Monday, January 11, 2010

UNESCO Creative Cities, Publishing Houses and Lao Writers

Previously, we discussed  the Creative City Networks proposed by UNESCO. For writers, one resource UNESCO sought was: Quality, quantity and diversity of editorial initiatives and publishing houses.

I find this a very fascinating. What is an ideal climate to generate resources for Lao American artists to thrive in? For Lao in the United States, I wish to see by 2020 at least 10 solid publishing houses for Lao writers to submit work to and develop successful careers that meet our cultural needs.

We already have a few publishers developing, most focusing on children's literature. This is understandable and admirable, however I also hope to see Lao American publishers commit to developing excellent books for adults as well, and to encourage a reading beyond the merely practical, but also for leisure over our lifetimes.

A growth in Lao American publishers will ideally be able to exist in a complementary coexistence with other mainstream and international publishers to encourage Lao and others to read and celebrate literacy. In particular, Lao publishers must be bold enough to risk printing work that may offend some sensibilities. Without that courage, that willingness to express an opinion, we stagnate and fall far short of our potential.

The Center for Independent Publishing discussed what it would take to become a good publisher:
"Before becoming a publisher, you should decide the level of commitment you are willing to put into your business and how you will deal with your business through the difficult times. You should consider how you will fund your company, what your editorial concept and niche will be, how many books you will realistically be able to publish, and how you will market those books for your target audience. After determining a plan, you should begin to put it into action, making sure your program runs on a consistent schedule. Remember, the quality and consistency of the books you publish is more important than the number of books. Through consistent business methods, you will begin to build a credible reputation for your publishing company."

Something to think about.

There are publishing companies who developed with only $10,000 to start up. That's less than $1,000 a month for a year. This will make it a very barebones company, but it has potential. I encourage starting with at least $20,000 to really get a good beginning. Ultimately, I'm encouraged by the idea that the cost of entry isn't as high as one might think for a small publisher, especially compared to the costs of starting other businesses.

No comments: