Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Frankfurt, Komme Ich!

The 2010 Frankfurt Book Fair is in full swing. By Friday (as it starts to wind down), I will be in its midst for the very first time. My excuse for never having gone before is that my company does very little international rights business. Most of our material does not translate well to other economies. So it hasn't been worth the effort to pursue translation deals.

I wouldn't really be going this year, either, if it weren't for my husband, the FBF veteran, who thinks I need to see it. This is his 11th year at the fair. It does seem strange that he has inhabited this world for so long and I know nothing of it first hand.

Frankfurt, however, is just a Teutonic appetizer to the real dish of my trip: Athens and Santorini, baby! I have always wanted to visit Greece, so finally I get my chance.

I have been driven to frenzied distraction trying to make sure everything back home is taken care of in my absence. I'm thankful for my mom and my mother-in-law, who make my biennial Euro-jaunts possible by looking after my kiddo and my home. Just a few last-minute details tonight (like, ahem, not living out my recurring nightmare of leaving my passport at home) and I should be ready to go.

You know the best part? I am not taking my computer! My iPod has a few Community and 30 Rock episodes on it, and I loaded up the Kindle with some Nick Hornby (and I still need to finish Eat, Pray, Love--am almost to the love part!). But I am hoping to break my Facebook dependence cold turkey. It will all still be there when I get back. (Won't it?)

Auf weidersehen und αντίο!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Top 10 Most Important Things I’ve Learned from Editing Career Books

Last week I spoke at the monthly meeting of the Indianapolis chapter of the ExecuNet business networking group. When I was invited to speak back in January, I decided that my particular expertise on the subject of job hunting is that I have been reading the collective wisdom of the top minds in the careers business for 11 years. Ten things stood out to me as being the most essential but overlooked secrets to all aspects of job hunting. For your reading pleasure, here's my outline for the speech:

1. Keep your network in good repair.

  • Don’t wait until you need help to reach out to your network.
  • Networking should be a constant reaching out to people you know (former coworkers, family, friends, service providers) and people you don’t (people you share something or someone in common with).
  • Networking is about giving, too.
  • Networking yields up to 80 percent of all jobs landed.

2. Treat your job search like a job.

  • Spend 40 hours a week on your search.
  • Get up on time, get dressed, and work in your “office.”
  • Make a search schedule and stick to it.
  • Don’t underestimate how long it takes to find a job.

3. Write a customized cover letter for every opportunity you apply to.

  • Resumes can still be more general, but the cover letter must be very specific.
  • Write to a specific person—get a name (hiring manager, not HR).
  • Show, point by point, how you are a fit for the job.
  • Show your enthusiasm for the job.
  • Close actively rather than passively.

4. Emphasize accomplishments on your resume rather than job duties.

  • Just one or two lines for your job duties. Use bullets to emphasize accomplishments (six for current job and three for past jobs).
  • Accomplishments show how you affected the bottom line: How you made money for the company, saved money, grew customer base, created products, developed procedures, won awards.
  • Accomplishments must be quantified with numbers.

5. Build a professional and appealing online presence.

  • Get on LinkedIn, create a professional profile, reconnect with your colleagues, and get recommendations.
  • Make Facebook settings as private as possible; still, don’t post anything you wouldn’t want your mom to read. Untag unflattering photos.
  • Use Twitter to show your industry knowledge, connect with decision makers, and find out about job openings.
  • If you are good at writing and information sharing, showcase your knowledge in a blog. Again, show some personality but don’t ever say anything that makes you look like a bad employee.

6. Use the Internet the right way in your job search.

  • Professional networking
  • Company research
  • Applying for jobs directly with companies

7. Don’t waste a lot of time chasing job postings.

  • Competition dramatically increases once a job is posted online or in the classifieds.
  • Use your network to find the opportunities before they are posted.
  • Don’t spend all day hiding behind your computer. Get out of the house and make connections.

8. Be prepared to back up anything you say about yourself in an interview with an example.

  • Behavioral interviewing: Tell me about a time when you…
  • Develop a success story to illustrate your top qualities and skills.
  • Challenge, actions, result format.

