Speaking as a publishing recruiter and author

The best talent isn't always in the most obvious places

Mining dollars from the digital age. It’s what every publisher is concerned with lately. In my day job as recruiter, as I like to say, I’ve clinically observed publishers struggling with the new realities. By night, as I assume my guise as publisher and author, I join in the industry’s goal to utilize the latest e-tools to sell content.

Most publishers already have the tools to bring their message to their target audience. Some publishers, however, aren’t using them effectively. As an author I see the possibilities and in some cases recognize what adjustments a publishing company should make. In other cases the fix requires new personnel adept at realizing the enormous potential of the latest e-techniques. As a recruiter I understand the challenge of undertaking this kind of a talent search given all the implications cited in my newsletter.

In general, the kinds of talent in demand have changed with the times. Good editorial executives now have to come with more understanding of the business of publishing than ever before. I enjoy finding and qualifying these prospects. More and more, however, a common challenge transferred to me by my clients is to find effective marketing people. People that combine the best practices of traditional marketing with the latest e-marketing techniques are difficult to identify since sometimes they are not in the most obvious places. There are good people where you’d expect them to be but to find the optimum candidate one has to think expansively about the talent pool. There is undiscovered talent that don’t even have a degree in marketing. Or are not even in publishing.

Publishing has changed by necessity. The industry is a lot smaller and many people have been displaced. Unfortunately, I’ve noted that a number of high level executives have had to accept downward mobility in title and salary. For some, in the latter stages of their careers, the transition is acceptable. For others it’s a heavy price to pay to remain in the embattled industry they love. And yet, there are oases of success in this new era.

The industry is still evolving but the seeds have already been sown for its next incarnation. Can there be any doubt, for instance, that textbooks will contain animation to illustrate a lesson? Can interactive graphics be far behind? I know it’s already on the drawing board so to speak.

The final chapter has not been written for the industry. Many changes, exciting and otherwise, are yet to come so observations like these will have to be constantly updated. But one can see that those updates will indicate an ever more vibrant industry and workplace.

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