Recap of January 2019 Event: Publicity Via “Influencers”

Our January luncheon, Publicity Via “Influencers”: Rethinking the Ways You Connect Readers to Content, featured a lively discussion about influencers and how they might help spread the word about your books.

Panelists Katharine Bolin (founder and owner of Sweet Reach Media), Ali Kirby (director of community growth and business development for Collective Bias), and Alex Steinman (co-founder of The Coven) shared their insights, tips, and best practices for augmenting traditional publicity and marketing campaigns with these strategic partnerships.

An audio recording from this event is available to members in Member Resources. Are you a member and don’t have the password to access the recordings? Please contact

Recap of May Event: Diversity in Publishing

Hannah Ehrlich, director of marketing and publicity at multicultural children’s book publisher Lee & Low Books, discussed the state of diversity in publishing.

Using a recent study of children’s literature, she found that while the representation of diverse characters was improving, there is still a great deal of work to do in promoting equity among authors. For example, Black, Latinx and Native authors combined wrote only 7% of the new children’s books published in 2017. Hannah then discussed the results of Lee & Low’s 2015 Diversity Baseline Study, which revealed that representation of several marginalized populations is also lacking behind the scenes at publishing companies. Editorial departments are overwhelmingly white, female, straight, and non-disabled. Hannah highlighted useful institutions and initiatives that are helping to bring forward underrepresented authors and recruit and retain diverse publishing professionals. She concluded by suggesting thought-exercises and readings to challenge our perceptions and unintentional sources of bias.

An audio recording from this event is available to members in Member Resources.

Recap of March Event: Beyond Bookstores

At the March MBPR luncheon, Nichole Schiele, Manager of Specialty Market Sales for The Quarto Group, Molly Mortensen, Sales Representative from Anne McGilvray & Company, and Audrey Matson, Owner of Egg|Plant Urban Farm Supply in St. Paul, MN shared best practices and successful ways to launch unique books in non-traditional retail environments.

We began the luncheon with Nichole, who discussed the chain of specialty sales at The Quarto Group, as well as tips for reaching out to corporations and specialty stores. Molly then discussed the role of outside sales reps and their relationships with both publishers and retailers. Lastly, Audrey emphasized the important role that books play in her store and how they have presented as growth opportunities. See below for a link to the audio recording. Thanks to everyone for a great event!

An audio recording from this event is available to members in Member Resources.

Recap of January Event: Marketing Case Studies

In today’s fast-paced and highly saturated publishing environment, a book’s success is often dependent on a creative and ambitious marketing endeavor.

The first MBPR luncheon of 2018 featured Panelists Vanessa Wright, Steve Roth, and Dan Verdick exploring the goals and strategies driving their campaigns, challenges faced, and how each campaign helped effectively bring its book to the people who matter most—readers.

An audio recording from this event is available to members in Member Resources.

Recap of November Event: The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th Edition

At the November 2017 luncheon, Carol Fisher Saller, renowned author and long-time editor of The Chicago Manual of Style’s online Q&A, gave a keynote presentation introducing the seventeenth edition of The Chicago Manual of Style.

Saller began by taking the audience through the previous sixteen editions of The Chicago Manual of Style’s and discussing how and when it received its now-familiar traits, such as its orange and blue color scheme. Saller then focused her address on each new change to the seventeenth edition, going chapter by chapter to explain the rationale behind each adjustment. She ended her presentation with helpful information about the launch of the online edition and directions for purchasing the new Manual. After concluding, Saller spent time with MBPR and PEN members.

An audio recording from this event is available to members in Member Resources.

Recap of September Event: The Future of Book Design

At the September 2017 luncheon, Brian Donahue, the founder of bedesign, Daniel Leary, the creative director of MHS Press, and Mary Austin Speaker, the creative director of Milkweed Editions, gathered to discuss how book design has been changing over the last few years and will continue to change into the future.

Moderator David Farr began the panel with past. All three panelists discussed how their job is increasingly expanding due to efforts to save money at the printers. Contrary to common belief, these designers are much less tied down by cost-saving paper choices. The second half of the conversation turned to a discussion on how designer can stay valuable and relevant in an increasingly templated design world.