9. Put off talking about salary as long as possible in the process.

  • Most employers that ask for a range in the ad will still consider you without one (except those who state explicitly that they will not).
  • Whoever mentions a number first, loses.
  • You might name a number that is out of their range, and they will not consider you.
  • You might name a number that is lower than they were prepared to offer.
  • Defer the question by saying you want to focus on whether you are a fit for the job first. Can talk salary later.
  • If you have no choice, name a range.

10. Hiring experts to help you with your search can be worth the investment.

  • Trying to write your own resume is like cutting your own hair—difficult, and it probably won’t end up looking great from all angles.
  • Professional resume writers can be objective and cut what needs to be cut, prompt you for accomplishments, and present you in the best light.
  • Career coaches help you get to the truths inside you, promote what’s most impressive about you, show you the best ways to search, hold you accountable, and offer encouragement.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

In Defense of Prince

Yesterday we all got a good laugh from an enchanting little story written by Peter Willis for the Daily Mirror (UK). In it, he is allowed exclusive access to secretive pop star Prince's enclave and paints him as a modern-day musical Willie Wonka. No such story would be complete without revealing some of His Purpleness' quirks (of which there are many). But what emerged as the main thrust was this quote:

The Internet's completely over.

Prince's statement was, of course, met with as much derision as when Al Gore purportedly said he invented the thing. Yes, it's rather absurd today to try and imagine life after the Internet. But what I think he might have been saying was that as a music-delivery medium, the Internet is over for him. Obviously, he's got some contractual problems with Apple and some copyright issues in general. I always root for the underdog, so I'm hoping he can find a way around it all.

Prince goes on to say that

All these computers and digital gadgets are no good. They just fill your head with numbers and that can't be good for you.

Again, hilariously unhip, right? But isn't a nagging voice in the back of your head telling you that he might have a point? Whatever the gadgets are filling your head with (in my case, so many words and thoughts and conflicts that my cerebellum fairly buzzes) is disruptive to society. People are finding it harder and harder to relate to one another IRL. It's easy to sit behind your computer and pull the strings, blaming others for our own problems. I fear we will forget how to get out there and live life and be responsible for ourselves.

Another of Prince's documented quirks that I think has merit is his status as a "teetotal vegan." Drinking still water and eating raw fruits and veggies is about as pure as it gets. I will probably never break away from my fondness for the occasional seared cow flesh and fermented grape. But if I can eat just a little more like Prince, it sure wouldn't hurt anything. Maybe I'll start asking myself "WWPE?" (What Would Prince Eat?).

Bottom line: Yes, Prince prances to the beat of a different drum than most of us. But it's that eccentricity that fuels his genius, and I admire his spunk.



Monday, May 10, 2010

Is It Time for a Resume Makeover?

If you're like me, your current resume has probably been evolving since you applied for your first job (and for me, that's been more than 20 years—ouch). I've added jobs and tweaked the presentation for lo these many decades, but it's all still based on that first document.

For a couple of years, I have been writing resumes professionally in my "spare" time. Along with writing, editing, and marketing skills, I've been able to bring my clients something rare and valuable: Brutal objectivity. "It's great that you used to groom poodles. But that has absolutely nothing to do with manufacturing engineering, so let's cut it!" In the back of my mind, I've always known that my own resume could benefit from some of that, too. But something (lack of time, sentimentality, laziness, whatever) has kept that task on the back burner.

Last week something finally clicked, though. I had just done a couple of elegantly streamlined resumes for friends whose careers have been longer and much more illustrious than my own. If the highlights of their careers can fit on two pages without having to resort to two columns and tiny type, why can't mine?

Another contributing factor was the arrival of a volunteer resume writing mentor. Just hours after I woke up from a dream with the words "I need a guru!" on my mind, I was contacted by a longtime professional resume writer who offered to mentor me toward formal certification. It was truly cosmic. Her edits have shown me that I am still too profligate with words—most especially on my own resume.

