This past week, a number of Pace Publishing students and faculty attended the annual BookExpo America Conference at the Javits Center. BEA is a great opportyunity for students to gain a scope of industry, network with other publishing professionals, learn about new books and meet authors.
If you weren’t able to attend BEA or missed certain conference events, visit BEA LIVE! on your computer or mobile device to catch up!
Below is a brief synopsis by Miguel Cervantes about his experience at BEA:
“One of the things that was first things impressed upon me in the publishing program was that I needed to go to BEA. This being my first semester at Pace, I had to admit my naivete, I neither knew what BEA was nor why it was important. My fellow students were quick to educate me on the Book Expo of America though and how attendance would give me valuable experience and perspective into the industry on which I was now a part of.
The Jacob Javits Center was remarkable; I had been to conventions centers but never one so large. I was immediately struck by a wave of all things publishing as soon as I entered and I had not even checked in yet. After checking in I
walked the floors for the first time visiting booth after booth, publisher after publisher, familiarizing myself with how they filled a niche in publishing. It was in my second pass that I began to take a more active role, talking with authors and also collecting more than a few freebies. The lectures and panels held at BEA were also invaluable in their information. I was lucky enough to attend a lecture on twitter and it’s use in our industry for marketing and a panel on e-books, e-book readers, and the future. These lectures will most definitely help this summer in my position as social media intern at Simon & Schuster.
I feel very fortunate and grateful to Dyson College for selecting me as one of the students to attend BEA this year. Looking back I can say that attending the Book Expo of America was the perfect punctuation to end my first semester at the program here at Pace.”
Students Applaud Arthur A. Levine’s lecture as the 2013 David Pecker Distinguished Visting Professor
“The thing I liked most about him, particularly in last night’s speech, was that he is very modest. You would never know that he has the job he does if you saw him walking down the street. Even if you do know who he is, he makes himself very personable and relatable while staying professional. I also liked how one of his pieces of advice was to have a life outside of publishing. I think it’s really important because while he stressed that it was important to stay driven, he also made it clear that his whole life wasn’t publishing.” –David Neth
“Mr. Levine is amazing; he has stayed grounded throughout his whole career. My takeaway–and favorite thing about the lecture–was that he admits to his mistakes and finds time outside of the world of publishing to be a better person. Arthur A. Levine inspires through his wit and wisdom, if only we could aspire to as much.” –Heather Allen
Natascha Morris took this Arthur Levine quote to heart: “Having second thoughts and feeling like you are struggling doesn’t mean you are not meant to be here.”
“Mr. Levine is a living legend and shared a wealth of information with the audience that can’t be found online or taught in a classroom. His personal, industry experiences were both honest and funny, and truly hit home for so many of us who are going to soon be stepping out into the workforce.” –Diana Cavallo
“I really appreciated his candidness about his ‘big mistakes’. It’s something to look back on as we go through our own careers; when we make mistakes- and we will- we can remind ourselves about the Arthur Levines who’ve been there and how far they’ve come.” –Tqwana Brown
“For me, Mr. Levine’s lecture was a refreshing take on a dimension of publishing that we do not often think about. The importance of instinct and networking are paramount to success in the industry.” – Miguel Cervantes
“Recently, I have been applying for internships. Mr. Levine’s lecture about “what should be aware of the preparation for the interviews” was very instructive. Moreover, the two points he mentioned about “fighting for the right things, right person, right time” and “always keep learning” inspired me a lot.-Mengqi Li
Click here for a summary of Mr. Levine’s Fall 2012 David Pecker Lecture by student, Tqwana Brown!
Pace University Publishing students have been lending their talent and ingenuity to the New York City chapter of the Women’s National Book Association. The following are three articles that showcase what students have been learning from WNBA Career Panel events, positions they have acquired within the organization and how they have become involved with the United Nations through the WNBA.
WNBA Career Skills Panel Report
By Heather Allen
Heather Allen is in her second semester of the M.S. in Publishing Program at Pace University. She is the Social Media Coordinator for the WNBA-NYC, Social Media/ Marketing Intern for Touchstone
Books at Simon & Schuster, and holds a part-time editorial assistant position at Thieme Medical Publishers.
On Tuesday, a panel of six industry professionals spoke to an intimate group of publishing hopefuls. The panelists were:
Melissa Rosati, Co-Leadership Trainer, Pace University MS in Publishing Program
Alexis Bressler, Human Resources Specialist, Macmillan Publishers
Pauline Hsia, Literary Agent Assistant; WNBA-NYC Member, Young to Publishing Group
Justin Krass, Career Counselor, Pace University Career Services Center
Amy Saxon, Editorial Assistant at Bedford/St. Martin’s
The night’s moderator was Andrea Baron ( WNBA-NYC Student/Young Professional Outreach Chair and Adjunct Professor, Pace University MS in Publishing Program). Click here to read about the WNBA’s Career Panel.
