Publishing Trendsetter is a production of Market Partners International and Publishing Trends.

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 4/25-4/29

number_5_orangeEvery week we recommend 5 publishing news stories that young book professionals should read to feel more connected to what’s going on in the industry. There are only 5, so even if you weren’t able to read a thing all week, these should help keep you in the know.

Barnes & Noble Founder Leonard Riggio stepped down this week.

Tomorrow, 435 indie bookstores will participate in Independent Bookstore Day.

Amazon continues its legal battle against alleged fake reviews.

Readerlink Distribution acquired retail book distribution business ANconnect, which distributes to Walmarts and Sam’s Clubs.

Beyoncé’s HBO special Lemonade featured poetry by Warsan Shire, a Somali-British poet.

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 4/18-4/22

number_5_orangeEvery week we recommend 5 publishing news stories that young book professionals should read to feel more connected to what’s going on in the industry. There are only 5, so even if you weren’t able to read a thing all week, these should help keep you in the know.

Follett booksellers bought Baker & Taylor, which provides books and many other things to public libraries nationwide.

The 2016 Pulitzer Prize winners were announced on Monday.

Google won the long-running case filed against them claiming copyright infringement over their book scanning program.

Amazon won a $30 million contract to provide ebooks to New York City schools.

Smashwords announced that 50% of their sales come from romance novels.

The Skinny on Temping in Publishing

Ever wondered what it’s like to work in a publishing house temporarily? One of our readers recently temped in the editorial department of one of the Big 5 publishers and answered all of our questions about her experience!

How long were you a temp?
I worked there for a little over three months. My role was to fill in for a SVP, Executive Editor’s assistant while her assistant filled in for a Publisher’s assistant who was on maternity leave.

What were your day-to-day responsibilities?
I was a temporary Editorial Assistant, so I did all the typical duties that an EA would do on the job. This includes answering the phone, responding to emails, and scheduling appointments for my supervisor. I also helped out with writing tip sheets, catalog and flap copy and passing manuscripts for press. I got pretty good at the pass for press process by the end of my three months there. My supervisor had a bunch of big books coming up with a lot of different special-bound editions that required all sorts of additional paperwork. My role also involved reading a few submissions and drafting rejection letters for different projects.

What was the most surprising part of this experience for you?
I think what was most surprising for me was the pace of the role. My last job in publishing had been at a small publishing house, and I had been pushed into being an editor quickly. I responded to an “Editorial Assistant” job posting but was told on my first day that I was actually their new Assistant Editor and had to start acquiring books. I started doing this without much prior knowledge and basically became an editor on day one. Coming to a large corporate company and working as an assistant was a shocking transition for me. Obviously, I didn’t expect them to ask me to acquire books as a temp, but I definitely got a little bored every now and then because the pace was so different. I also wasn’t really used to the extra support. I’m a pretty independent person, so this aspect of temping was really frustrating for me, but I also fully understand that it’s part of the job because as a temp they need to make sure you don’t skip a beat. I got used to it pretty quickly and eventually found my footing after a month or so in.

What skills did you learn while temping that you feel will translate well to your next job?
I think the most important thing I learned here was how a corporate entity works. My previous jobs (granted I’m relatively young so I haven’t had that many) have been with smaller organizations where the chain of command was different and there wasn’t a very big buffer between the powers-that-be and the junior staff. Working at a Big 5 house meant that I had to get accustomed to that chain of command. At smaller companies, it’s okay to simply email the VP or an executive office with questions, but here it’s more typical to go through a supervisor or other junior staff members for almost everything. Even something as simple as asking an editor for a copy of a book on his list meant asking his assistant instead. And trust me, finding out who assists who is a much harder research project than figuring out who edited what.

Another thing is the ability to be adaptable. Being a temp isn’t about finding your own footing in a position and making it your own; it’s about going in there and doing the job the way the person you’re filling in for did it. I have always been pretty good at finding direction, but I think that working as a temp and having to jump into the role immediately really honed this ability.

Would you recommend temping to others looking to get started in publishing? Why or why not?
I wouldn’t necessarily recommend temping as a way for people looking to get started. Any new job has a steep learning curve, but the learning curve as a temp is even steeper, so I don’t think it’s a good idea to be a temp during your first foray into publishing. I would say it’s more of a way for people who already have a background or already have experience in the industry to get a foot in the door at one of the Big 5.