So I'm doing it now: I'm starting over from scratch. Here are some things I'm changing:

  • Adding more white space. This means, of course, that I'm cutting words. Lots of words.
  • Letting go of some earlier jobs. Although I might mention my experience as a newspaper reporter to support my writing ambitions, it won't get more than a phrase (and certainly not a date).
  • Not listing a bunch of specific book projects. My current resume lists a half-dozen example projects for each job. I think I will instead mention only a few that are particularly impressive in terms of their sales and scope. Maybe I'll create a separate, more comprehensive list of books I've edited and call that an addendum. But maybe adding the quantifying phrase "edited more than 300 books" in my summary will suffice.
  • Dropping education details. I don't need to mention my 20-year-old activities and internships. I'll just give my degree, my major and minor (because it was PR), and the fact that I graduated summa cum laude. I won't be giving the date. I'm not quite old enough to be discriminated against because of age, but it won't be long until I am.
  • Tightening job descriptions. My guru says they can't be more than three lines long. This is tough.
  • Quantifying all bulleted accomplishments. If I can't attach a number to them, I can't use them.
  • Adding social media contact info to the header. My resume now contains my blog address and Twitter handle because the content I've put out there is devoted to professional topics.

Of course, my work on my all-new resume has ground to a halt in favor of a new freelance editing project. But I vow to complete, polish, and post my new document within a month. What about you? Have you got the objectivity to trash your resume and start over from scratch? I challenge you to start it today! It's something proactive you can do to make yourself feel better in an unsteady economic climate.

Friday, April 16, 2010

What If They Had a London Book Fair and the Americans Didn't Come?

Earlier this week I was all set to send out another ho-hum blog post about how my husband was once again heading off to the London Book Fair for the 11th year in a row. But as most people know by now, something happened.

The car service picked Jason up at 3:45am yesterday and took him to the airport to catch his Chicago flight, and from there on to London. At 7am, as my daughter and I were getting dressed, the Today show came on with the news of the volcano eruption in Iceland. I gasped. As my brain was processing how absolute the Heathrow ground halt was, the phone rang. Indeed, Jason had been advised to get off the Chicago flight (which was delayed) and go home. He rebooked through Paris for today, thinking things might improve. (Meanwhile, I drove about 100 miles round trip to fetch him, take him home, and then go to work.)

By this morning, of course, the ash situation worsened, and e-mails were flying back and forth among him and his colleagues here and in Upper Saddle River. The group's annual rights summit was scheduled for tomorrow in Dame Marjorie's private dining room overlooking the Thames from The Strand. There was no way they'd make it in time for that. So they decided to cancel it. And they also decided that the travel situation would make it nearly impossible to get there in time for the fair itself on Monday. So they surrendered to Vulcan and cancelled their trips altogether.

Jason has spent the entire day undoing all the work and plans that he's been making for months: cancelling dozens of publisher meetings, hotel rooms, flights, trains, dinners, and more. He's absolutely devastated and feels out of sorts to be here and not there. But many of his publishers responded that they, too, would not be able to make it to the fair. What can all of humankind do when Mother Nature kicks over our intricately constructed societal anthills?

Fair officials are still planning to go ahead with the event. But periodic searches of the #LBF10 hashtag on Twitter indicate that the British will likely end up doing a lot of talking to one another because even their European counterparts can't get across the Channel in time. Still, it will be a great economic loss to everyone. Such a shame.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

To Tweet or to Blog?

For several months, I've been kicking around the thought that the current Twitter craze is hurting blogs by enticing their writers to take the easy way out and just tweet instead of crafting a more substantial blog post. I know that's what I've been doing.

And back in November, Publishing 2020 blogger Joe Wikert admitted that Twitter is cutting into his blogging frequency:

The time I used to spend reading (and writing) blogs has shifted to Twitter. I find myself less attracted to the long form writing in blogs and more to the short bursts of Twitter. FWIW, I used to write 4-6 posts for this blog every week and now I typically only write one, but I also write anywhere from 3-10 or more tweets per day. Despite that, traffic continues to grow modestly and nobody has complained so it seems like the right approach.

Yo, Joe, aren't you the one who told me I needed to blog every day? Seriously, that was good advice. Posting frequently catapults your content to the top of search engine results because they like to index frequently updated sites. Like Joe, I've seriously cut back my posting frequency to about one post per week. But last time I checked, this blog was still the number-one result on Google and Yahoo for the search term "Publishing Careers." So maybe the new advice is blog every day for a couple of years, and then you can rest on your SEO laurels?

I've noticed a similar trend in readership, too. My "backlist" usually gets a lot more action than my new posts (exceptions being this post about Butler coach Brad Stevens and this post about DC Trawler blogger Jim Treacher/Sean Medlock), anyway. And my daily readership stays about the same as it's always been, but without the big spikes I used to get when I got a good mention elsewhere.