WNBA Member Monday: Meet Tqwana Brown!
Tqwana Brown, a former high school English teacher, is currently in her second semester of the M.S. in Publishing Program at Pace University. She is currently interning at a literary agency and will be taking over as Blog Intern for the WNBA-NYC Chapter. The following is an interview about her experiences, conducted by Hannah Bennett, an alumni of the MS in Publishing Program and WNBA member.
Hannah: Congratulations on becoming the new Blog Intern for the WNBA-NYC blog! How did you come to be involved in the world of publishing and in the WNBA?
Tqwana: Thank you! I’m very excited about this opportunity. I first heard of the organization last semester. I attended a few events, but it wasn’t until the blog editor position became available that I became an official member. Growing up, publishing wasn’t a career that anyone in my family even knew existed. I entertained the idea briefly right after I completed undergrad (though it was magazines at the time), but nothing came of it. In fact, that’s when I first learned of Pace. After teaching high school for several years, the idea came back to me that this is where I’d rather be.
Hannah: What are some of your goals for the WNBA-NYC blog? What most excites you about this position?
Tqwana: Getting more member participation. Not just interviews, but guest blogs and event reports. Members should feel like this is their blog, and the best way to do that is to get them contributing more. I want to increase visibility to the organization and grow our numbers. The majority of people currently entering and working in the field are female and our numbers should reflect that. I also want to work closely with Heather (social media coordinator) to help with that.
Click here to learn about Publishing student, Tqwana Brown’s involvement in the WNBA as the new Blog Intern.
News from the UN Youth Representative Corner
By Diana Cavallo and Jenna Vaccaro
(The Women’s National Book Association is a
Non-Governmental (NGO) member of the
United Nations, supporting the UN in its goals.)
“There is one universal truth, applicable to all countries, cultures and communities: violence against women is never acceptable, never excusable, never tolerable.” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
“As we commemorate International Women’s Day, we must look back on a year of shocking crimes of violence against women and girls and ask ourselves how to usher in a better future.
One young woman was gang-raped to death. Another committed suicide out of a sense of shame that should have attached to the perpetrators. Young teens were shot at close range for daring to seek an education.”
Click here to read the rest of Diana and Jenna’s article. Please go the UN website to continue reading the Secretary-General’s full message.
The Women’s National Book Association (WNBA) this past Wednesday put together a wonderful panel of authors for National Reading Group Month, and held an intimate gathering at The Strand Bookstore in Union Square. As a non-member it was great to see so many accomplished authors in one place. The panelists talked about their latest books. Each author gave humorous and personal testimony, without having to specifically say it, why their books should be chosen for group reads.
Ben Ryder Howe—My Korean Deli: Risking It All for a Convenience Store, Picador
David Maine—Great Group Reads 2012 Recipient—An Age of Madness, Red Hen Press, Great Group Reads 2012 Recipient
Marisa de los Santos—Falling Together, William Morrow Paperbacks
Alix Kates Shulman—Ménage, Other Press
Elizabeth Nunez—Boundaries, Akashic Books
Rosalind Riesner, a chair woman at WNBA, moderated the event by having the authors first begin with a brief introduction of themselves and their novel. I was impressed with each of their backgrounds. Hearing about them for the first time, even with all of their success, made me more respectful and honored to be able to hear how they reached this moment.
Soon after the biographies, which I will spare the details (to Google!), Ms. Reisner steered the conversation to writing, which for anyone who enjoys writing and thinks of writing a novel, this was very enlightening. Each author had their own ideas of what the perfect first page should be. For instance, Alix Kates Shulman said the first page set the tone, gave a snapshot of a character. She chose the most colorful for her introduction to Ménage. Similarly, Marisa de los Santos also has a character based approach—her characters live within her, give her a sense of the person so that she begins to know them on a personal level.
For others, the first page needs a little magic. Elizabeth Nunez said that since she teaches creative writing, she knows theoretically what should be on the first page, but in practice it’s much more difficult “waiting for the first line.” Ben Ryder Howe wrote a memoir and his difficulty was creating his own voice out of all the others that were floating around in his mind. Once that happened he was able to focus and let the story spill out. As for David Maine, he wrote what he was feeling and he knew he was right.
