Top 5 Publishing Articles/Blog Posts of the Week 12/16-12/20

number_5_redEvery week, we recommend 5 publishing articles/blog posts that supplement the major news for the week. Whether data or industry commentary, we hope these 5 links will be a simple way to keep you in the know. 

A recent survey of 300 Amazon users suggest that owners of inexpensive Kindles spend almost $450 more than other Amazon customers.

How a single post went viral on Tumblr turned new author Cory O’Brien’s book into an overnight bestseller.

Newly released data on how consumers use their tablets raises the question as to whether or not publishers are wasting their time on tablets.

Could the separation between genres in young adult sections in bookstores limit discoverability for readers?

Ebook subscription services Oyster, Scribd, and newly announced Entitle, compete for users and titles, but which will come out on top?

Off the Beaten Path: Rachel Fershleiser

With the increasing fluidity among industries, it’s not unusual for executives to leave traditional publishing roles in favor of new business ventures. In this Off the Beaten Path series, we asked four former traditional publishing professionals how their publishing experience affects their roles in their current companies and what they miss about their old stomping grounds.

Rachel Fershleiser

Literary Community Organizer, Tumblr;
formerly in publicity at William Morrow and Scribner

How has your publishing experience been helpful in your current job/industry?

My job at Tumblr is to help authors, publishers, bookstores, libraries, etc. to understand and use our tools, so it’s invaluable to understand the challenges and goals those people are working with. I see myself as something of a bridge — it’s important that I speak both languages or I’m not much help to anyone.

What can publishing learn from your current job/industry?

We definitely work faster and most experimentally at Tumblr than at the publishers where I’ve worked. We can launch a new project in a few days and make it up as we go along.  I actually think an independent bookstore or small press is more like a startup that way. A lot of publishing houses can learn from them too.

What do you miss about publishing?

I miss being part of a female majority. I miss not being the oldest person in the office at 33. Mostly I miss being around book nerds all the time.

What do you like about your current industry?

I’m really so excited about what online communication can do for all kinds of people, but especially writers and readers. We’re enabling new communities united by passions and interests regardless of oceans, time zones, what you look like and who you are. Famous authors are taking book recommendations from 10th graders. Fans of obscure poets are trading chapbooks. Aspiring novelists are workshopping together. Fandoms are becoming forces for positive change. It’s all pretty incredible.

Off the Beaten Path: Valentina Rice

With the increasing fluidity among industries, it’s not unusual for executives to leave traditional publishing roles in favor of new business ventures. In this Off the Beaten Path series, we asked four former traditional publishing professionals how their publishing experience affects their roles in their current companies and what they miss about their old stomping grounds.

Valentina Rice

Founder, Many Kitchens;
former Vice President, International Sales and Marketing at Penguin

How has your publishing experience been helpful in your current job/industry?

My job in publishing was in sales and marketing both of which have served me well in setting up my new business (manykitchens.com) selling artisanal food online. The producers we promote are customers just as much as the people we sell to and my years of selling books and creating relationships with booksellers were invaluable. There are many similarities in trying to build an audience for a food producer and an author.

What can publishing learn from your current job/industry?

This is a tough one since publishing is so much more established. I suppose since my business is 100% direct to consumers, the focus is very heavily weighted on the website, and I think there is still room for improvement on consumer facing sites in the publishing world.

What do you miss about publishing?

I miss my colleagues and my customers but have kept in touch with many and have fed my need to talk about books by joining a book club.

What do you like about your current industry?

My two big passions are books and food. I spent 15 years working with books and now get to spend my days tasting the best artisanal food that America has to offer. I feel very fortunate to still work with people who are so passionate about what they do.

People Roundup, Mid-December 2013

PEOPLE

Doug Whiteman, Executive Vice President of Business Operations for Penguin, will be leaving the company, effective January 3, to accept the position of Chief Administrative Officer of Acelero Learning, Inc., an early childhood education company which works to improve the delivery of Head Start services at the local level. In addition, Dick Heffernan will retire at the end of the year from Penguin’s Adult Hardcover and Children’s Sales department, which he has run since 1996. PRH filled some of Heffernan’s responsibilities by promoting John Lawton to SVP, Director of Adult Hardcover Sales for Penguin beginning on January 2.

Joe Mangan is moving to Hachette as COO; he holds that position at Perseus Books Group until January 31. Perseus CFO Charles Gallagher will be promoted to COO on January 1, and will continue his CFO duties as well.

Judith Regan is returning to book publishing as CEO of Regan Arts, a new division of Phaidon Global.

Tina Constable has announced that Diana Baroni will be joining Harmony Books.  She was previously VP, Executive Editor at Grand Central, and Heather Jackson and Leah Miller will now report to Baroni.

Cathy Gruhn has left Hilsinger Mendelson for Little, Brown and Company as Associate Director of Lifestyle Publicity.   Her new email address is:  [email protected]

Margaret Milnes has joined Running Press in the new position of Senior Director of Brand Management, responsible for developing and coordinating growth strategies for key brands and business lines.  Milnes spent the past three years as a Brand Strategy and Sales Development Consultant and before that was at Nickelodeon and Comedy Central. In addition, Sophia Muthuraj has joined Running Press as Editor. Previously she was an Associate Editor at Gotham/Avery.

Leigh Ann Ambrosi, has joined the Magrino Agency at SVP with over 15 years of experience in marketing and publicity. Previously, she was VP of Brand Publishing at Crown Archetype. 

At Rodale, Ethan Boldt has been named to the newly created position of Executive Director of Direct Books, overseeing the editorial development of the direct-to-consumer business. He will report to Rodale Book publisher, Mary Ann Naples. Boldt was most recently Chief Content Office of Direct Marketing IQ.

Alison Mackeen will join Basic Books as Senior Editor in January. Previously she was Senior Editor for Arts and Literature at Princeton University Press.

Tiffany Hill will join Quirk Books as Acquisitions Editor beginning January 6th. She has been at Quarry Books, an imprint of Quayside.  

Peter Kay has is leaving Norton where he ran Digital Marketing and Strategy to start his own children’s digital media company that will publish digital-first ebook/apps for kids.

Neil Levin is now VP, Business Development at Librify; previously, he was President of EverPub LLC.

Gonzalo Ferreyra has joined Ingram Publisher Services in the role of Director of Acquisitions, Full-service Distribution. Carter Holliday, most recently with Ingram’s Lightning Source, has been appointed to Director of Acquisitions, third-party logistics and Ingram Content Group Services. Leah Rex has been promoted to Director of Client Relations, Ingram Publisher Services.

Ken Fultz has been named the new General Manager of Bookmasters; he was previously VP of Operations at book manufacturer Thomson-Shore. 

At Egmont USA, Georgia Morrissey has been named part-time Art Director. Jordan Hamessley has  joined as Editor. She was previously an Associate Editor at Grosset & Dunlap/Price Stern Sloan. Read More »

Off the Beaten Path: Paul Harrington

With the increasing fluidity among industries, it’s not unusual for executives to leave traditional publishing roles in favor of new business ventures. In this Off the Beaten Path series, we asked four former traditional publishing professionals how their publishing experience affects their roles in their current companies and what they miss about their old stomping grounds.

Paul Harrington

Vice President, Associate Publisher, CN Times;
former Sales Representative at Oxford University Press

How has your traditional American publishing experience been helpful in your current job?

My experience in traditional American publishing actually laid the groundwork for my current job, because my current job is to help my Chinese boss establish a company that will ultimately be an American publisher. I have used not only the experience I gained in positions held at US publishers, but the professional network I’ve built up through my career to make the decisions I’ve made at every turn in my current job.

Do you see your current job as being another mainstream publishing job?

More or less. That we are a start-up at this point is as much an influence on things as the fact that my parent company is based in China. In other words we’re developing not only general processes and policies, but our editorial direction as we go. At this point I presume that the company I am building will be a more mature version of what we are today in 5-10 years and by that point we will be publishing content not only from Chinese authors, but from writers in the US as well. We’ll be publishing this content in print and electronic editions, etc.  So, while there are several not-quite determined or ‘non-traditional’ elements of my job it is really not that much different than were I with a US start-up or an established US house.

Are there aspects to your job which are different and will they impact how you handle your next job?

Not so much. Arguably the biggest difference between my current job and those I’ve held previously is language. That said, I’ve worked for several UK-based publishers in the past and it has been made clear to me that while my American is great my English isn’t, so that my current boss speaks neither American or English seems not so different than past jobs. Ultimately, working in the US for foreigners one is faced with similar questions about market, etc. Even if one works at a traditional US company and somebody from another business takes a senior position this sort of interpretation and translation is required. Perhaps I’m being a tad Romantic here, but to my mind this is sort of the nature of things in publishing: translation, regardless of what language everyone speaks, is inherent in the publishing process from author to agent to editor to sales & marketing to retailer to reader. After all, this business is all about getting the author’s ideas to the reader, right? This will be part of whatever my next job is in this industry.

