Event Recaps

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!

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 (twincities.com/lindgren), 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!