The topic spilled briefly into writing for opposite gender roles, but it was quickly determined by Maine that it wasn’t so different. “[I] approach characters as individuals…don’t write about a group, but a person.” Additionally, Shulman offered, “characters should be based on people you know, rather than types. I enjoy writing men, always a satirical edge.”
Sometimes Nunez encountered people who would be opposed to reading her book because they would not be able to relate and she had a message for them, “It’s not about me [you say] –then [I say] you will find out more about you.”
The conversation was again moved toward writing and its meaning to each individual. In summary, it seems that these authors couldn’t imagine doing anything else. It’s obvious from watching them and learning about them that they care deeply about the characters and every single detail that goes into their novels. Nunez said she felt safest writing, de los Santos writes because she’s not good at anything else, but Maine summed it up nicely, “Some people believe in God because they are afraid of being an atheist, that’s how I feel about writing – what would I do not as a writer.”
When the topic turned to revision, each author has their own style. To the most extreme: de los Santos painstakingly reviews each sentence as she moves along, “one sentence begets another sentence and then polish and revise as you go…I feel I can’t move on.” Shulman has been writing a long time and remembered when she was working on her first novel, hand writing drafts and drafts and then typing them up on a typewriter. Since then, the computer has changed how she writes.
Maine writes long hand “poorly but very fast…first draft vomit it all out, second draft, ruthlessness-if it doesn’t move the story then it’s gone.” Howe spoke of using his wife for help and writing a lot of drafts, otherwise (jokingly) he might have been disowned by his family.
And with that there were a few questions from the audience, like revision on a computer, more revision, all leading up to the author signings. This panel was absolutely the right panel for National Reading Group Month: there was diversity in topics, genres and authors. It was wonderful to see how each used their skills to find their voice and ultimately their audience. I look forward to the next panel discussion in November – “The Making of a Young Adult Bestseller.”
On Friday, September 27th a number of Pace University MS in Publishing students and professors were invited to attend the Annual Members Meeting of the Book Industry Study Group. It was a wonderful opportunity to hear from Len Vlahos, the Executive Director of the Book Industry Study Group, and Angela Bole, the Deputy Executive Director of the Book Industry Study Group, who spoke about the strategic value of BISG within the global book marketplace. It was a very interesting session and we were all grateful to have the opportunity to attend and network with such a prestigious group of industry professionals.
For further coverage of and information about the program, see the following links from Shelf Awareness, Publishers Weekly, and The Shatzkin Files:
Below, Heather Allen, a first semester student in the MS in Publishing program, shares some of the things she learned at the meeting.
Things I Learned from the BISG Annual Member Meeting:
According to their website, The Book Industry Study Group (BISG) “is a national, not-for-profit U.S. book trade association with the mission of creating a more informed, empowered and efficient book industry. [They are] committed to the development of effective industry-wide standards, best practices, research and events related to both physical and digital products that enhance relationships between all trading partners.”
Since this was my first time being exposed to this kind of atmosphere (The Annual Meeting of Industry Professionals, Yale Club, ballroom, catered coffee break and lunch, plus lot of great industry information), I learned quite a few things.
Publishing is sexy
Who would have thought? By having a passion for publishing and an interest in making the publishing world go ‘round’ is what the members of BISG do day-in and day-out. They find statistics sexy because it reflects the hard work the BISG does. The committees within BISG include rights, publication, manufacturing & distribution, metadata, and the ISBN- 13 task force, which help decide standards and practices that have been set forth for the past 36 years.
2. Metadata is important
Luckily for me, I had the chance to sit at a table with a metadata expert from Bowker, a company that provides data to publishers/ retailers/ libraries to help them better reach the consumer. Metadata is the information customers haveabout each book: the title, the description, ISBN etc., which is put out by the publishers basically, metadata is information about information. How this relates to publishing is this: publishers need metadata to track the customer’s interests. By doing this publishers are also able to track book statistics and the health of the industry
3. Change is coming…
As the Starks of Winterfell would say… Essentially be prepared to go in directions you might not expect to go. In the panel discussion, the former chair of BISG Dominique Raccah stated that when she first took over the position six years ago, she did not expect the industry to end up where it did. From the topics covered, it seems that publishers should be prepared to expect a changes in the industry with regarding ebooks. Ken Michaels, COO and President of Hachette believes however, that we should not rely solely on technology as we move forward. During the panel discussion Maureen McMahon, President and Publisher of Kaplan Publishing also spoke about the skill sets she looks for when hiring new people – most importantly is the ability to learn and teach and being able to self-teach, to help combat and adapt to the expected/unexpected changes.