So then Monday on Twitter, I ran across this post by Adam Singer on The Future Buzz listing 19 reasons why bloggers should resist the urge to merely pass along information, but to continue creating it in the form of blogs as well. And it must have hit a nerve. I retweeted it and got tons of high-profile retweets to my own fifth-hand retweet. It's as if somebody finally said what we all didn't want to say but knew was true: Creating compelling content does more for you and your brand than if you just share links to other people's content. What a great post.

Always the catastrophizer, I also wonder whether the decline of long-form blog posts will lead to a shortage of ideas. Will it lead back to old-school journo model of the few writing to the many, and the many just echoing their words in short tweets? And those of us who started blogs just to keep the words flowing will find ourselves with a new case of writer's block.

Don't get me wrong. I still love Twitter. I learn so much more, so much faster. I've expanded my network and shared laughs with people I have never met. I've got my finger on the informational pulse of the gadget-addicted world. Love it. Can't get enough of it. It fascinates me. But people who can write and who have something to say shouldn't squander it all on tweets. So I promise I will make an effort to write more long posts like this one.

Monday, March 29, 2010

How Brad Stevens Got His Dream Job

It's going to be hard to think about much besides basketball in Indianapolis this week. We already knew we'd be immersed in the Final Four hullaballoo by virtue of the fact that March Madness, as it often does, ends here. But little did we suspect we'd be cheering for the home team--the Butler Bulldogs--as well.

It's an irresistible story: A small school (4,500 students) led by a young coach (33-year-old Brad Stevens) defies the odds and makes it to the NCAA Final Four—just miles from their own campus. The national media has already begun to tire of its own parallels to the movie Hoosiers (part of which, of course, was filmed in Butler's home arena). But perhaps the most fascinating element is the coach himself.

Brad Stevens played high school basketball in Zionsville, where he is still the all-time leading scorer. (My brother-in-law Andrew Hand played on the high school team with him, but I haven't yet managed to parlay that into an introduction.) Brad went on to play basketball in college at DePauw while majoring in business. Upon graduation, he joined Eli Lilly in a marketing capacity. But his heart was still on the basketball court, and he volunteered as a high school coach and also in administrative roles with the Butler team.

Within seven years, he had been hired by Butler and moved up the ranks to head coach. And now, just a few years later, he's led the team to its first-ever Final Four.

I can't help but think of the book I edited, Your Dream Job Game Plan, in which sports agent Molly Fletcher puts forth the five tools you need to get your own dream job:

  • Passionate style
  • Fearlessness
  • A game plan
  • Flawless execution
  • Managing choices

I haven't met Brad, but it's obvious that he used all five of these tools to reach—and excel in—his dream job. Imagine how scary it must have been to give up a secure and lucrative business career for a shot at coaching. He had a passion for basketball, he managed his career choices, he had a plan, and he executed his plan flawlessly. And now all of Indiana is cheering him on as his team faces Michigan State (ironically, Molly's alma mater) in the first game of the Final Four.

Reached for comment this afternoon, Molly had this to say:

Brad Stevens is a “5-tool-plus-some coach." Getting to the final four--as Brad Stevens has done--requires passion, game plans, fearlessness, execution (married with a little luck sometimes). Brad gets it. He is a heck of a x and o coach--but an equally good motivator--and has gelled his guys together to find himself home in Indianapolis living out a dream. But, as a former Spartan, I must add, so has Izzo. Go Green!

Brad and his team are already winners in our eyes, regardless of what happens on Saturday.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Wiley Posts Summer Internships

Looks like Wiley in Indianapolis will once again be offering several editorial internships this summer:

The IT posting mentions a stipend but the others don't (that doesn't mean that they won't pay something; you'll have to ask to find out for sure). Each posting says that the internship is "structured" and lasts 10 weeks. (I'm an ISTJ on the Myers-Briggs scale, so structured is really good in my mind.)

I've said it dozens of times on this blog, but I'll say it again: An internship is an excellent way to get valuable experience, paid or not. It also can sometimes get your foot in the door for something permanent once you graduate.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Integrating Twitter into Your Blog

I'm probably the last person to figure this out. But it's still so cool that I have to share it.

