Tools of Change Conference

Last week a number of Pace MS in Publishing faculty were able to attend (via a complimentary pass) the O’Reilly Tools of Change Conference that took place from February 12th to the 14th,  at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square.  In addition, a number of Pace students had the opportunity to volunteer at the conference and to attend sessions. It was a wonderful conference and we are grateful for the opportunity we had to learn from and mingle with industry professionals who are on the forefront of change in the industry.

On February 12th, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to attend the Author (R)evolution Day,  a one-day conference-within-a-conference presented by  the thought leaders at Tools of Change and Publishers Weekly. This day was “designed specifically for professional authors, content creators, agents, and independent author service providers who want to move beyond “Social Media 101” to a more robust dialogue about the opportunities in today’s rapidly shifting landscape.”  Joe Wikert, the GM & Publisher and Chair of Tools of Change (TOC) at O’Reilly Media, Inc., in his introduction, emphasized that for today’s hybrid authors, a “thread of entrepreneurship” would run throughout the day.  And, it certainly did—leaving everyone in the audience with a lot to think about as well as with concrete information on how to succeed in today’s dynamic digital marketplace.

The first speaker was Cory Doctorow, a science fiction author, activist, journalist and blogger.  His  thought provoking and informative talk “Welcome to the (R)evolution”, focused on the idea that “there are three things creative people and industries must understand if they are to thrive in the digital world: don’t let others put locks on your stuff; competitive markets mean more money for you and the Internet is more than an entertainment medium.”  Stating that “until we get these right, we’re stuck.”  Mr. Doctorow’s talk set the tone for the day which was clearly one of opportunity and empowerment for authors.

Other talks such as “The Author Blueprint for Success” which featured the well-respected Porter Anderson, a journalist, writer and speaker on publishing and Eve Brindberg, founder and director of Boston’s Grub Street, gave very specific and useful advice to authors on how to navigate the path to success. Subsequent sessions focused on current issues such as free digital content, the new, emerging role of the literary agent as radical advocates for authors, strategies for marketing and discovery (a panel which included Pace MS in Publishing alumna Tara Theoret,) choosing production and distribution services and community driven publishing —with great speakers like Amanda Barbara from Pubslush, Allan Lau from WattPad and Mark Jeffrey from Glossi.com to name a few!

Overall it was an outstanding day—as a Professor in the MS in Publishing program teaching publishing to a group of aspiring publishing professions, having the opportunity to hear from innovative industry professionals who are on the forefront of change in the industry, was invaluable.

Professor Jane Kinney-Denning

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I had a great time at the conference! Thank you for arranging for the opportunity to attend. I was assigned to a particular room for the day; but within that room, the various speakers represented a marvelous variety of innovative technologies in the publishing field. Lunch was great too — not only the food, but it was another chance to have great conversation, in a relaxed environment, with people who are working on exciting projects in publishing. I’m glad to have been a volunteer for O’Reilly TOC.”

 

Sharon Brown-Volunteer—Graduate Student, Pace University, MS in Publishing

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Below, Pace MS in Publishing Professor Andrea Baron, shares some her notes from the conference:

I. A panel discussion called “Creators and Technology Converging: When Tech Becomes Part of the Story” presented the participants’ views on the overlap of digital and print publications, including some refreshing ideas and opinions from Louis-Jacques Darveau, editor and publisher of The Alpine Review. This is an international publication, recently launched in Montréal, Canada, and distributed in 30 countries.  He views its mission as an “operations manual for alternative culture” and reports it has been very successful in its print-only model. Follow the jump to read more of Professor Baron’s account of the conference