Let’s face it, publishing has gone through many evolutions, with more folks getting published who may not necessarily have a background in Journalism. Newspapers are losing money, some have gone bankrupt (and shut their doors), and many journalists are being forced to re-evaluate their place in news media.
Journalists often have to put themselves in many different places, hence differentiating their own writing experience from that of the person who wrote from home or the walls of a library. Sometimes they put their own lives in danger, living in war zones, reporting from disaster areas, and more. This job requires risk-taking, a good eye for seeing the bigger picture, and an ability to find the facts (and present them accordingly).
Several things that I’ve learned while working with my clients (who have a journalism background) include:
1. Journalists are always professional, courteous, and hard-workers. Their queries reflect this, as well as their willingness to work collaboratively on perfecting their book proposals.
2. Journalists often bring a noticeable writing platform, and a willingness to expand it even more. It’s very rare that I need to ask someone with a journalism background to work on his/her platform. Any agent can tell you, we LOVE when there is motivation on a writer’s part to accomplish a noticeable writing platform.
3. Journalists will try new ideas, new experiences. I have no statistics to back this up, but many folks I do know with a noticeable online writing presence were print journalists initially. This progressive line of thinking, of adjusting to all methods available where news is presented and disseminated for the public, is a fantastic trait to bring to book publishing.
4. Journalists take the time to research their reading Market, as well as the many possiblities for Promotion. When reading queries and book proposals, this type of research will stand out, usually resulting a desire to work on those projects (at the agency.)
For the writers who desire to be published without a journalism background, there are a few things to learn from this. While getting a degree in journalism may not be possible, or needed nowadays, it’s essential that one engagesthe new media continuum, does thorough research for any book idea, promotes oneself, builds a writing platform, and brings a noticeable professionalism to the business of publishing. It will result in a better publishing experience.
Links on Journalism, its future, and where to go: