Ed Roberts holds a Master of Science degree in Publishing from Pace University which he received in December of 2013. Ed is a native New Yorker that has worked within the publishing realm with Baker & Taylor and HarperCollins. His experience has mainly been in the wholesale and e-book sector and he also had a stint in the recruiting industry. Ed currently works with Authoright as a Senior Author Consultant in which he uses all of his various skills and experience in publishing and client relations to supply authors with support, guidance, and advice.
Professor Denning: You’ve worked at a few major Publishing companies since graduating from the program. Can you tell us a bit about what you have been doing?
Ed: My whole goal while in the program and after graduating was to set myself up to succeed in multiple positions within publishing. I never wanted to be cornered into just editing or design or digital production. I knew I had the flexibility to take some temp jobs or freelance work while in the program. Once I officially graduated, I wanted to secure a position on the business side of publishing, which I have done!
Professor Denning: You’ve worked in wholesale, eBooks, and now in consulting. How has each position shaped your opinion of the publishing industry?
Ed: Working in these different positions really opened my eyes to publishing as a whole. Working in e-book production was definitely vital since it is the new trend and one of the most creative, passionate teams I have ever worked with. Working in wholesale/distribution was vital as well because I feel as though not many individuals in the industry truly understand this process. I highly recommend looking at an internship or temp job with a company like Baker & Taylor or Ingram to learn about the industry in a different light. The experience you get will be extremely valuable since not everyone understands how this area of the business.
Professor Denning: After working in wholesale and eBooks, what steered you towards consulting?
Ed: I have always had a passion for helping individuals or offering advice. While growing up, family and friends thought I would be a teacher or counselor. Along with my passion for helping came my creative side. I am an outside-the-box thinker and would think of advertising ideas, publicity campaigns, etc. at a very young age (mainly in the sports realm). I was approached by Authoright two years ago while they were still establishing their U.S. office and I was immediately interested. The only problem was they did not have a position for me at the time that would be a fit. Two years later, the Author Consultant position opened up and they reached back out to me. This is a lesson to all to never give up on your dream job!
Professor Denning: Can you tell us about Authoright?
Ed: Authoright is unique in that we are a one-stop shop for self-published authors. We can do as little as you would like or we can do the whole entire package. Our services include editing, book cover design, website design, social media, marketing/PR campaigns (local or globally), advertising, and the actual publishing and distribution of your book through our imprint, Clink Street. We also have our sister company, Litfactor, that links authors with literary agents. It is essentially a Match.com for agents and authors. We also run the International Author Fair Series in London and in New York. Our New York Author Fair will be September 13th, so please do sign up at http://newyorkauthorfair.com if you are interested.
As far as our clients, they are authors of all kinds. We have authors that just finished their manuscript, authors that are already published, and authors that have been published for years, but want to rebrand. This is what I love most about the job with the day being completely different each day. Every author has a different story, view, or goal. I get to educate, help and guide in the field I have always wanted to work in. I am the first person you speak to when you inquire about our services and I stay with the authors along the ride. It is extremely gratifying to receive an email or call from an author thanking me for everything. All of us truly have a passion for the industry and the titles we work on.
Professor Denning: What’s something people may not know about author consulting?
Ed: What I always run into in all of my conversations is that authors think I am just looking for a sale and that is it. That is not how our company operates. We enjoy giving our advice and insight from the start and if an author chooses to work with us, that is fantastic, but if not, we at least gave our feedback. We hope that our advice resonates with the author in some way. We have had authors that have not used our service, but have said nothing but kind words regarding our consultations. There is no “catch”, which is a word I hear far too often.
Professor Denning: Do you offer Internships at Authoright? Can you tell us about what an intern would do and take away from the experience (we will link to the posting)
Ed: Yes! We just decided to bring aboard interns recently. Our internships are unlike any other. There are obviously concentrated internships in one specific area, but our interns will be working in social media, public relations, marketing, design, and editing. The intern will walk away from the internship having a great understanding of the self-publishing world and the evolution it goes through on a daily basis.
Professor Denning: What do you think the biggest trends in the industry are today? What are some major trends you’re noticing among authors?
Ed: As far as trends in the industry, I would say the big thing is discoverability and audience engagement. Sites like Goodreads are getting authors names out there, as well as honest reviews. Twitter and Facebook usage is also a must for authors. If an author does not have a strong social media presence, we always suggest either boosting it or not having it at all. Having a poorly constructed Twitter page can ruin credibility.
Author trends that I have noticed would be acting as an entrepreneur in regards to your book. It is very hard to get traditionally published, so self-publishing is the route that many first time authors are going. With any business, you have to invest both time and money and the same goes for your book. A self-published book cannot just take off without time and dedication.
Professor Denning: Where do you see the Publishing industry headed? What do you think the industry will look like 10 years from now? 50?
Ed: I wish I could say, but I honestly have no idea. From the start of my time with Pace until now, the industry has changed rapidly. I am sure many professors had to change their syllabus to keep up with the changes. The only thing I can say is that the industry is certainly not dying. Whenever I hear someone say that, I get into an argument of sorts. The industry is evolving and the digital and print world will work together, not against. Job titles and duties may change, but we will all adjust.
Professor Denning: What did you write your thesis paper on?
Ed: I wrote my thesis on the Amazon effect in regards to wholesale and distribution. I had insight in the industry and it is a rarely covered topic, so I knew immediately that it would be my choice.
Professor Denning: Any advice for those currently writing their thesis papers?
Ed: Hang in there! There will be many nights burning the midnight oil. Make sure you have everything organized in folders (with both printed and web articles) and do ask for help! Without Professor Soares, I would’ve been a lost soul. In fact, every professor was more than willing to help out with articles, advice, etc.
Professor Denning: How did the Publishing program prepare you for the industry?
Ed: The program was truly my greatest choice in life. After receiving my undergraduate, I got hit with reality. You cannot just waltz into Penguin and ask to be hired. The Publishing program helped me realize where I wanted to be and how to achieve my goals. Every single professor goes above and beyond the call of duty. If you are looking for insight regarding a company, you will find it. If you see an internship posted, you will get recommended. You truly learn the ins and outs of the industry in whatever field you may choose. My Pace publishing pride is clearly evident.
Professor Denning: Is there anything else you would like to share with our students? Any job searching advice? What is the most important thing they do to launch their careers?
Ed: My best advice is to reach out to contacts you meet or run into whether it be at a conference, webinar, etc. Believe it or not, but most individuals in the industry are more than willing to help others who want to break in. I strongly advise creating a Linkedin account and reaching out to others in the realm. While you may receive internships and jobs that are not exactly in the field you are interested in, do not give up. The contacts and experience you gain will go very far. Do not get discouraged by rejections or missed opportunities as they will only strengthen you in the long run. Rome was not built in a day and neither should your career. Stay hungry, focused, and humble. Your day will come in the publishing field, but everything takes time.
Thank you for a wonderful and informative interview Ed!