Lynh Mieu launched Bloom Books in 2015 and since then, she has worked with many young authors and their outstanding works.
Career success is based on personal experiences and core values, she said. Here are seven lessons about the publishing industry that Lynh Mieu wants to share.
Publishing is not only about writing
Saying “I love writing so I will pursue publishing” is not enough. In fact, it’s one of the most common misconceptions about the industry. Truth is, writers actually have a great advantage when working in the publishing industry because of their great sensitivity in how written words work.
For example, during the editing process, the editor must understand the secret of the book — how the story flows and which tone the writer sets for their work, thus choosing the right voice to approach the manuscript. In the case of Vietnamese authors, an editor even has to play the role of the author to refine some not-so-good parts.
However, publishing does not mean you can freely interfere in the writer’s work, even if you think your editing would help improve the prose. As an editor, you must put your ego aside to preserve the writer’s voice and make it shine.
In Bloom – a publishing house has high requirements for visuals – word usage is just a part of the story. Those with natural writing ability would keep up with the workflow faster and may have a better kick-off, but that’s not enough. An editor has to work closely with the book cover designer, which involves a lot of communications and an eye for aesthetics.
At this time, publishing doesn’t only revolve around words. When it comes to the industry level, core values, a clear direction, promoting campaigns, and personal development are essential to keep leveraging your brand and products in the long run.
A good book is also judged by its cover
A good, high-quality book definitely needs an excellent story. Nevertheless, the saying “don’t judge a book by its cover” has become old-fashion in modern times.
The publishing industry is not an exception. Nowadays, with countless new titles published annually, audiences are more demanding for books with beautiful jackets not just to read but also to serve as decorations for their homes.
In the beginning, Lynh Mieu has shaped Bloom Books as a book publishing brand associated with BEAUTY, and BEAUTY – the visual perceptions – must be built firmly and consistently from the very first day. To make the works outstanding, Bloom always strives to specify these visual perceptions with our own design philosophy – from book size and typography to design style and color palette for brand identity.
Looking at 10 or 100 books Bloom has published, you would understand the direction we are thoroughly aiming for.
Establishing profound relationships
Most young people who have just set foot in the publishing industry usually raise questions about the salary. As experienced workers in the business, we have a different view on the merit this industry brings to us: the humanitarian values and changes in our inner selves.
Having been on this journey for so long, I rarely lose my temper in any situation. Perhaps, it’s because the working environment and surrounding ecosystem are so comfortable and lovely.
Every day I have opportunities to meet and learn from many interesting people with new values. In this industry, you could easily establish profound relationships with those who have core values in common with you.
As you know, the accumulation of knowledge and relationships are the most important assets that humans in this era could have.
Balance between being a reader and being a publisher
When you become an expert in a particular field, there would be a quite big gap with your general readers. My personal view is that you should never lower the brand’s quality standards at any cost just to meet the fleeting demands or tastes of the majority of readers. Instead, more balanced options should be taken in order to improve readers’ perspective, sense of aesthetics, and mindset.
This is a process of preserving and developing a publisher’s brand, and, at the same time, upgrading our readers’ tastes in reading with high-quality works.
And this is how we try hard every day to leverage the publishing industry.
What is the first step to start off your career in publishing?
To work in any field, the first thing to do is truly understand yourself: your core values and what you are best at. (All types of careers have the same nature with different sets of skills). In publishing, if you are good at either writing, communicating, or marketing, you could give it a try.
After that, find an agent or a publishing house that suits your core value. It’s all about core values, not the publisher of your favorite books. These are totally different things.
Publishing is not a game for dreamers
There is a common belief that any eager reader would be a good fit in the publishing industry or that anyone working in publishing is a dreamer. As I said, “We could see the world through a romantic eye, but be down-to-earth when it comes to the dreams of our own lives.” To see the world through a romantic eye is to love and appreciate the good values in life. To be down-to-earth is to know what you have to do and where you would get to on this journey.
Many people, when looking at Bloom’s books, describe our works as ‘elegant,’ ‘beautiful,’ and ‘nicely done.’ There is a good French word “je ne sais quoi” – an elegant quality that you can feel but be unable to describe by words adequately.
Defining the brand’s core value surrounded by platforms and ecosystems is what Bloom has diligently worked on for the past six years.
Behind an inspiring publishing house are conscientious staff who are very conscious about their work but sometimes could be... uninspired.
After all, we realize that publishing is like how love works. There is no such perfect job. We could only learn how to embrace perfectly what we are doing.
The future of publishing in the industry 4.0 era
Books represent a slow-paced and in-depth lifestyle, which goes against the modern trend where everything is running in a race against time. According to a report I have read, it is projected that 80% more new careers would emerge in 2030. There will be lots of competitiveness and unpredictable things happening in this industry.
I used to worry whether the widespread advent of podcasts, ebooks, and audiobooks on the internet would be the twilight of paper works. But at one point, I realized that the emergence of new trends is not necessarily the termination of traditions.
I believe that no matter how fast our society is going forward, there will always be room for the classics. As people would desire a more ‘slower’ experience to balance themselves with their hectic life.
Bear in mind that to not be left out of development trends in this era, you must keep learning and updating your skill sets.
Adapted by Bich Tram