Mary Austin Speaker spoke about specializing in a type of design (such as covers), while all three panelists praised the foresight of designers who don’t go all-in into a certain type of product or coding software. The panel ended with a short demonstration from Brian Donahue of a book app that expands book art from the physical to the digital, and allows for multi-media-based reading experiences. For these designers, at least, the future is a shiny thing. Thanks to all attendees and participants for an interesting, exciting event!

An audio recording from this event are available to members in Member Resources.

Recap of January Event: Your Software: Strategic Asset or Strategic Albatross?

The first MBPR luncheon of 2017 featured Don Leeper, founder of Bookmobile, as the keynote speaker.

He presented an overview of the software used in the publishing industry, along with the challenges of maintaining it in an ever-changing environment. Drawing on examples from Bookmobile’s history, he tackled the benefits and costs of build-your-own versus license-and-adapt. He then ended with an in-depth discussion of Bookmobile’s Tasora Books, a case study of the decision-making process for using software in a new venture.

An audio recording and slide deck from this event are available to members in Member Resources. Thanks to everyone for a great event!

Recap of November Event: Soft Skills of Editing

At the November MBPR luncheon, Josh Leventhal, interim director of the Minnesota Historical Society Press, Madeleine Vasaly, project manager at Quarto Publishing Group, and Kellie Hultgren, freelancer and founder of KMH Editing, gathered to discuss the soft skills needed to establish a successful career as an editor.

To begin the discussion, moderator Laura Zats, editorial manager of Wise Ink Creative Publishing and literary agent at Red Sofa Literary, asked the panelists to first address how they set the stage for positive collaboration with their authors. The panelists continued to discuss how they decide which battles — such as writing style, content, structure, timeline, etc.—are worth fighting with their authors and how they fight those battles. The second half of the conversation focused on the relationship between an editor and the rest of the publishing house, including the design, marketing, and sales departments.

An audio recording of this event is available to members in Member Resources. Thanks to all for an interesting, informative event!

Recap of September Event: Alternative Book Events

At the September MBPR luncheon, Emily Cain, Development and Events Manager for Friends of the Hennepin County Library, Joanna R. Demkiewicz, co-founder and editorial director of The Riveter and publicist for Milkweed Editions, Jeff Kamin, Senior Producer of Performance Programs for Minnesota Public Radio and moderator & producer of Books & Bars, and Moheb Soliman, Program Director for the local Arab American arts organization Mizna, shared ways to creatively organize alternative, partnered book events.

The panelists began by discussing what an alternative event means for their organizations and how they choose the best partners for their events. Moderator Jennie Goloboy asked panelists to describe how they work with partners to create a successful event; suggestions included putting together a written partnership agreement and being forthcoming with partners about exceptions for the event. We ended the panel discussion with each presenter discussing some of their favorite local literary events.

An audio recording of this event is available to members in Member Resources. Thanks to everyone for a great event!

Recap of May Event: Best Practices in Project Management: Examples in Book Publishing

The May MBPR luncheon was the last of the 2015-2016 season. MBPR members voted for new and incumbent directors to the board; those elected will serve from 2016-2018. MBPR ended the year in the black, with $16,370 total assets as of May 18, 2016. Our membership continues to hold steady: this season we had 74 individual and organizational members, with over half of those occurring during the first month of the membership drive. The annual MBPR membership dues help fund our major expenditures each season, including luncheon events and keynote presenters, an annual “pitch fest,” and continued support of monthly Happy Hours in partnership with MN Publishing Tweet Up.

Our May luncheon topic was best practices in project management. Rachel Holscher from BookMobile started out with a discussion of time management. She demonstrated BookMobile’s scheduling tool, Smartsheet, and how it helps them standardize timelines and share progress with their clients. Andrew DeYoung from Augsburg Fortress moved on to cost management and explained how clear communication about costs drives project management decision-making. And Jaime Taylor from Capstone ended with scope management, presenting an overview from the PMBOK Guide (Project Management Institute) and tools to help “rightsize” your project management approach.

An audio recording and slide decks from this event are available to members in Member Resources. Thanks to everyone for a great event!