Friday, October 30, 2009


So, Facebook made some changes to its interface. Now instead of seeing everyone's updates in the same place in real time, there's the News Feed with just the highlights (determined how?), or the Live Feed, which (presumably) has everything. And you've never heard such an outcry. People are whining and joining groups to protest.

I, too, was befuddled. But then I remembered that yes, change is hard, but I can quickly adapt. So I decided not to protest, and rather to just go with it. And it suddenly dawned on me that I can hide all of those Farmtown, Mafia Wars, Yo-Ville, and whatever else notifications without hiding the people themselves. So my experience just got better.

And then suddenly today, Twitter adds the "lists" feature. People can now make lists of related tweeters and follow them all on one screen, filtering out the tweets that come from other categories. This is probably a cool idea. Instead of switching gears all the time while looking at a mixed bag of tweets from, say, career experts, local thought leaders, publishing people, and Pee-Wee Herman, I can sort them out using the lists feature. It's also a way to discover more tweeters that I might like to follow.

Happily, I've been added to four lists myself already:
  • @bibliojunkie/library-librarians
  • @SusanWhitcomb/career-jobsearch-wisdom
  • @kristina64/indiana
  • @CFOcoach/colleagues

I have become a follower of these four lists. And maybe when I get back from vacation, I'll take some time and make a few lists of my own.

So see...change is not always bad!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Of E-books and E-mail

This morning I happened upon a tweet from Chris Kubica, an author and FileMaker Pro app developer:

How come everyone isn't pining the demise of mail and the death of the postal service like they are for paper books?

I had immediate flashbacks to my youth and young adulthood, when I was the best little letter writer there ever was. I corresponded faithfully and laboriously with all manner of relatives, pen-pals, teachers, school chums, general acquaintances, and (the best) boyfriends. It was nothing to fill 17 pages of notebook paper with lively discourse, all ground out the hard way: with a pen or pencil. Then I would stamp it, post it, and sit back and wait a week for a response. Seriously.

Since the early 1990s, e-mail has gradually been supplanting my handwritten communication. Think of all the positives: Immediate gratification, less time spent writing, added legibility, and a writer's callous that has all but disappeared (to be replaced by a "mouse shoulder," though). So I was compelled to respond to Chris' tweet thusly:

Because getting letters faster trumps the intimacy of pen-and-paper correspondence.

And it's true. The very heart of writing letters remains the same regardless of the medium. And being able to correspond in real time enhances the experience and the connection between the writer and the reader, I believe.

Chris responded:

But u cn get books on a Kindle/Nook in 60 seconds or less. Even if ur nude sitting on the toilet. Still paper books better?

He must have thought he had a real Luddite on his hands. I responded:

Yes, for now--until we get used to the idea. I'm never in as much of a hurry to buy a book as I am to hear from a loved one.

And I'm not. I'm used to there being a lag between the time I decide to buy a book and the time I get that book in my hands. I'm used to driving to the store or waiting a few days for Amazon to put it on my doorstep.

Chris responded again:

So you aren't sad to see US Mail go. Would you be sad to see paper books disappear, replaced by ebooks?

Here is where I realized that paper books are just further behind on the extinction continuum than letters. I thought of my old boxes of sweet letters with their postmarks, colorful stamps, and tear stains. I don't want to let go of them--or the shelves and shelves of paper books lining the walls of my "library." All of this paper is my ephemeral link to the past. And I like the past. So I clarified my position:

Actually, I am sad about both. But I realize that's overly sentimental, so why stand in the way of progress?

So this is my position: Eventually I will get used to e-books. But because books aren't as urgent as letters, it's just going to take longer for the practical to overcome the sentimental.

Chris said there would always be paper popup books. True dat.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Job Opportunity: Book Acquisitions Editor, Sigma Theta Tau International

Are you a nurse in Indianapolis who's always wanted to work in book publishing? Have I got a job for you! Check out this posting with Sigma Theta Tau, the nursing honor society:

Sigma Theta Tau International

Reports to: Publisher

Time: 20 hours per week

The Acquisitions Editor will work closely with STTI staff, authors, and reviewers as well as the top nurse leaders, CNOs, researchers, and clinicians in the field of nursing to acquire books for the STTI publishing program and support them through publication.

