For Publishing Grad Students: The Importance of Woll’s Publishing for Profit

Publishing for Profit, 2010 edition by Thomas WollIt’s not really news that I recommend Thomas Woll’s Publishing for Profit.  The book was one of the first I purchased in the fall of 2012 when I started at Rosemont College’s graduate publishing program, and my copy is one of the most-referenced books I own.

In fact, I reference Publishing for Profit so frequently that it’s also my number one most recommended title for new students at Rosemont.  When a new student asked me this fall what books I think she should read as she starts the program, I told her to get a copy of Publishing for Profit and keep it near her desk, because I’ve used it almost every single semester of graduate school.

The class I used it for most often, though it wasn’t required reading for the course, was a class I took called Maintaining & Operating a Small Press.  The course has since changed, and it’s taught by a different professor now, but at the time, the main project in the course was to create a (fake) small press, manage the titles the press would publish, and create a business plan to project how the press would run.

Publishing for Profit offers incredible advice for nearly all aspects of running a publishing company.  My endgame as a publishing graduate student has always been to either found or work at a small press, so not only did the course help me gain the skills I’d been looking for, but so did Publishing for Profit.

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Pub Hub Overview

Last night marked my third time attending Rosemont College‘s Pub Hub, and once again, I had a fantastic time!  As I’m working on my final capstone project this year, I rarely have the opportunity to meet other students in the program, so this was my first chance to meet some of the newer students — or, in some cases, interact with them for more than a couple minutes.

First off, some of my program colleagues had some terribly exciting things happen!  It was exciting to check out some of their achievements from this semester.

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On My Way: AWP National Conference 2014

I’ve mentioned AWP before on this site, as I attended the national conference in both 2012 and 2013. This year, 2014, will mark my third time attending the Association of Writers and Writing Programs National Conference, which takes place in Seattle this year. (The two conferences I previously attended were in Chicago [2012] and Boston [2013].)

This year, I’m attending as a staff member of Rathalla Review. You can come visit me at the Rathalla Review table on the book fair floor – if you do, I’ll give you a free magazine!  Our booth is #400, and you can also learn more about Rosemont College.

There are tons of panels I’m looking forward to checking out this year, too, though being busy with the table may prevent me from actually making it to all of them – and some of them may be packed, anyway!  Here are my top picks for panels at AWP 2014:

  1. Science Fiction and Fantasy by Women of the Pacific Northwest: A Hydra House Reading. (Friday, Feb. 28 9-10:15, Rm 303) According to the panel description, the number of sci-fi and fantasy writers in the Pacific Northwest has generated a number of small presses.  While I do love reading science fiction and fantasy, I’m not familiar with many small presses – I mainly read from Orbit Books and Tor if I’m reading adult fiction – so I’m thrilled to check out this reading and also check out the titles from Hydra House.  (If I’m reading the description correctly, the readers will be Louise Marley, KC Ball, Danika Dinsmore, Rachel Swirsky, and Abbey Mei Otis.)
  2. Hip Lit: How Innovative Reading Series are Revamping the Literary Scene (Saturday, Mar. 1 9-10:15, Rm. 618/619/620) I admit I really like interesting readings. This panel will talk about PR strategies, curating “creatively,” and making readings fresh and exciting. As I’m really interested in pursuing public relations and publicity as a publishing industry career choice, it really sounds right up my alley, and I love implementing creative ideas.
  3. We’re Having a party: Building a Literary Community Through Event Series (Thursday, Feb. 27 9-10:15, Rm. 305) Another fun event-based panel, this one will address event space, curating, funding, and hosting along with publicity, so it seems like it may be complementary to the other one. This panel also seems like it will focus on promoting independent authors and artists along with local creative communities, which is also something I’m really excited about trying out.

These are my top three on-site events for this year’s conference, and I really hope I can make it to all of them – they’re all so early in the morning, and I have a table to help with! I’d also like to check out two off-site events: the Filipino Writers Reading (Wednesday, Feb. 26 6:30 at University of Washington) and Monster Mags of the Midwest (Thursday, Feb. 27 6:30 at Unicorn on E. Pike).

There are a ton of other events and panels on my list, but these are the top – who knows how much time I’ll have to visit the things I want to visit?  I hope to see some of you there.  What are you most excited to see at AWP this year?

Inspirations: Guest Lectures and Open Discussions

Last night, I had the opportunity to attend an event hosted by my graduate program, A Talk with Pat Carbine.  Carbine is a magazine woman and has worked at many magazines over the years, but she’s most well-known for co-founding Ms Magazine.

There were many things I took away from the talk, but when I went through my notes again this morning, one thing stuck out the most in my notes.

Be worth listening to.

It’s actually a bit out of context – Ms. Carbine was speaking about coherence and arranging language carefully when she talked about it – but for some reason, that one fragment of a sentence stuck in my mind and has been sitting there all night.  What makes a person or a writer worth listening to?  Why do I listen to (or read) the people and writers that I enjoy?

These things, I think, are all important to consider, especially as I think about my future career as a writer, editor, and/or publisher.  I want to know I’ve done my job in the most complete and thorough way, especially since what I’m currently doing is about giving an underrepresented group better access to things they’re interested in.

Another thing from last night’s talk that stuck with me was when Ms. Carbine talked about magazines that draw people in just with the headlines of articles, transforming a one-time reader into a regular subscriber:

When that happens, editors have done what I think is the magic of publishing: given you something you didn’t know you wanted to read until you saw it in front of you.

That is also magic: being able to define something I’d thought or even known for a long time without having any real definition.  I have always thought of publishing as magical, especially in terms of books, because many of my favorite books are ones I didn’t know I wanted or needed until I read them for the first time.

Towards the end of her talk, Ms. Carbine discussed the launch of Ms Magazine and the way she and the rest of the staff conducted their market research: printing thousands of copies of the magazine and setting them on newsstands across the country.  They received 20,000 subscription cards and letters back, which – Carbine said – told them that despite what the staff had been told, Ms Magazine had a national market.

The thing Ms. Carbine mentioned about the letters themselves – that women were writing in to say “I’m not the only one – I’m not alone” – speaks to me as a writer, as an editor, and as a reader.  When I read, I want to read something that shows me I’m not alone in the things I think or the things I feel.  As an editor, that should be my main objective: to find manuscripts that show readers they’re not alone, either.  That, I think, is what makes any writer really worth listening to.

Upcoming: Author Press Kit workshop

Just a short announcement today.  As my regular readers may know, I’m currently in a graduate program for publishing.  I learned earlier this month that a proposal I submitted to my program was accepted – and I’ll be leading a workshop for authors on writing press kits later this semester!

My workshop will take place April 20 at Rosemont College.  I’ll post more information when I know more, so make sure to keep reading – I may post a few tips and tricks here on the blog before or after my workshop!