Recap of March Event: Career Advancement in the Field of Publishing

At the March MBPR luncheon, Amy Lindgren, President of Prototype Career Service, nationally syndicated columnist (, and guest expert on Minnesota Public Radio, shared thoughts and experience on career advancement in the field of publishing.

Amy began her presentation by noting that publishing, like all fields, has changed tremendously in recent years. Impacted by everything from technology to globalization to the rise in self-publishing, the field has needed to be agile to stay relevant. As many of us know, with so much going on, it’s easy to lose track of personal career management. With that in mind, Amy asked attendees to consider what keeps them interested in publishing. The audience was provided with a helpful worksheet that laid out three “areas” of publishing to consider (enterprise publishing, publishing as a function, and publishing as a service), several career discovery questions, and some general advancement tips and tools.

An audio recording and the worksheet from this event are available to members in Member Resources. Thanks to Amy and all the attendees for a great event!

Recap of November Event: Contract Negotiations 101

Freelance copyeditor and writer Paula L. Fleming, author business consultant and former agent Laurie Harper, and Hazelden Publishing’s Executive Director of Operations, Lenny Peterson, brought their own perspectives on contract negotiations. Lenny explained that a publisher’s primary goal is consistency in contracts; Paula, that a freelancer is trying to educate the other party on expectations; and Laurie, that an agent’s goal is to protect the client from a worst-case scenario.

The panelists covered what authors should and should not expect to see in a contract. Determining when a book is out-of-print is an especially pressing issue in an era of e-books. What happens if a publisher decides not to publish must also be considered. As a freelancer, Paula was especially concerned with overly restrictive non-compete clauses that will inhibit her from future work. However, an author should not expect to be given final say over the title, and marketing plans are never included in contracts.

The panelists agreed that tone was also important in negotiating a contract. Total inflexibility is a sign that the relationship might be a difficult one, as was a hyper-focus on the advance. A phone conversation, rather than an email, can often build consensus. At the same time, each party must be willing to walk away.

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

Recap of September Event: Leveraging Intellectual Property with Content Management Systems

Presenter Colleen Cunningham of F+W Media discussed her company’s experience investing in a content management system (CMS). She explained how in the new workflow, editors marked up finalized manuscripts with XML tags to describe the content since editors know the content best. XML is a format-agnostic tool that keeps elastic assets and is great for storage, repurposing, and future-proofing. Once manuscripts are imported into the CMS, all further edits are completed here, in a central location, instead of separately in print and digital products. The CMS can simultaneously export to InDesign for print, EPUB for ebooks, and HTML for websites. When exported to one of these options, the XML tags run through a filter and automatically sync up with the paragraph styles and character styles (InDesign) or CSS (EPUB and HTML) already set up in a template. This was especially beneficial for long-running series with consistent, templated styles.

Colleen impressed the importance of using CMS with the correct types of books: those containing content that is easily repurposed and leveraged, such as cookbooks, whose recipes could be regrouped into new books (ex: Quickly publish a cookbook on a new fad diet by searching the CMS for recipes that match the diet). In F+W’s experience, once the CMS was set up and people were trained, it saved lots of time and allowed designers and production to focus more on 4-color craft books and other high-selling titles that need extra design attention.

An audio recording and the slides from Colleen’s presentation are available to members in Member Resources. Thanks to everyone for a great event!

Recap of May Event: Successful Publicity Campaigns in the Digital Age

Publicity professionals Alison Aten (Minnesota Historical Society Press), Sammy Bosch (Mighty Media Press), Erin Kottke (Graywolf Press) and Cathy Paper (Cathy Paper, M.A.) were the panelists for MBPR’s May luncheon “Successful Publicity Campaigns in the Digital Age.”

In a flowing discussion covering many aspects of building and executing successful campaigns in the digital age, the panelists started the conversation by providing information on when to start planning. This expanded into a discussion on how far in advance the media needs to be pitched a book, approaches the panelists take when following up with potential reviewers and how a book’s genre impacts how a campaign is built. The panelists explained how their campaigns have changed in the digital age, delving into the role of social media and how an approach varies with each book and author. The luncheon wrapped up with a Q&A session.

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

Recap of March Event: Copyright Essentials for Publishing Professionals

Professor Susan Marsnik was the guest speaker for MBPR’s March luncheon, “Copyright Essentials for Publishing Professionals.”

She gave an overview of different forms of intellectual property rights before expanding the discussion into what makes copyright law complex today: notably, international agreements, differing approaches amongst countries, and digital content. Marsnik explained the eight types of copyrightable subject matter as well as what content is not subject to copyright, including words and short phrases, familiar symbols and designs, and lettering and coloring. Marsnik included tips to help authors and publishers avoid infringing on preexisting works, then delved into recent changes to U.S. copyright standards. The luncheon wrapped up with a lively Q&A.