For the past year or so, I have been so enthralled with Twitter that I have neglected this blog. I found it easier to tweet helpful bits of advice there than to write up a few paragraphs about it here. But I know there are people who read the blog but don't follow me on Twitter, so I worry that they are missing out on a lot.

I was poking around on Twitter yesterday trying to verify some stats for an upcoming book. Then I noticed a link at the bottom of the home page that says Goodies. And well, far be it from me to pass up goodies of any sort. The Twitter goodies are buttons and widgets you can put on your site. I clicked on Widgets and found a button that specified that I wanted it on my website (I can't seem to find it today, though!). I was able to pick a widget and customize the colors. Then there was a Blogger button that put it right into my blog. I went into my customization settings and moved it below the AdSense ad (because heaven knows I make a killing off of that! ).

So now, voila! Blog readers can see my most recent tweets. One thing I learned, though, is that things I retweet with the Retweet button do not show up in my widget. So I'm back to doing manual RTs for a while. It takes more time but it also facilitates networking because people can see that I am retweeting them.

And I am deliriously happy with myself!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Want to Be a Marketing Assistant/Coordinator?

Coincidentally, I ran across two different postings today for marketing assistants at publishing companies. The first is at EMC Publishing, our parent company in St. Paul, Minnesota:

Educational publisher seeks Marketing Communications Coordinator. This person will be responsible for working with the Marketing Communications Manager to coordinate the implementation of the EMC Publishing marketing plan through the design, copywriting, production, mailing, and tracking of all marketing projects through multiple channels. Assist the Marketing Communications Manager with special projects as assigned. Duties include:

  • Develop, execute, and evaluate direct mail marketing materials (including catalogs, brochures, flyers, and letters) for new and backlist titles that generate sales leads and product orders, and support the sales representatives.
  • Collaborate with all internal teams involved in the product development process to determine the conceptual and copy direction of branding and advertising initiatives.
  • Develop online web content for including new product copy, promotional pages, and event announcements
  • Write and conceptualize emarketing campaigns including emails, web site landing pages, and social media platforms.
  • Proofread and fact-check product information in all EMC marketing materials.

Bachelor's degree required in Marketing, Advertising, Communications, or related degree. Must have at least two years of marketing communications experience with a demonstrated ability to communicate clearly and effectively primarily in written form. Must have knowledge of mailings, project management, and promotions. Must have very good knowledge of technology to include computers and software programs such as MS Office. Requires exceptional organizational skills and attention to detail to coordinate phases of projects with others under tight deadlines. Apply here.

The second marketing job is at Wiley in Indianapolis:

Provides general administrative support to marketing department, including processing bills and monitoring promotion expenses, special sales events [workshops, author tours, conventions, and book fairs], and advertising schedules. Assists in the implementation of marketing plans, including coordination of author promotion initiatives, preparation and distribution of sales tools, including sales sheets, product kits, and competitive information. Provides back-up copywriting [space ads and sales letters], proofreading, and basic design support.

Requirements: 1 year of marketing or publishing experience. Proficiency on MS applications. Ability to work in a fast-paced, deadline driven environment. Excellent communication skills required.
Apply here.

These two jobs are at slightly different levels and have different entry requirements. I found these two postings informative (not to mention encouraging, from an economic standpoint) and thought you might, too.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Twitter Job Search Guide Publicity Wins!

If you're following me on Twitter (and you should be!), you're probably sick to death of my tweets about The Twitter Job Search Guide. But I swear it's not calculated and shameless self-promotion. I truly adore this book and am so very excited that it's now available in stores.
The book is packed with novel and vital tips for maximizing Twitter for your career purposes. Pick it up, turn to any page, and I guarantee that you will learn something.
A week or so ago, the authors did an interview for the Associated Press that has received wide distribution and iterations of it are turning up all over (for example, here on the ABC News site). That has helped push the Amazon rank to a respectable spot for a new book and is spawning new exposure every day.
The authors are spearheading an energetic and innovative PR campaign, beginning with a book launch party in New York on Monday. We've never really tried that for any of our other books, mainly because the subject of careers is not usually thought of as glam. But throw in the hottest social networking trend and suddenly, things get interesting.
But here's where it takes a turn for the surreal. Original gossip girl Liz Smith just happens to live in an apartment above the restaurant where the launch party is taking place. And today, she gave it a very nice preview in her online column. This is where I got a little woozy. Finally, finally, we've got a book going viral. I am so excited to see what happens next!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Libraries and the Job Hunt

