5th International Conference on Publishing Industry and Publishing Education in the Digital Era | Reflections from Wuhan, China by Professor Kathy Sandler

Professor Sandler and Yin “Ling” Mengling, a China Publishing Group employee who helped Sandler explore the city.

Kathy Sandler is the Senior Manager of Content Applications and Digital Workflow Development at Penguin Random House. She is also an Adjunct Faculty member in the M.S. in Publishing Program at Pace University. She specializes in management, workflow, and publishing technology for eBooks and iPad apps and enjoys developing classes for people in the industry. She recently published an article on “Innovation in Publishing: This is not an Oxymoron!” for Publishing Research Quarterly.

By: Professor Kathy Sandler

In October 2016, I traveled with Pace to China to lecture at the 5th International Conference on Publishing Industry and Publishing Education in the Digital Era sponsored by Wuhan University and Pace University. It was a fantastic experience! Here are a few of the memories I’d like to share.

Personally, I was struck by the warmth of the people I met. It was very exciting to meet dignitaries from Phoenix Publishing & Media Group and China Publishing Group, which are among the largest publishing companies in the world. But it was heartening to meet a number of former students who were so grateful to Professor Raskin and Professor Lian for what they learned at Pace.

The opening panel of the Wuhan Conference. (Professor Raskin is the fourth speaker from the right.)
I was lucky to have a tour guide in Beijing who worked at China Publishing Group named Yin “Ling” Mengling. I spoke with her at length about some of the great opportunities available in publishing associations in New York. We also discussed a book called Designing Your Life, which I recommend people use to think about their career and life goals.

After we parted, she paid for her own overnight train to Wuhan to attend the weekend conference and take Professor Lian, Professor Raskin and me around Wuhan University. She has since started a Literary Salon speaker series for her friends and colleagues, which she said I inspired her to do. Mark Fretz, who also attended the conference as part of the delegation from Pace, spoke at the inaugural session. I am very proud of Ling and happy I was able to touch her life.

Another thing that struck me in China that I hadn’t fully appreciated before was the giant contribution that Professor Raskin and Professor Lian have made to publishing education in China. Professor Lian was actually one of the founding members of the first publishing program in China at Wuhan University and was instrumental in starting the partnership between Pace and Wuhan U. Professor Raskin has made extremely strong relationships with the major publishing companies in China and, because of this, the companies have hand-picked executives to come train at Pace every year. (And they were able to start the Confucius Institute at Pace University, where I took Chinese classes before I went.) I have a newfound respect for the hard work they have done to build such strong ties.

Dinner in China with former Pace students. 
At the conference, my talk was on innovation. I spoke about projects in the publishing industry, including grass-roots efforts, where employees at any level can test their idea and pitch it to management. I was surprised that I was asked how an employee would be reprimanded if they had an idea that failed. I explained the value of a learning organization, where failing fast (and small) is a good thing. I was happy to see that they were thinking about how this idea could be implemented in their environment, and I hope in the future that organizations encourage their employees to submit ideas.

Professor Sandler speaking at the Wuhan Conference.
While Google, Facebook, Twitter, and other sites are blocked in China, the country is very technologically advanced. Most people use a platform called WeChat, which is a combination of the functionality of many programs in the U.S. like texting, FaceTime/Skype, Facebook, Twitter, and many others. (WeChat was created by TenCent, a phone company.) Many restaurants have you order and pay through your phone with Alipay, which is from the e-commerce company Alibaba, which has 423 million annual active buyers and about 80 per cent market share of e-commerce in China. There are QR codes everywhere on posters, bus shelters, ads, and menus, and they are very useful in connecting quickly through WeChat and other systems. I made many new contacts and friends in China and hope to stay in touch through WeChat.