Do you think your next job is likely to be a traditional one?

Yes. Frankly, I’m uncertain what “traditional” publishing is. I know that there are companies doing “non-traditional” stuff or operating in “non-traditional” ways, but it seems to me that as many of them adopt useful elements of traditional publishing as traditional publishers are adopting elements of non-traditional companies. So, yes, I do expect that my next job is likely to be rather traditional and that the experience I have had through the past 25+ years will be no less useful in obtaining and maintaining it.

Off the Beaten Path: Sarah Twombly

With the increasing fluidity among industries, it’s not unusual for executives to leave traditional publishing roles in favor of new business ventures. In this Off the Beaten Path series, we asked four former traditional publishing professionals how their publishing experience affects their roles in their current companies and what they miss about their old stomping grounds.

Sarah Twombly

Senior Strategist, Blue State Digital;
former Literary Agent at Joy Harris Literary Agency

How has your publishing experience been helpful in your current job/industry?

The number one thing publishing taught me to do was advocate for myself and the projects I believe in. Having a point-of-view is one of the most important things you can do, across industries, and in publishing in particular. Writers need you to understand their voice and have a vision for how their project not only fits in a given market, but how it stands out in that market. To create something different and new is an uphill battle. In publishing, you have to have an unyielding belief and confidence in your POV. It’s what has made great editors great — Nan Graham, Sunny Mehta, agents like Binky Urban — what they all have in common, among other things, is a unique sensibility and POV, and the smarts and confidence to advocate for what they know is in a book’s best interest.

What can publishing learn from your current job/industry?

Across the board, trade publishers have been slow to adopt and adapt to new technologies. The way we interact with the written word, what we want from content, it’s changing at a faster clip than any other time in human history. And yet the web teams at publishing houses are incredibly small. Often times social media and email are managed by a team of only two or three—for publishing houses that publish at least 2,500 titles a year. People are reading more than ever before. There are unending opportunities to not only engage readers, but widen the purchase funnel. Imprints need to function more like sub-brands that are part of a master brand. There’s a missed opportunity to differentiate one house from another. Right now, you’d be hard pressed to find a consumer who could tell you the difference between S&S, Random House or Hachette. Even more so between Atria, Knopf, Delacorte and Little, Brown.

What do you miss about publishing?

I miss the authors. They were always the best thing about the job. It’s an honor to help usher someone’s words into the world. A joy to develop a rapport and understanding of their craft. A privilege to foster creative genius and help unlock an artist’s potential. That’s what always kept me going, and what I continue to miss.

What do you like about your current industry?

I love digital strategy because it moves at a fast clip. You know immediately if something is working. It’s cheap and easy to change course, and best of all, you can interact with your consumers in an authentic and meaningful way. Social media and email aren’t PR megaphones. They are channels that can make the case for your unique brand proposition, build loyalty, and gain invaluable insights about what your consumers want and care about. I love working to understand what drives behavior, what inspires someone to care, and how to harness this understanding in a way that helps our clients meet their goals.

Top 5 Publishing Articles/Blog Posts of the Week 12/9-12/13

number_5_redEvery week, we recommend 5 publishing articles/blog posts that supplement the major news for the week. Whether data or industry commentary, we hope these 5 links will be a simple way to keep you in the know. 

A study released by The Pew Internet and American Life Project illustrates how Americans value public libraries.

With ebook prices at an all time low, how can publishers convince readers to pay full price for new bestsellers?

Trident Media Group co-founder Robert Gottlieb thinks that the role of the literary agent is expanding and changing.

Booknet Canada releases data on the sales boom of Alice Munro’s work after winning the Nobel Prize in Literature.

In response to Wall Street Journal‘s “See Grown Ups Read,” Publishers Weekly offers a counterpoint on the so-called trend of adults turning to middle grade books for pleasure.

To the Rescue: An Interview with the League of Assistant Editors

FINALlogo04282011This article was originally published on our sister site for young book professionals, Publishing Trendsetter.

