Friday, July 1, 2016

We're Talkin' Gravitas: Our Guide to 31 New Publishing Terms

Defying gravity
The publishing industry is a chaotic mess these days. We spend half our time chasing every flavor-of-the-month new business model and the other half clinging to old concepts like profitability and complete sentences.

Into the breach steps the Dead Tree Edition Research Institute and Tiddlywinks Club, today unveiling a 31-part  series that explores cutting-edge publishing terms. Rather than celebrating National Doghouse Repair Month, we'll spend each day of July introducing a word that will help our fellow publishing peeps CYA as you stray from the CMYK world into the land of multiple media.

Our inaugural Publishing Word of the Day is "gravitas" -- a reminder that all that digital stuff may be cool but that print is still the source of our credibility (and still pays most of the bills). "Gravitas" is an old-fashioned term that originally meant "seriousness" or "weightiness" but took on new life recently when a publishing executive denied rumors that her magazine was going digital only.

"There's a gravitas about the print page that you can't replace," replied the editor of that esteemed women's studies journal, Penthouse magazine.

She was referring to that special quality of print that makes Penthouse "readers" gasp and exclaim, "OMG, those are some seriously weighty melons!" Or perhaps she was confusing "gravitas" with "gravity defying."

Today's lesson for publishers is that achieving gravitas requires the three Ps: Pump young women full of silicone, call them Pets, and exhibit them in Print.

Tomorrow's Word of the Day: Long-Form Journalism

For additional reading: 13 (Made-Up) Terms That Will Help You Understand Publishing in 2016, an article I wrote early this year for Publishing Executive. This Word of the Day series will feature a few terms that PubExec's editors thought were NSFW.

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