It’s a good networking opportunity, because I met so many amazing and talented people and I’m pretty confident that I’ll end up back there in the near or distant future.

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 4/11-4/15

number_5_orangeEvery week we recommend 5 publishing news stories that young book professionals should read to feel more connected to what’s going on in the industry. There are only 5, so even if you weren’t able to read a thing all week, these should help keep you in the know.

Random House is restarting their One World imprint under the leadership of editor Chris Jackson.

Amazon announced a new Kindle model this week called Oasis.

The First Lady of New York City, Chirlane McCray, is starting a book club.

Hamilton: The Revolution was published this week and sold out on Amazon, sending it into its 3rd printing.

Bookstore sales rose in February.

 

Full-Time Marketer, Part-Time Student: An Interview with Alaina Waagner

Sometimes, I think we all miss school a little bit. Maybe it’s having the opportunity to research something that interests you, or just having a group setting to discuss something in an academic way. Alaina Waagner actually took herself back to school after a few years off to get a masters in business all while working full time at Penguin Random House. She took the time out of her very busy schedule to tell Trendsetter what it’s really like to have a full time job and school at the same time.

Alaina Waagner works in the marketing department of the Random House Publishing Group. She is a graduate of the University of Florida, and is currently pursuing her MBA at Baruch’s Zicklin School of Business. She lives in Brooklyn, loves travel, and can usually be found petting stranger’s dogs on the street.

Describe your current role at Random House:A Waagner

I am an assistant marketing manager at the Random House Publishing Group. If you looked at my resumé or LinkedIn, it’d tell you that my job involves a lot of things like consumer insight research, testing out new digital vendors, and platform evaluation. In simpler and more realistic terms, my job is to communicate with consumers and booksellers and relay their thoughts and information to editors and authors in a way that informs the way that we talk about and sell the book. I do a little of everything, from writing copy for e-newsletters to planning social media campaigns to doing book mailings. And of course there are a lot of meetings. Meetings with authors, with agents, with publishers, with sales. Marketing involves a little bit of everything, and it’s crazy busy in the best way possible.

What master’s program are you in currently?

 I’m in a part-time MBA program at Baruch’s Zicklin School of Business, but I haven’t decided what I’m going to specialize in yet.

What made you want to go back to grad school?

My educational background is very liberal-arts and soft-skills heavy (aka I majored in English) — when I got into publishing, I originally imagined that I’d work in editorial. Landing in marketing, however, turned out to be the best thing that could have happened to me. I decided to go back to graduate school to help me develop more of those “hard” marketing skills that I missed out on in my undergraduate years. While not all of my classes are focused on things like analytics, taking courses across business disciplines has already given me a much broader view of the industry and how management operates in general.

What’s your class load like?

 Baruch’s program is 57 credits for most specialties, and I’m trying not to take more than two classes in any given semester in order to give myself some breathing room. This usually translates to class two nights a week for about 4 hours. I also took a microeconomics class during the January intersession, though, which is an abbreviated, 3-week “semester” that allows you to take an intensive course to get it out of the way. That was certainly a challenge. At this rate, I’m likely to complete the whole program in about 3 years.

Did you always want to go to grad school? Or was it something that came up later?

 I’m actually not sure! My parents heavily encouraged me to go to graduate school right after undergrad, but in hindsight, I’m so glad that I didn’t. I would have ended up with a master’s in English Literature or something similar, and a career track in academia and teaching that I’ve realized would not suit me at all. I think once I moved to the city and started working for a living I appreciated so much more what you can learn in an academic setting and how that can be more directly useful in your day-to-day career. When I figured out what I enjoy most about my job, I started thinking about programs that would give me the skills and credentials I needed to continue to grow.

How will having a master’s degree affect your current job?

I think it’s going to depend. I don’t necessarily see myself staying on the imprint-specific side of marketing, or even in marketing as a discipline. The great thing about the MBA is that it’s allowing me to expand a bit and take a look at other business angles that might appeal to me in the future (for example, I found my accounting and statistics classes weirdly satisfying, but I don’t know that I want to do that as a career full-time) while also strengthening my skills on the marketing side.

What is it like working full time and going back to school? Do you have any free time? Do you get enough sleep?