Working under the guidance of the Publisher and in close cooperation with the book editors, the acquisition editor's responsibilities include timely collaboration with key STTI marketing and sales staff members and commitment to internal deadlines. The acquisitions editor will also:

  • Seek out, research, conceive, and champion approximately 13-15 books per year, consistent with the interest areas set forth by the Publisher, market conditions, and sales and guided by the Sigma Theta Tau International Board of Directors.
  • Guide authors through the proposal and publishing process.
  • Research, write, present, and otherwise prepare business plans, financial statements, tip sheets, book summaries, outlines, and other relevant information for each book, under the guidance of the Publisher and in collaboration with authors.
  • Compile ongoing research on nurses and the nursing profession to assist with long-term publications planning.
  • Serve as an author advocate, managing and guiding authors through the proposal and publishing process.
  • Manage and review content prepared by authors and editors to ensure manuscript submission on schedule and in the agreed-upon format.
  • Contribute input to the design and functionality of each book.
  • Contribute editorial input regarding the writing, organization, and content for each book.
  • Implement the long-term and short-term editorial plan for Publications in collaboration with the Publisher.
  • Identify and facilitate the creation of critical author relationships around the world.
  • Provide ongoing communication with authors on book performance, marketing opportunities, and speaking and signing opportunities at STTI conferences, etc.
  • Solicit manuscripts for publication, as well as assess the potential for new and revised editions of existing STTI titles.
  • Ensure that all necessary intellectual property permissions have been obtained prior to publication.
  • Negotiate financial and contract terms with authors on projects as directed by the Publisher.
  • Coordinate the work of a panel of reviewers and/or international editorial board by the STTI President and/or CEO.

In addition, it is the responsibility of the Acquisitions Editor to:

  • Review proposals and manuscripts submitted for Publication and those solicited by STT.
  • Oversee the review and market survey process.
  • Serve as a primary contact and support for authors.
  • Evaluate user satisfaction and needs periodically.
  • Prepare marketing copy, summaries, book reviews, author letters, and other collateral material for books as needed by publishing, marketing, and sales.
  • Send author questionnaires and other marketing related documents to authors and coordinate their return.
  • Submit an editorial report to STTI at the end of each quarter outlining primary activities (including, but not limited to the number, nature, and status of all proposals), and accomplishments of the Acquisition Editor for the quarter ending and plans for Publication for upcoming quarter.
  • Submit an annual report summarizing the accomplishments of the year and outlining plans for the upcoming year and other reports as requested by STTI.
  • Submit the biennial report for inclusion in the House of Delegates biennial report.

    Some travel required to key STTI or other nursing meetings, nursing schools, or other centralized locations to meet with several current or prospective authors;

Compensation based on experience and degree.

Nursing and publishing experience are recommended. A minimum of a bachelor's degree is required.

To apply, send resume or CV and cover letter to Laura Thurman, STTI HR at For questions or more information, contact Renee Wilmeth, STTI Publisher, at

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Calling All Twitter Fans

I've been keeping this under my hat, but now that the book has been launched to the trade buyers, I can officially annouce one of the exciting additions to our spring list: The Twitter Job Search Guide. You'd be amazed at how you can make connections and establish your career brand on Twitter. I'm excited and proud that three of the foremost career experts and social media evangelists will be sharing their wisdom in this new book in March.
Meanwhile, they are looking for people just like you to contribute helpful tweets to the book. See their call for contributors. And while you're on Twitter, go ahead and follow all three of these expert authors:

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Tips for Getting the Most Out of the Frankfurt Book Fair, by Jason Hand

Greetings from this week's global center of publishing, Frankfurt, Germany. I am here to attend my tenth consecutive Frankfurt International Book Fair (FIBF). As an international rights manager for a sizable global publisher, FIBF is the perfect opportunity for me to meet past, present, and future business partners in person.

And my days at FIBF are usually full of 30-minute (and sometimes 15-minute) back-to-back meetings from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. But I am not here to complain about a grueling schedule, or whine about what it is like to spend so much time in the limelight of promoting my company and its products. I remain grateful for the many opportunities I have had to make long-term relationships and friendships with so many people from around the world.

It is almost a cliché to offer tips and tricks to first-time FIBF attendees. There is a small brochure published every day at FIBF informing everyone of a schedule of special events, as well as industry gossip. And on the first day (Wednesday), that brochure has a small article that typically provides in witty fashion things to do and things NOT to do.

But I will offer here ten of my modest suggestions… some are common sense, and others have been gained by experience:

  • You should be familiar with the website As the official site, you can learn all the basics here.

  • If possible, study in advance a map of the Messe (the fairgrounds where FIBF is held). And get to know how the publishers are distributed at FIBF (for example, English-language publishers are typically located in Hall 8.0).

