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Michelle’s commentary on books, digital publishing and intersections between fiction & reality

The power of publishing and the importance of independent publishers

August 20, 2021

As someone who wants to work in the book publishing industry one day, I’m constantly drawing parallels between that realm and the publishing work we do here at LexBlog. My passion for both comes from the core desire to make things more accessible and drive change.

At LexBlog, that involves uplifting legal bloggers who break down the law in a more understandable fashion. By giving these lawyers a platform and helping them achieve success with their blogging efforts, we’re doing our part in making the law more accessible to the general public.

When it comes to books, publishing usually comes from one of the Big 5 (Penguin Random House, Harper Collins, Simon and Schuster, Macmillan and Hachette Book Group). But, things are changing—self-publishing is becoming more and more popular and independent book publishers are popping up all over the place.

Via Morissa Schwartz at Entrepreneur:

Independent publishers operate very similarly to the Big 5 publishers, but are often more open to diverse authors and genres. Usually, their publication catalogues offer a wider breadth of genres tailored more toward current trends and reader enjoyment instead of award-chasing.

While most authors dream of signing a deal with one of the Big 5, indie publishers offer a more feasible route. They often work directly with the author rather than an agent, and—as Schwartz notes—they can be more receptive to different types of content.

Words are powerful and stories are at the forefront of creating change. Indie publishers have become that driving force the publishing industry needs:

Diverse, inclusive books are crucial to create positive change in the world, and traditionally underrepresented authors in the publishing industry deserve a chance to showcase their writing talents. Independent publishers are the starting point to ensure these stories are read, enjoyed and consumed by the public.

The Big 5 do hold the most power, though, and I hope that the increase in successful books from independent publishers will cause them to relook their catalogue. I’d love to see more untold and diverse stories coming out of these publishers.

I like to think of LexBlog as the same type of agent for change that indie publishers are. We’re selective in welcoming blogs on board in the way that we strive for authentic authorship and original insight and analysis—just as indie publishers still have specific quality guidelines.

But, when we see a lawyer doing things right, we use our platform to uplift them to the best of our abilities. We want to see the law become more accessible and diverse perspectives are at the forefront of that effort—similar to Schwartz’s thoughts on book publishing:

I like to say that our authors make a positive impact on the world one word at a time. Through our books, we would like to make that a literal reality. That’s the power of independent book publishing.

This post first appeared on 99 Park Row.

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