistants. Chances are, this list isn’t even skimming the surface of what technology will be like and the role that it will play in publishing in the near future. The question is, as a publisher or an editor, how ready are you for it?
Welcome to a future where everyone and everything is online, so distance, time and bottlenecks are taken out of the equation. With technology comes the concern of security — this has been well taken care of, with secure access, and role-based permissions along the workflow, so only the authorized personnel get access to relevant stages of the project.
The other big question is that of open access, which has been touted as the way all publishing will go, especially in academics, science and technology. How prepared are publishing houses and editorial departments for this new paradigm shift?
5. Publishing for all (anyone can become a publisher)
One of the positive outcomes of open access is not that content is open to all readers, but also that the engine room of publishing is opened out for anyone to become a publisher. Write, design, collaborate, share and market content without having to be dependent on larger publishing firms or existing publishing protocols. Create your own rules just as you create your own content.
That day is not too far away.
Truth be told, you don’t have to wait for years to witness the future of publishing. In fact, it’s right here. Contact us for a demo — that will give you a window to what publishing will be like globally, and what it is like today, at PageMajik!