I'm back from Charlotte and have much more that I want to say about what I learned at the Baker & Taylor vendor summit. As you know, B&T is a major library wholesaler. So as I worked the vendor fair yesterday, many of the people stopping by the table were librarians or people who sell to librarians. I cannot count how many people said "Oh, resumes and job search are hot right now. A lot of libraries have job search centers in them." Of course, we've been reading that in the media. But it's good to hear it validated over and over again.

After the fair, Tom (our rep) and I had time to kill before our flight. So we drove to downtown Charlotte and hit the streets. Serendipitously, we walked right to the main branch of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Public Library (love the reading-related quotes from Samuel Johnson and others on the pillars outside). Immediately we saw a sign pointing us to the career center. It was a huge space with lots of resources and computer terminals, as well as a medium-sized collection of job search books (including a good representation of ours, thank goodness). It wasn't overrun with people, but it was being used.

We walked around a bit more and found another area with computers for public use. Standing behind 36 users and looking at their screens simultaneously drew a gasp from me. "Tom, they are all on Facebook," I said. "I think we've got a national epidemic on our hands. I can't wait to go tweet about this!"

I'm not sure what conclusions to draw; maybe only that Facebooking was a more popular activity than job hunting in Charlotte yesterday. Certainly, there is value in any sort of networking. But there are so many distractions online. Hopefully all those people already have jobs.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Baker & Taylor Vendor Summit Meeting

Hello from North Carolina, where library distributor Baker & Taylor has spent the day filling me (and hundreds of other publishers) with good food and great information. Our trade sales rep, Tom Doherty, invited me to come along to the summit to learn more about doing business with B&T, and to talk to librarians about our books at tomorrow's vendor fair.

Baker & Taylor is the #1 distributor to library and academic markets, retailers, and international accounts. They do business with 82% of all public libraries, 95% of academic libraries, and 15% of school libraries.

The first two hours were overall introductory remarks from the senior management team, where we learned about trends in the library business ("flat is the new up"), value-added services that B&T offers (such as collection development), and other branches and initiatives of the company. Among nonfiction topics, they cited Business & Economics (our category) as the second-largest-selling category. They even went so far as to point out that "Resumes and job search guides dominate, with emphasis on social network[ing]."

Later we learned about their new e-book reader software, Blio, which works on all hardware platforms and enables publishers to easily and cheaply add video, links, and other amazing interactive features to their e-books. I think it might be just what we have been looking for. So when I get back, I'll start working to get approval to get some of our titles converted and distributed on Blio.

It was very interesting to see how they have ramped up their marketing efforts to push our titles into the hands of libraries. This apparently new strategy seems aggressive and sharp, and it was interesting to hear the steps they took toward rebranding the company.

Then tonight was the vendor appreciation dinner, peppered with 10 best-selling authors, with David Baldacci topping the bill. His books really aren't my preferred genre, but he was highly entertaining and charming, telling stories of what happens when a best-selling author goes out in the world, mingling with Italian mayors, presidents, and more than a couple loonies. Top it all off with some Baked Alaska and you've got a really great day.

Looking forward to meeting our customers directly in the booth tomorrow. I scoped out the exhibition hall earlier and we will be among the who's who of trade and academic publishers. Should be entertaining.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Wiley Seeks eContent Conversion Specialist

I keep Wiley's job postings on my RRS feeds and ran across something very interesting this morning. The Indianapolis office is seeking someone to convert its print materials to electronic formats. Check it out:

Responsible for assisting with the production of all eContent produced by the Indianapolis Composition Services department. This will include conversions from the page layout application directly to eContent such as XML, ePub, Kindle, etc. It will also entail the usage of XSLT to transform exported content into the appropriate format for compliance with Wiley’s version of XML and other eContent requirements. In addition, this position will assist with training people in eContent conversion methods as needed.