I also visited many bustling bookstores in China. It was incredible to see the multi-story homage to the books owned by Phoenix Publishing & Media Group. I also visited a few branches of the Librarie Avant-Garde, including the famous one in a former bomb shelter/parking garage that has a beatnik vibe; a rustic one in a lush park, where you could sink into a comfy chair and feel like you were in a log cabin surrounded by books; and one on the Purple Mountain that sold only poetry books with lots of little rooms to explore. I felt right at home!

It was a fascinating trip, and I’m extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to go! It really opened my eyes to different perspectives and I learned a lot about international publishing, innovation, and myself.

 

2015 BEA Experiences

BEAThanks to the generous support of Dean Nira Herrmann and a number of Pace Publishing Professors, the Pace MS in Publishing students were able to attend the 2015 Book Expo America that took place at the Javitz Center in New York in May.  This was a great opportunity for networking, meeting authors, viewing publishers’ booths and seeing what books are slated to be published in the upcoming seasons. It is always a spectacular site to see so many publishers gathered and to attend some of the cutting edge panels and events.

This year we thought we would share a few of our thoughts about the experience, and if you would like to share some of your own experiences, feel free to email us at puboffice@pace.edu

Professor Sherman Raskin
Director, Pace MS in Publishing
Director, Pace University Press

“It is always nice to attend BEA in May. I was able to connect with old friends and spent two busy days consulting with our colleagues from China Publishing Group and Phoenix Publishing Media Group at the shermanraskincropped(1)show. PPMG ran a big screen ad in Times Square from May 26th through June 4th celebrating their company and the BEA Expo. Just before the show, executives from China Publishing Group participated in two weeks of training at Pace. They graced the Midtown site from May 11th through May 22nd before participating in the Book Expo. They only had good things to say about the training and the show. Most important, they loved NYC. The sessions at Pace stressed digital publishing and copyright law.

The last day of the show, Professor Lian and I had the opportunity to speak at a seminar held by Longzhiji Book Publishing located in Beijing.  Because of the influence of a Pace training seminar five years ago, they moved from being a traditional company to a digital company. The time spent at Pace changed their entire way of thinking about publishing. Mr. Su, the President of the company realized that he had to restructure if he were to succeed in the industry today. His training with the Pace professionals made all the difference and ensured his success as a major publisher in China. Pace and Logzhiji are very proud of this success story.

The BEA is always an exciting experience, but the Expo was even more meaningful with China as the focus of BEA this year.

Corinne Tousey, second year Publishing student:

My first time going to BEA was great.  It’s a great opportunity to meet new authors and find your favorite publishers and learn what new projects are being released.  I walked away with tons of free books, I even won a Kindle Fire and ten books from author, Julie Gilbert.”

Loot

Ana Ban, May 2015 Publishing graduate:

“I have been working as a translator in my country, Brazil, since 2001, and so far I have done more than 150 titles. It is so rare that I get in contact with the authors I translate, much less have the opportunity to meet them. But Ana Ban (1)thanks to Pace, last year I met two of them at BEA: Lincoln Peirce (Big Nate), and Carolyn Mackler (The Future of Us), who was taking part in a panel sponsored by the Women’s National Book Association and mediated by Professor Manuela Soares about digital marketing for children’s authors.

This year I had the immense pleasure of meeting Wendy Mass, who wrote one of my favorite books that I have worked with, Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life. I picked my slot on Wednesday because I wanted to meet her, and I got in line for the autographing of Space Taxi – Archie Takes Flight, a cute chapter book about a boy who helps his father drive an interstellar cab.

When my turn came and I told her that I had translated Jeremy Fink in Brazil, she jumped from behind the table to talk to me and asked her husband Michael Brawer (co-author of the book they Ana Ban (2)were signing) to take pictures of us. She wrote on my copy: “It was SO wonderful to meet you – it’s like we wrote Jeremy Fink together!” And she said: “I wish I had more books to give you.”

It was one of the best experiences I have had in my career as a translator, to have my work recognized and appreciated by the author. I really appreciate the fact that Pace makes an effort so the students can attend BEA, it’s a great opportunity for us.”