  • Expect to be walking long distances, so wear comfortable shoes. This is a book fair, not a fashion show. You can navigate the entire fairgrounds in the covered walkways, or you can choose, as I often do, to walk outside (where it is generally cooler and less congested with foot traffic).
  • Should you be fortunate enough to have a FIBF pass that permits you to stay for the duration of the fair, remember that this pass also serves as a free pass to climb aboard all public transportation in the RMV for the duration of the fair. It is often difficult to escape from the Messe via taxi at the end of a long day, but the U-Bahn and S-Bahn trains are convenient and nearby.
  • Try to attend at least one "event," as you never really know what celebrity or semi-celebrity you may encounter. Yes, there will be many German politicians walking about, but you may just run into someone like Dr. Ruth (as I have more than once, with much hilarity, in the past).
  • Expect Saturday at FIBF to be very crowded, as the general public is permitted entrance to the Messe.
  • The Guest of Honor usually has some sort of grand spectacle at least once during the fair. This year's Guest of Honor is China. You should make a note to attend at least one of these events.
  • Underneath the overhead walkway and near the entrance to Hall 5, there is an outdoor flea market that is full of unusual trinkets and gifts. I have seen some interesting items for purchase here, but never bought a thing.
  • Near to the entrance to the U-bahn stop Messe and near the main entrance of the book fair is a used book market. Granted, most of these used books are German-language trade books, so you may not have an interest in such things. And, as it is not in my overall interest and livelihood, I am not supposed to advocate the purchase of used books (especially used textbooks). So maybe this tip is a simple FYI.
  • The Antique Book Fair in Hall 4 is worth a look, if you are interested in old books. There are some for sale (and some simply for display).


And what happens should you make plans to attend the Frankfurt International Book Fair in 2011? Here are some things I suggest to do in advance of next October's fair:

  • I heartily recommend as a travel website for fairly unbiased, basic information. There is a nice summary about visiting Frankfurt, with some recommendations and reviews for hotels as well as restaurants. You will want to book your hotel room in Frankfurt as early as possible.

  • Make dinner reservations four to six weeks in advance of the book fair, if not earlier. Most restaurants now have websites in both English and German. In most cases you can e-mail a reservation request and receive confirmation via e-mail soon after.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Everyone's Heading to Frankfurt

The annual Frankfurt Book Fair begins Wednesday and the publishing world is en route as we speak. Por ejemplo: Wiley's Julia Lampam said on Twitter that there was hardly anyone on her flight from London that wasn't in publishing. Pearson people are Facebooking their flight departures.

My husband has been in Cyprus visiting customers (and enjoying it way too much), but is now awaiting his own flight to Germany. He promises to send a guest post tomorrow: Tips for first-time visitors to the fair. He's promised us guest posts before, hasn't he? But this is his 10th year at the fair and it sounds like he really is writing something to commemorate it.

Meanwhile, you can follow updates from various attendees on Twitter by searching for the #fbf09 hashtag.

Monday, October 5, 2009

How Do You Discover New Music?

Lately I've been pondering the question: If nobody listens to pop radio anymore, how do they find new music?
The need to find an answer became more urgent last night when I was watching The Simpsons. Middle-aged and cynical Mrs. Krabappel was driving to work and singing along to McCartney's wistful 1971 hit, "Another Day." I was with her so far, since I've probably done the same thing at least twice in the last month. Then, blammo! Some teens in the next car yell, "Look at that old lady, singing a song that's a million years old!" Gah.
At this point you might be asking what this has to do with publishing, as opposed to my midlife crisis. The answer is that the music business should serve as publishing's canary in the coalmine. We need to watch how they handle the impact of technology (so far, not great) for clues on how publishing will face similar issues. Or even better, I need to understand how younger people perceive content consumption in the digital age.
So, I'm asking the younger readers: How do you discover new music to listen to? How many times do you need to hear a song before you decide to buy (or steal) it? I have so many more questions, but let's start with those.
Now, for my fellow oldsters. How do you break out of the musical time warp you've created for yourself with your iPod and your satellite radio and the retro programming on traditional radio? It's quite possible for us to go through an entire day and not hear a song that was released after 1989. So how do we break out of that and find new music to enjoy? (A corollary: Is my interest in Death Cab for Cutie as embarrassing as when my mom got into Mellencamp?)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Don't Miss Digital Content Day @ Your Desk

At a time when company budgets are being slashed, resulting in a world of hurt for conference organizers all over, here's an idea that makes sense: The Publishing Business Virtual Conference and Expo (aka Digital Content Day @ Your Desk) on October 29. Not only do you not have to spend money on a flight to New York and a hotel room, but the conference itself is free, too.

There's a full slate of sessions related to the brave new world of online content, including topics such as digital rights management, e-book pricing, print on demand, and the Book Rights Registry resulting from the Google Books Settlement (see the full agenda here).

So how does this virtual conference work? You just register ahead of time and then log in from the comfort of your own office on the morning of the conference. And the coolest part? Just like any live conference, there's an exhibit hall. You can browse the offerings of various vendors and even possibly win donuts and ice cream. And what's better than that?