Requirements include a working knowledge of XHTML, HTML, and CSS and an exposure to XML (including schemas and DTDs). Knowledge of XSLT would be ideal. Prior work in a publishing environment would be a plus. Must also have a minimum of a 2-year technical degree. The successful candidate must also be self-motivated and have the ability to multi-task in a deadline-oriented environment. Written and verbal communication skills must be a strength, especially the ability to clearly communicate technical ideas to non-technical colleagues.

I have been thinking for a while that the brave new world of publishing will begin to require people who can do conversions like these. Now we know what a job like that would look like. The fact that Wiley is hiring someone on staff to do it instead of outsourcing it indicates that they understand the importance of making content available in multiple e-formats--and that they realize there's enough work to keep someone busy all the time.

This looks like a good opportunity for a tech/design whiz to get in on the ground floor of something big--and something that is likely to evolve and change a lot in the coming years.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Got a Fever for the Olympics? I Prescribe "State of the Skate"

The winter Olympics are almost upon us in snow-challenged Vancouver. So what better time to introduce you to a blog on figure skating?

If you want to get some expert analysis of the competition from a true fanatic and meticulous historian, check out State of the Skate. This week, blogger Kelli Lawrence has been running a series to help us "every four years" fans get up to speed.

In the interest of full disclosure, Kelli is my longtime friend and former JIST coworker. As our video manager, she let me do some cameo appearances in her films (you won't want to miss my turn as the caring older sister giving career advice to an earnest teen...). We bonded over '80s music trivia and had our babies within 2 months of each other. She even took me to Stars on Ice one time.

We'll check in with Kelli again in a few months when she finishes writing her book, Skating on Air, about the history of media coverage of the sport (for which she already has a publishing contract). I'm sure she'll have lots of tips and insights from a first-time author's perspective--not to mention great stories of all the skating legends she's been interviewing.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Good Connections and New Experiences at the Wisconsin Careers Conference

Last week I was fortunate to have the opportunity to travel north for the University of Wisconsin's Careers Conference in Madison. Now that I think about it, after nearly 11 years at JIST, it was my first conference aimed at the people who serve institutional job search customers--such as students and workforce development clients.

My main purpose in going was to watch several of our authors in action: Dr. Laurence Shatkin, Dr. John Liptak, and Dr. Richard Deems, in particular. Dick Gaither and Dr. Bob Orndorff presented pre-conference workshops; and sadly, I didn't get to see much of them. But it was great to see three of our authors doing well-received presentations. I also enjoyed the two keynotes and several other featured speakers.

For the first time ever, I decided to live-tweet this conference (since I finally have a laptop with a battery that lasts all day and working wifi). What an interesting exercise that was! It was hard work keeping on top of the most relevant and interesting points from each speaker, packaging them into tweets, and trying not to make any errors of fact or grammar. I think I'd give myself a solid "B" for my efforts. I realized that it takes a lot of skill to do it well. And I wondered whether there might be a market for freelance tweeters to go around publicizing conferences. I think I would enjoy doing that. You can get a feel for what I learned by taking a look at my Twitter stream from last week.
A side benefit from the firehose of tweets I was sending out was that it raised my Twitter profile. A dozen or more people retweeted my tweets, asked questions, and made jokes while I was in the midst of reporting the conference. It made it an interactive exeprience for me, and it informed a lot of others who couldn't be there. I think I even got a few more followers as a result.

Unlike the other conferences I've been to, people were not as open to networking and didn't necessarily know who I was. That was kind of nice. Sometimes letting a bunch of professionals know that an acquisitions editor is in the house is like throwing chum on the waters. But I did make one new friend: Leslie Bell, associate director of the career center at Hamilton College in upstate New York. Coincidentally, Leslie is starting a blog for her career center; so I was able to offer some tips. She said I inspired her; and if that were the only good thing to come of my trip, it would totally be worth it.

I also connected with at least one potential author and talked about book ideas with an existing author. And you know what else was fun? The six-hour drive to Madison with my co-worker Bob Grilliot. He was there to connect with customers at our booth, so he had to rent an SUV to haul the books. It just so happened that the SUV was equipped with heated seats and satellite radio. So we cruised in comfort while reveling in New Wave tunes, deliriously oblivious to the certain death that would await us should we break down or slide off the road in the frozen tundra of Minonk, Illinois. For me, an enduring image of the trip will be watching the wind turbines turn to the rhythm of the Smiths's "How Soon Is Now?" Pure poetry.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Indiana Blogger Gets Discovered; Loads Up Truck for D.C.