Luverta Reames, second year Publishing student:

My first time at BEA I was excited.  I was disappointed when I realized I chose a time slot where nothing was going on. I was only able to view the exhibition for less than 20 minutes before I Otraded my badge and headed back to work. I knew that Charisma Media from Florida would be present, and they are the publisher that handles my pastor’s and aunt’s books. I HAD to meet the editor. I met Jevon on Friday night and we grabbed dinner and a live jazz show. Before the night ended she had already figured out how I could gain an internship and a freelance position with the company.

 Charisma was searching for a marketing intern for the summer. I will have a chance to work with Christian ministries and do custom book projects for them. What’s more exciting about moving to Florida for the summer—everything is falling into place. I have my living situation squared away. I’m using someone’s buddy pass for my travels and it’s a paid internship.  Although, I was sad I chose the wrong time. There was definitely a reason I needed to be at BEA and things are working out wonderfully for me.

I was so grateful for the opportunity to attend. I am looking forward to BEA in my hometown of Chicago next year.”

Sarah Poppe, May 2015 Publishing graduate:

“I just graduated from the Pace Publishing Program in May and started what I imagined would be a long and arduous application process for a full-time, entry-level editorial position. In all honesty, this wasn’t my first foray into the full-time job search; I had been sending applications “into the void” for about a year by this point. I say “into the void” because sending resumes and cover letters through online portals always felt like sending them off into the depths of outer space, desperately hoping to make contact with another life form. I competed with Sarah Poppehundreds of other applicants for one open position after another, and I never got the call for an interview. When a close friend of mine put me directly in contact with a hiring manager at Penguin and wrote a lengthy letter of recommendation on my behalf…and I still didn’t get the interview…I had all but given up hope on finding a job in book publishing and was about to turn my attention towards online content writing (something in which I had a bit of experience but didn’t really want to turn into a career).

 I decided that BEA would be my Hail Mary; I would network with as many people as possible, and if I still couldn’t find a job, I would set my sights elsewhere. I went to BEA on Friday, the last day of the Expo, by myself with nothing but a big swag bag and a stack of custom-made business cards. I nervously meandered around the exhibition hall, trying to strike up a conversation with everyone I encountered. I started with the Big 5 booths, but they were swarmed with attendees congregating around the author signings and free ARCs. Eventually, I succeeded in engaging with workers at some of the smaller booths, like Open Road—only to discover that I had been talking to interns who were after the same full-time jobs. At this point, my feet ached and my bag was almost too heavy to drag around.

 By chance, I stumbled across the Crooked Lane booth and was ushered into an author signing line by the words “free” and “New York Times bestselling author.” While in line, the person manning the booth greeted me and made a puzzling look at my badge, which listed my school name instead of my job title. “So what is it that you do?” he asked. This led to a conversation about the PPP and my quest for employment. He asked about my career interests, offered his business card, and told me to email him my resume when I got home. I sent him my resume with a short cover letter, and he set me up with an interview for the following Tuesday. I couldn’t believe it had worked that immediately.

Crooked Lane Books

After two rounds of interviews (and a wonderful recommendation from a Pace professor, to whom I am tremendously grateful), I just got the call that I got the job as an editorial assistant at Crooked Lane, a relatively new crime and mystery fiction imprint. Since they have an incredibly small staff (just four people!), I will get to experience not only the editorial side of publishing, but also production, marketing, and sales. One of the big conversation points in my interview was how the PPP gave me a more rounded understanding of the industry outside of editorial—a fact that I never knew would be so invaluable in giving me an edge over the other applicants.

