Key Occupational Areas within the Creative Industries.

Imagine: you’ve been slaving away for months and a publisher tells you that your book is worth putting out there. Fast forward and it is flying off the shelves (well, maybe more the digital shelves – thanks a lot, Amazon) – the people love it, and you’re left feeling humbled and energized that your work can be touching people’s lives. Sounds good, doesn’t it?

My chosen vocational area within the Creative Industries would fall under the umbrella of Publishing  seeing as I want to not only write, but also, obviously – have it seen and revered for the fantastic work I’m sure it will be.

Employ Me

The most popular jobs within the sector are: Editorial Assistant; Production Assistant; Marketing Assistant; and Assistant to a Literary Agent[1]. For freelance it’s quite different: there’s, most obviously, this – the Blog. There’s also the opportunity to become a Magazine Freelancer, Ghostwriting, Press Releases, and  writing an E-book[2].

Some of the roles/responsibilities for becoming an Editorial Assistant are:

  • Proofreading and checking accuracy
  • Planning and organising the projects
  • Commissioning articles
  • Meeting with the authors and marketers themselves – it would help to know the people with whom you work.

Generally administrative tasks include acting as a personal assistant to other editors, organising projects to a strict schedule, and the generic filing and photocopying [3] – sounds fun!

Magazine freelancers tend to write mostly for two areas, namely: Consumer titles, which include the general and the esoteric; and also customer magazines, such as what you’ll find in shops [4]. Some of the responsibilities a freelancer may be confronted by are:

  • Initially researching the story
  • Making sure the style of the article is safe within the publishing house
  • Ensuring your work is well-written – no one will want to hire you if you can’t right proply
  • Conducting interviews is key

With smaller magazines, you may have to do more of the roles yourself, such as the design stage and general administration – scheduling, dealing with the paperwork and the contacts.

For writing an e-book, you’d have to take the above two roles and combine them. Everything is your work. You choose your own style, you probe your own prose, you do your own research…really, you do everything. A fantastic example of this is really The Martian by Andy Weir – he put the novel on his blog for free, a chapter at a time, and then put the completed book on Amazon, where it was greatly received (fantastic novel, by the way)[5].

The Digital Revolution.

This changed absolutely EVERYTHING with how we work within Publishing, Journalism and Creative Writing. Research? – Who needs a library when you have this wealth of information at your disposal from the comfort of your own home? We have more access to other styles of writing, other people’s ideas and we can get feedback on our work (a friend of mine is on a site, The Bearwhere he does just that).

Interviews no longer need to be done in person, as you can Skype – which has made things a lot easier: you still have the non-verbal communication which you have in a face-to-face interview, but now time constraints aren’t as massive an issue.

When it comes to writing and publishing a book, the Digital Revolution has made this so much easier. Any work you put on the internet can be copied a virtually unlimited number of times, you don’t have to take up much resources (again, The Martian – did I recommend that already?)

If you just want your work to be read, and you don’t care about making a lot of money or by what means people read it, go on and start writing that e-book! (Though, I still prefer physical books – the smell, the feel, even being able to see what others are reading out in public. The internet seems a good place to start, even for practise if nothing else.)

The DR also lead to great developments in synergy and cross-pollination of skills – anything we do within one sector will help us in another. So you have experience with advertising but want to publish a book? Well you’ll know what the people want, for a start, and you’ll know how to give it to them – it’s just changing how you give it to them.

So with the dawning of the digital era, it’s brought about more useful and different transferable skills, chiefly IT literacy. You’re not going to get very far within the Creative Industries if you can’t work a computer. However, the most important skill is creativity itself – it can’t exactly be taught. Being able to take your creativity with you is vital if you’re to survive in any sector.

(Now for the fun stuff…)

The Legal Side

Legally, in this vocational area, one must watch out with the Defamation Law (Acts from 1952, 1996, and 2013). This Act is basically in place to make sure we don’t try and bring malicious false statements to the public eye as, if it’s not true and can seriously damage someone’s reputation, don’t say it[6]

One must also be wary that, when interviewing someone – for a freelance magazine article, for example – that the person gives their consent and that it is documented.

Another is that you should always make sure that what you publish is your work. Plagiarism ain’t good. There’s the whole notion of “intellectual property” so make sure what ever you’re spraffing about is yours to spraff about, as well as there being a copyright on any image you’re likely to use. Be careful. If self-employed, as well as making sure you don’t rip off others’ work, make sure they don’t rip off yours! Pay to get your stuff copyrighted, if you have to. You don’t want others to get praise for something you’ve done.

Health and Safety.

Okay, so there’s a pretty glaring Health and Safety concern if you’re wanting to go into Journalism: make sure that you’re not entering a war-zone. That’s a good way to stay safe – don’t go wandering into the line of danger, and make sure you have travel/health insurance if needed.

As well with even covering a traumatic court case, it can have a negative effect on your own well-being, and be cautious, obviously, of trying to cover a riot or a large group of people – people can be mercurial and you don’t want to involve yourself too much if you don’t have to, what with fear of being trampled[7].