The keynote speech was given by Markus Dohle of Random House. Though he is relatively new to publishing he really made all of us excited to enter the industry.* He spoke about how the industry is changing in really exciting ways – from ebooks to what comes after them. After Dohle’s speech he took a picture with us to use in future presentations.
On Tuesday we heard from several agents about their role in the book publishing process. I had no idea how important they were! So much of what I thought editors did is actually the agent’s job: first edit of the manuscript, marketing the book, convincing a publisher to take the book, etc. Later that day we had small sessions with editors where we got to review sample first draft manuscripts and discuss whether the author was right for a particular imprint. I learned that sometimes the story is more important than the writing – writing can be fixed but a story that goes nowhere cannot.
Wednesday was the first field trip day and we started with the best! Barnes and Noble at Union Square opened early just for us so that we could speak to the major buyers. Buyers at B&N are some of the last left in the industry who buy in large quantities (see demise of Borders). This means that these people make or break a book’s sales – scary! They are the real taste makers of the book world, even more than the “almighty editor.”
Children’s books started off our Thursday morning. The professionals who came to visit were so passionate about what they do and who their market is – so much more interesting than some of the previous talks! I was swept away by the idea of children’s publishing, as you’ll see in the week 2 roundup post! I also met with a Kenyon Alumni Network content on Thursday. The KCN rocks!
I spent the weekend hanging out with my cousin in Bedford, NY so I don’t have any fun pictures to show you. I promise there are lots of images for week 5!
*The program leaders (Libby and Victoria) have a bit of a contest going with us, to see how many people they can get to do book vs. magazine publishing. Markus definitely helped out Libby’s (books) case!
Check out what I did in previous weeks:
- Week 1: Magazine Publishing
- Week 2: Magazine Publishing
- Week 3: Magazine Publishing
- Final Magazine Project
- What I’ve Been Learning: Random House
- I Declare Myself To Be : Indiebound