 My biggest takeaway from BEA is this: networking really is everything! Any opportunity you get to shake someone’s hand, ask for advice, or offer your services is time well spent. I’m an introvert, I tend to have terrible social anxiety, and nothing terrifies me more than walking up to someone I don’t know with a confident smile and a business card. I circled that show floor three times before I worked up enough nerve, and even then, my most successful conversation only happened by chance. The best advice I have is to put yourself in professional situations where you have the opportunity to network (like BEA), be prepared when opportunity presents itself (with either a resume or business card), and know your pitch (Why are you there, and what is it that you are looking for?). It only took one conversation—the right conversation—to land the interview, something I never got from the hundreds of online applications I must have sent in the past year. As Pace Publishing students, we are given free access into the exclusive professional arena of BEA, something that most graduates from other schools competing for the same jobs won’t have access to (with the exception of BookCon, which I still find chaotic and somewhat limited). Take that opportunity and run with it!”

 Professor Jane Kinney-Denning, Executive Director of Internships and Corporate Outreach

jane kinney denningThe BEA is always an exciting, interesting, and exhausting experience!  This year I saw so many friends, former students, and former colleagues and professional acquaintances that I hardly had time to stop and get an ARC or two (but of course I did!).  I love the BEA and the energy that comes with so many book people gathered to showcase their work and upcoming titles.  Seeing so many publishers from the US and around the world gathered in one place is awe inspiring and a reminder why we all love our chosen professions.

Gloria SteinhamI must say that one of my highlights this year was getting to meet Gloria Steinem and have her sign her soon-to-be-published memoir, My Life on the Road. I have always admired her for her activism, commitment to women’s rights and human rights and of course for starting MS Magazine. Although the publicists were expertly moving the very long line of people along quickly, I did get a chance to thank her for her remarkable work.  

Thinking back on this and many previous BEA Conferences, the one thing that always stands out for me is the people; all of the good, passionate book people who make this industry so great. It is wonderful to be a part of it.

Welcome Back for Spring 2015!

January 29, 2015

Dear Colleagues and Graduate Students,

I hope you enjoyed your winter break. Welcome back to Pace University. We have 13 new students and 81 current students enrolled in the Pace Publishing program for the spring 2015, a total of 94 students this semester. The faculty and staff look forward to working with you and assisting you this term.

sherman raskinPlease mark your calendars for the following publishing events.  Paul Levitz (http://mspub.blogs.pace.edu/2011/01/22/paul-levitz/) will give the spring semester lecture as the David Pecker Visiting Professor on Wednesday, April 29, 2015. Mr. Levitz was formerly president and publisher of DC Comics and is serving as David J. Pecker Visiting Professor for the 2014-15 academic year. His lecture will take place at 163 William Street, 18th floor at the downtown NYC campus from 6-8pm. He will discuss issues currently facing the publishing industry. Refreshments will be served.

Another major event and date to place on your calendar is Wednesday, April 8, 2015. At that time, the Pace University Publishing Department will host the fifth Student/Alumni Appreciation Dinner that will celebrate student excellence. The Student Appreciation Dinner will be held at 163 William Street, 18th floor from 6 to 8pm. The dinner gives us opportunity to recognize student and alumni achievement and the uniqueness of our publishing students and graduates. Please make every effort to attend both events.

We wish you a very successful semester. Please feel free to contact me or faculty or staff if you have any questions during the semester. My very best to you for a successful fall term.

Sincerely,

Sherman Raskin
Professor English/Publishing
Director MS in Publishing Program
Director Pace University Press

Publishing Program Welcomes Phoenix Publishing Media Group

Publishing Program Welcomes Phoenix Publishing Media Group

 

Welcome Address by Professor Sherman Raskin 

Pace University MS in Publishing faculty and staff welcome the Phoenix Publishing Media Group (PPMG) to the University for training.  PPMG will be in residence from June 6 to June 21, 2013, exploring the dynamic changes that digital publishing has had on the industry. Pace and PPMG are committed to fostering publishing education and a greater understanding between the publishing industries in China and the United States.  We are honored to host our colleagues from China and wish them great success. We would like to thank Mr. Wu Xia Pong, Vice President at PPMG, for his leadership and for making it possible for his colleagues to visit Pace.