An audio recording and a PDF of Marsnik’s presentation are available to members in Member Resources. Thanks to everyone for a great event!

Recap of Brew/Pub Social: A Pitch Fest

On January 27, MBPR hosted its first “Pitch Fest,” which gave local authors and freelancers the opportunity to pitch their ideas and services to Twin Cities book and magazine publishers.

The event was held at Fair State Brewing Cooperative, and throughout the evening attendees networked with more than twenty publishing representatives from editorial, production, and design departments, as well delegates from a literary agency, PR firm, and three local magazines (Minnesota Monthly, Paper Darts, and Hazel & Wren).

Recap of January Event: The Changing Role of an Editor

Panelists Heidi Hogg (freelance copyeditor and project manager), Andrew Karre (executive editor at Dutton Children’s Books), and Michael Stoffel (assistant managing editor at the University of Minnesota Press) kicked off the January 2015 MBPR luncheon, “The Changing Role of an Editor: Tools of the Trade.”

The panel was moderated by MBPR board member David Farr. The speakers engaged in an enlightening discussion about how technology has changed the role of editors in light of advances in digital delivery and changes in staffing resources. Topics included the digital workflow and how it affects the earlier stages of the editorial process with tools such as InCopy, XML tagging, and Word macros, and how publishers are working with internal and outside freelancers or services to utilize these resources.

The consensus seemed to be that although tools such as InCopy, Word macros, and XML tagging may seem daunting to learn and use, they are not that difficult to put into practice and can greatly increase the efficiency of the digital workflow. Consultants and services are available to train and help implement new digital processes such as XML tagging.

Another example is importing Word copy into InCopy, making it more compatible with InDesign files, and in this way, authors don’t need to try to learn InCopy to write their manuscripts, a challenging scenario at best. InCopy files can be edited by multiple reviewers and also work with Dropbox, which is an easy way to share files. Word macros can save much time by automating repetitive tasks such as deleting spaces, hard returns, tabs, etc., to clean up manuscripts. is also a great resource for tutorials. The advice of the panel for those wanting to stay up to date with new editorial tools is to learn the Adobe Creative Cloud programs since they are expected to dominate the publishing page design and layout for the foreseeable future.

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

Recap of November Event: Best Practices for Producing Print + Digital Content

Typesetter and ebook developer Laura Brady was the guest speaker for the second MBPR luncheon of the 2014-15 season: “Best Practices for Producing Print + Digital Content.”

She discussed overcoming the print-first mindset and creating flexible assets. To achieve elastic assets, Brady stressed style sheets, consistency, hierarchy, and structure as focal points. She also encouraged the use of built-in tools to create navigation, such as tables of contents, indexes, and endnotes. Brady explained that several old-school typesetting practices just don’t carry over into digital content, such as white spaces and hard hyphens. Instead, she recommended using non-breaking spaces, discretionary hyphens, variable text on master pages in InDesign, and naming assets without spaces or symbols. Furthermore, many font foundries will charge separately for print and digital use, doubling your font costs. She recommended using TrueType and open-source fonts, instead of PostScript fonts. The luncheon concluded with a Q&A delving into more minute details of built-in navigation tools.

An audio recording and a PDF of Brady’s presentation are available to members in Member Resources. Thanks to everyone for a great event!

Recap of September Event: Current Trends at Local Bookstores

Booksellers Judith Kissner (Scout & Morgan), Mary Magers (Magers & Quinn), Katie McGinley (Wild Rumpus), and Martin Schmutterer (Common Good Books) were the panelists for the first MBPR luncheon of the 2014-15 season, “Current Trends in Local Bookstores.”

They discussed how their stores have become destinations for readers, with events that build a sense of community. In terms of trends, they’re especially interested in seeing more books by authors who take an active role in publicizing their books, potential book-club books set in Minnesota (especially in paperback), reprints of beloved, out-of-print picture books, and more inexpensive editions of quality, literary paperbacks. They also agreed that cover design is very important in appealing to readers. While the booksellers will consider taking attractively-packaged self-published books (sometimes on consignment), a very strong local network is crucial to these books’ success. The luncheon concluded with a discussion on the nuts-and-bolts of a successful author event.

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

Recap of May Event: Metadata Management

MBPR was pleased to welcome Laura Dawson, Product Manager for Identifiers at Bowker, to speak at our final lunch of the 2013–14 season.

Laura briefly covered metadata fundamentals before launching into a discussion about how publishers might effectively use and manage metadata so readers can find their books. Topics included discoverability, identifiers vs. metadata, books as websites, and developing a structure for metadata in the content-rich landscape of the web.

The presentation slides are available at Member Resources.