Electronic Publishing has Created Opportunity

The publishing industry has been revolutionised by the digital age.


  • Computer technology has impacted on print media in many ways:

  • Fewer printed publications are selling

  • Advertising is more difficult to sell in print media

  • People now seek information more on the internet, and less in books

Even free to air broadcast media has been impacted, and with increasing dissemination of programs via podcasts, internet etc; the broadcast media seems set to be impacted even more.

It is now possible for just about anyone to produce and publish electronically.

Publishing a web site, podcast or e zine is not just a matter of being able to use a computer though. To be commercially viable, you must collect together a variety of skills (eg. marketing, writing, graphics, technical/programming, etc); either employing others, taking in partners, or learning them yourself.

Storing and Editing Images

Given that most images used in technical writing are stored on computers, there are different types of computer file used to store images. Generally speaking, the following files are commonly used: 

  • TIFF: These files are the choice of publishers as well as other professionals such as graphic designers and photographers. They are ideal for storing images which are going to be used in print because they can store a huge amount of information with no loss to quality. Printed images are sharp and exact.

  • JPEG: Used for graphics published on the internet. It enables images to be reduced in size though it does compress them slightly. It is the best choice for compatibility across PC and Mac platforms. However, it is the worst choice for some uses such as logos and line art because it often blurs edges, lines, and text - and it can add a blotchy or blocky appearance known as an 'artefact'. It also cannot be used for transparencies. 
  • PNG: Also used for internet graphics. It allows for files to be made smaller without loss of image quality. It is another excellent choice line print, as well as logos.
  • GIF: Again, these files are used for internet graphics but they are the oldest file technology and many consider it to be the poorest choice. Whilst it allows for small file sizes and fast uploading, it only supports 256 colours. However, it can be used to create animations and is fine for use with logos and line print. It is also a good choice for clip art and drawn graphics that do not use many colours.

Other file formats which may be used have to be opened by specific software. Of these, PDF files are one of the most useful for technical writing because they can be used to preserve the content (layout, fonts, and images) of any source file regardless of what application software was used to create it. The file can be opened using Adobe® Reader which is available as a free download. These files are sometimes used for digital, commercial or desktop printing.

What is Involved in Publishing Something?

In general, the production manager or controller is the person responsible for turning the manuscript into a finished, delivered product. Often, the editor, publisher and production controller work as a team to oversee and manage the process. The production controller’s tasks may include costing and budgeting, acquiring necessary material resources like typesetting and human resources such as illustrators, scheduling the publication process and, in conjunction with the editor and market department, establish the publication specifications (size, number of pages, number of copies). 

The production cycle is generally composed of the following steps:

1.  Writing or commissioning the document (for commissioned works); accepting a manuscript for publication
2.  Editing and proofreading
3.  Designing the document and preparing artwork 
4.  Formatting and preparation for online.
5.  Submitting online.
6.  Marketing of the online publication.

Whether it is an electronic publication or print media publication, there are four main categories of costs:
1.  Creation costs
2.  Production costs
3.  Marketing costs
4.  Distribution costs

Newcomers often expect the major cost to be in creation of the publication; but in today's highly competitive world, that isn't always the case. The cost of production, marketing and distribution can be surprisingly high even for e-publishing.

If you want to develop a career or be active (in some other way) in this industry, a good starting point might be the ACS Certificate in Electronic Journalism.


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