Today I write to offer hope to the millions of us who labor in obscurity on our blogs. One of our ilk has just hit the big time. And he's my co-godparent.

For close to a decade, Sean Medlock anonymously (and unbeknownst to us all) wrote a right-leaning political blog under the pseudonym of Jim Treacher. Then one recent day Tucker Carlson, editor-in-chief of The Daily Caller, came calling. The grapevine has it that he flew to Indy to meet Sean, liked him, and then immediately flew him to D.C. to meet the staff.

So as of January 10, Jim Treacher has his own column, "The DC Trawler," on The Caller's site. Nobody is more amazed about his good fortune than Sean himself. "Isn't this crazy?" he asked me over Twitter last night. "It's happening to me and I don't even believe it."

I asked Sean to share a tweet of advice for all of the bloggers who aspire to go big with their writing, and he responded in classic Jim Treacher style:

Write every day. Or as often as you can. Okay, at least once a month. If possible. Maybe. Crap, I'm no good at advice.

But it sounds solid to me. I look forward to reading more of his adventures as the self-dubbed "Farmy McRube" acclimates himself to the beltway. But I don't plan on talking politics with him at Zack's next birthday party. Looks like we've got a Carville/Matalin problem going on (in which I am the scary cajun Jack Skeleton lookalike).

Monday, January 18, 2010

Gearing Up for the Wisconsin Careers Conference

A week from today I'll be hitting the road with my coworker Bob, bound for Madison and the Wisconsin Careers Conference. This will be my first time at this conference (nay, my first time to even set foot in the state), even though it's been buzzing along happily without my presence for the last 24 years.

The thought of heading north in January has always made me seize up. But ever since I took over our workbooks a couple of years ago, I have felt that I wasn't quite in touch with the people who use those books. This conference is aimed at K-14 teachers, HR professionals, counselors and guidance staff, college and university educators and advisors, career counselors, career center personnel, and many others. So this is a great opportunity to immerse myself in their community.

JIST will be well represented there in addition to Bob in the booth and me in the sessions. Coworker/author Laurence Shatkin will be one of the featured speakers, sharing his research on the Best Jobs for Renewing America. Author Richard Deems will be leading a roundtable on his Job Loss Reaction Cycle (which is featured in his book, Make Job Loss Work for You). Our assessment guru, John Liptak, is hosting a roundtable on integrating spirituality into career counseling. And authors Bob Orndorff and Dick Gaither will be presenting preconference workshops. I'm looking forward to taking them all to dinner or lunch at some point in the conference.

I'm planning to bring along my laptop and tweet up a storm about what I'm learning. So look for me on Twitter next Tuesday and Wednesday (@loricateshand).

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Why I'm Now Moderating Comments on This Blog

I'll start by saying that this blog has never been a hotbed for comments. Sure, there have been some great comments by loyal readers and many good discussions have arisen. I also enjoy the occasional anonymous tipsters who drop by with a little inside info on the industry--very illuminating. And some of the best discussions have occurred over e-mail and Facebook with people I met through this blog that I now consider personal friends (Katharine, Mark, and Krisan, I'm talking about you!). So comment moderation really hasn't been much of an issue.

Right off the bat, I did set up a captcha so that only real people--and not spambots--would be commenting. That has helped tremendously. But what I didn't count on were the so-called SEO bloggers who are real people that go around comment-spamming relevant blogs. For a long time, I just went in and deleted these types of comments.

But back in November, an industrious spammer in Mumbai took a fancy to Publishing Careers and was daily posting the same spam on different entries. One day he or she was posting them faster than I could delete them, and we were doing battle in real-time. I decided to turn on comment moderation, which means that I get to reject comments before they are posted. Immediately, my spammer went away. I might never find and delete all of that spam, but at least I've stemmed the tide.

With this new "power" comes responsibility, of course. Do I go ahead and allow comments that are critical of me? And what do I do in cases where I really can't tell whether the commenter is sincere or just a very sly spammer? I promise to post all but the most obscene criticism, and to do my best to separate the spammers from the true commenters. And I promise not to let comments sit too long in moderation limbo.

Thanks for reading. Sorry I have been a lax poster as of late.