By Samantha Howard

There is a dearth of publishing blogs for young people, but one of the most spirited and celebratory accounts of ambitious young publishers comes from The League of Assistant Editors, a group dedicated to connecting young agents and young editors to ensure that they aren’t missing out on a piece of the publishing pie. They launched onto the internet scene in August and have since then hosted a sold out Dealmakers event at Housing Works Bookstore and Café, held public “office hours,” and written impressively honest  accounts of their time in publishing for all to see.  Trendsetter had a few questions for Meredith Haggerty, and Allyson Rudolph, the two women behind the League:

Publishing Trendsetter: If you don’t mind, give the folks at home a little background on each of your respective paths into publishing:

Allyson: My first publishing jobs were in my hometown, Washington, DC—I worked in managing editorial and editorial at academic and association presses before deciding to move to New York and try my hand at trade publishing. I started in NYC as an intern at Markson Thoma, then worked at Hyperion as an editorial assistant, and now I am an assistant editor at Grand Central Publishing.

Meredith: I went to college in New York, and interned at a literary agency. After graduating I got a job at another, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates, where I worked for two years. From there, I became an editorial assistant at Grand Central Publishing, eventually being promoted to assistant editor. I currently work as the Associate Features Editor for HowAboutWe Media where, among other projects, I help to secure excerpts.

loae

PT: What made you two decide to start the League?

Allyson: The decision to start the League actually followed the decision to host the Dealmakers speed networking event. I had been playing with the idea of nonromantic speed-dating for agents and editors ever since she moved to New York and began to understand that building a professional network can be a slow and inefficient process. Meredith is a master of Making Things Happen and got in touch with Housing Works about hosting a speed networking event, and then all of a sudden we were on the Housing Works calendar with a bunch of event tickets to sell. We didn’t want to be hosting as just Meredith and I and it seemed like there was a bigger professional support need to fill—there are a lot of challenges for young editors and agents that we think can be addressed with a little ingenuity and persistence—so we picked a name and started a Tumblr and the League was born. Our goal is to provide the agent/editor community with events that solve problems. Read More »

Top 5 Publishing Articles/Blog Posts of the Week 12/2-12/6

number_5_redEvery week, we recommend 5 publishing articles/blog posts that supplement the major news for the week. Whether data or industry commentary, we hope these 5 links will be a simple way to keep you in the know. 

Amazon‘s drone delivery service is big news this week, but some factors will keep it from happening for a while. 

The stigma of adults reading middle grade fiction seems to be lessening, which may be leading to changes in the genre.

It may seem that ebooks are taking over, but many start-ups and technological advances are helping ebooks stick to the features of printed books. 

A quarter of the Top 100 Books on Amazon were from indie publishers, showing how these publishers/platforms are being more prominent in the industry.

Writers who choose self-publishing over traditional publishing may have different goals and ambitions than other authors, as revealed in a Digital Book World study.

And as a bonus: Waterstones combats Amazon’s announcement of its drone delivery service with the following video:

People Roundup, December 2013

PEOPLE

Daniel Nayeri will join Workman on December 18 as Director of Children’s Publishing, succeeding Raquel Jaramillo who has been named Editor-at-Large. He has been Digital Editorial Director at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, prior to which he was an Editor at Clarion.

Flatiron Books has hired Liz Keenan as Associate Publisher, starting January 6. She is currently Executive Director of Publicity for Hudson Street Press and Plume. She will be responsible for planning and executing all marketing and publicity for new nonfiction line, which plans to begin publishing in January 2015.

The American Booksellers Association announced that Matthew Zoni has been named Manager of its ABC Children’s Group. Zoni served as Manager of Event Marketing and Business Development at Barnes & Noble for the past 11 and a half years.

Mark Landau has joined National Geographic Book Publishing Group as Director of Special Markets. He was formerly Sales Director, National Accounts at Publications International, Ltd.

Sarah Pekdemir has joined Crown as Senior Marketing Manager, Crown Trade.  Jocelyn Cordova joins Crown Business on December 16th as Director of Marketing and Publicity, after spending the last eight years at Wiley as Associate Director of Publicity.

Michael Signorelli has joined Holt as Senior Editor, where he will focus on crime fiction while continuing to pursue a broad range of nonfiction. He had been an Editor at HarperCollins for over 8 years.

Sean McCarthy has left Sheldon Fogelman Agency to start his own agency, Sean McCarthy Literary Agency. He can be reached at [email protected]. Read More »