 

Professor Sherman Raskin

Director, MS in Publishing Program

Director, Pace University Press

Professor, English-Publishing

Prof. Sherman Raskin Celebrates 50 Years at Pace!

The Dyson Digital Digest recently posted a wonderful piece about Professor Sherman Raskin’s 50 years of service at Pace University.   Continue reading or click here to read the entire article.

Professor Sherman Raskin Celebrates 50 Golden Years of Teaching at Pace

 

“1963 was a watershed year – President John F. Kennedy is assassinated, The Feminine Mystic is published, and James Meredith is the first African American graduate of the University of Mississippi. It was also the year Sherman Raskin, a new father and a part-time actor, joined the ranks of Pace University teaching basic English and freshman composition.

This year, Pace University is honored to mark Professor Raskin’s 50th anniversary of distinguished service.

Professor Raskin was born in 1937 in the Bronx, NY, the youngest of two siblings. To his father’s delight, Raskin wanted to be an actor and studied it at Columbia University, earning a BFA in Acting. His mom, on the other hand, worried and wondered why a man so bright wouldn’t become a doctor or an accountant. Raskin appeared in film, commercials and television shows including the NBC DuPont Show of the Week: Ride with Terror where he played a young bookworm held hostage on a subway car by hoodlums. Eventually, he would go on to earn a MA in English from Columbia University.

Professor Raskin’s vision and entrepreneurial spirit have contributed significantly to shaping Pace into the remarkable institution it is today. In 1978 he was appointed Chair of the English department where he served for 24 years. Under his tutelage, what were then new concepts in higher education – honors sections, learning communities, women and gender studies courses, a film studies minor – flourished. He was instrumental in organizing and hosting the Dyson Lectures in the Humanities, a series of talks by distinguished guests including Joyce Carol Oates, Budd Schulberg and Gloria Steinem and Wendy Wasserstein, among others. The lecture series ran for more than 20 years and contributed significantly to the level of intellectual discourse.

In 1984, he and Allan Rabinowitz (Pace ’57), a retired professor of Accounting and Publishing, launched the Master of Science in Publishing program and in 1986 he became the program’s director. 27 years later, he’s still the program director. Adding to his portfolio of responsibilities, in 1990 the Pace University Press, a publisher of academic books and journals, was established with Professor Raskin as its helm. Until 2002 Professor Raskin oversaw all three departments at once.

“Sherman Raskin has worked tirelessly throughout his career at Pace with a dedication that knows no bounds. His entrepreneurial spirit led him to build new programs in the English department and to develop the graduate Publishing program, where he expanded Pace’s international presence in China,” said Nira Herrmann, dean, Dyson College. “All of us at Dyson congratulate him for reaching this notable milestone and thank him for his significant contribution to the University.”

“When I look back I’m very fortunate and very grateful. There are many schools that don’t give you the opportunities I found here. Pace has always allowed one to grow,”; said Professor Raskin, “and for that, I’ve loved my work for 50 years.”

Perhaps Professor Raskin’s greatest pleasure comes from family. When he’s not fostering new programs or shaping the minds of students, Professor Raskin enjoys going to the theater and museums with Paula, his wife of 49 years. They have two sons and three grandchildren – Noa, Ari and Taro – with whom he also loves to spend time. He recalls one of the greatest summers ever. “My granddaughter Noa was 12 and she got into the American Ballet Theater’s summer intensive program. That summer she stayed with Paula and me, and every morning we’d get on the LIRR and go into the city. After class, I’d pick her up. She would be hungry so I’d stop at Barnes & Noble and get her a chocolate chunk cookie and a lemonade. On the train ride home, she’d sit reading her book, drinking her lemonade, eating her cookie and I just looked at her and thought, ‘boy, am I lucky.’”

-Dyson Digital Digest, Spring 2013

 To view a great slide show of Professor Raskin’s past 50 years at Pace, click here.