It’s definitely not easy! More difficult than the workload is convincing myself to go to class after I’ve already worked a full day, especially when the professor doesn’t count attendance. I usually dedicate a full day — Sunday — to catching up on reading and homework, which is usually enough to keep me up to date. What I’ve found, though, is that I feel so much busier since I have to limit my social interactions to just a couple of days a week — and since I have a hard time saying no, I frequently overschedule myself trying to fit everything I want to do into those limited days. I’d probably be healthier and less stressed if I gave myself some time off, but I also perform best when my time is rigidly scheduled and I don’t have much room to lie around and do nothing. Luckily, that tendency has been extremely helpful for my success in the program.

Is Random House helping you in any way during this process?

Random House has been incredibly supportive. The tuition reimbursement program that they offer is one of the major reasons that this has been financially feasible for me; additionally, my boss completed her MBA a few years ago, and thus understands exactly what the program requires. She encouraged me to apply to the program, and has been very flexible about allowing me to take a few hours to study when I need them before an exam or to get feedback on a project that I’m working on. It’s difficult to imagine having the capacity to do this in a less supportive environment.

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 4/4-4/8

number_5_orangeEvery week we recommend 5 publishing news stories that young book professionals should read to feel more connected to what’s going on in the industry. There are only 5, so even if you weren’t able to read a thing all week, these should help keep you in the know.

Barnes & Noble is preparing to open four concept stores in 2017, including one in Westchester County, NY.

Lena Dunham and her Lenny Letter Co-Creator Jenni Konner will start their own Lenny imprint at Random House.

Actor Sir Ian McKellen has pulled out of his memoir deal, and returned advance to the publisher.

Amazon ended its affiliate program in Louisiana after legislators passed a new tax law that allows the state to tax business without physical presences there.

Almost 300 children’s book authors and illustrators wrote an open letter to support the LGBT community in North Carolina after the passing of the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act.

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 3/28-4/1

number_5_orangeEvery week we recommend 5 publishing news stories that young book professionals should read to feel more connected to what’s going on in the industry. There are only 5, so even if you weren’t able to read a thing all week, these should help keep you in the know.

DC Comics announced that four of their comic books will be written by four different renowned YA authors.

MIT Press, Princeton, and Yale Presses are combining their sales forces into one.

James Patterson will donate $1.75 million to school libraries across America for the second time.

Candlewick Press will launch a “design-driven” imprint this fall.

Buzzfeed Books is starting a new newsletter aimed at YA only.

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 3/21-3/25

number_5_orangeEvery week we recommend 5 publishing news stories that young book professionals should read to feel more connected to what’s going on in the industry. There are only 5, so even if you weren’t able to read a thing all week, these should help keep you in the know.

New York City’s Department of Education has revised its proposed ebook deal with Amazon to address concerns from the National Federation of the Blind.

Denver independent bookstore Tattered Cover was targeted by hacktivist group Anonymous for not standing against the city’s camping ban.

James Patterson is writing shorter, cheaper books to appeal to audiences that don’t usually read.

Scribd is now a credit-based service, instead of an unlimited one.

Over 14,000 authors will be paid 6 million pounds after a manual error was made by the organization that pays UK authors when their books are borrowed from libraries.

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 3/14-3/18

number_5_orangeEvery week we recommend 5 publishing news stories that young book professionals should read to feel more connected to what’s going on in the industry. There are only 5, so even if you weren’t able to read a thing all week, these should help keep you in the know.

Now that the mass market paperback of To Kill a Mockingbird will be discontinued, HarperCollins is selling the book at a discount to schools.

The Authors Guild’s case against Google’s library scanning program will head to the Supreme Court.

Barnes & Noble redesigned their website.

Audible added a sharing feature to their service where listeners can share passages of ebooks.

Amazon began cracking down on a scam that puts the Table of Contents at the end of an ebook that would make the book appear to have been read to the end.

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 3/7-3/11

number_5_orangeEvery week we recommend 5 publishing news stories that young book professionals should read to feel more connected to what’s going on in the industry. There are only 5, so even if you weren’t able to read a thing all week, these should help keep you in the know.

Publishers are petitioning the White House and Congress to end the Cuba trade embargo for books and educational materials.

Barnes & Noble Education announced it will replace its digital textbook platform Yuzu with VitalSource.

The Supreme Court denied Apple’s appeal in its ebook pricing-fixing case, ending the legal battle almost 6 years after the investigation began.

The book blog Bookslut is shutting down after 14 years of author interviews, book reviews, and columns.

JK Rowling faced backlash for appropriating Native American legends in the first installment of her “History of Magic in North America” series.