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PUBLISHING UNIVERSITY PREVIEW

Action on the Advanced Track

by Jennifer Stein and Robin Bartlett

The 2008 Publishing University Advisory Committee has added a number of innovations for this year’s program, including the Advanced Track, which is designed to provide an opportunity for experienced publishers to learn from and network with others at similar levels of experience.

Sharon Goldinger of PeopleSpeak, the organizer of the track, explains its goals: “We created this year’s Advanced Track to give experienced publishers and those who have previously attended Publishing University a fresh experience—one that will challenge their knowledge and address the tough problems they are facing on a daily basis.”

She adds, “We knew that experienced publishers loved the networking and information offered at Publishing University, but we also knew they wanted more. Once publishers have accomplished their original educational goals and moved on to set new ones, they need a program that keeps pace with their growth and takes them to the next level of success.”

The Who and the What

To ensure that Advanced Track attendees have reached a certain level of expertise, publishers who sign up for its classes must meet at least three of the following five criteria:

attended at least one previous Publishing University

worked a minimum of three years in publishing

have publishing as their primary business

grossed at least $250K in annual sales

published at least five titles

One of the new Advanced Track classes is “The Choreography of Big Sales and Marketing Campaigns.” It will be taught by Pam Schwagerl from Tsaba House and Megan Beatie from Goldberg McDuffie Communications. They’ll share many of their success stories and ideas, talk about common problems they’ve encountered, and offer some outside-the-box solutions.

For example, what if your publishing house doesn’t have a big marketing budget? Pam Schwagerl advises looking for sponsors. “For one of our author book tours—one we called The Fantasy Fiction Tour—we found a company that sells everything for medieval/Renaissance fairs. The company jumped at the chance to be our official sponsor and supplied thousands of dollars’ worth of authentic swords and shields for the authors to take to events. In return for its generous donation, we put its logo on all our bookmarks and posters.”

Or what if your goal is to build a fan base for an unknown author? Pam recommends starting a video blog. “Get those videos up on YouTube, and make sure each one shows the author’s name, the book title or tour name, and your video blog Web-site address at the end of the video. Be sure to give each video a catchy title. We showed a series of videos for one book tour, and after only a few weeks, our Web site was getting 10,000 hits a week, with dozens of comments being posted daily.”

“A Taste of the Web/Web 2.0,” led by Internet publicist Nettie Hartsock and digital media consultant David Mathison, is another class in the Advanced Track. This one features numerous tips designed to help publishers strengthen their Web presence.

As a sample, here’s some advice on how you can get started in the social-media world:

Find peers in your market and reach out to like-minded bloggers to generate more incoming and outgoing traffic.

Hit the Blog Carnival site (blogcarnival.com) and type in some keywords that fit your content. You’ll be amazed at the fellow bloggers you’ll find to read, join, and have on your blogroll.

Launch your own podcast radio show. Go to BlogTalkRadio (blogtalkradio.com), where you’ll find an easy-to-use system to get you started. You can use your own landlines or Skype [see “Build Richer Remote Relationships; or, Why I Like Skype” in this issue], and the BlogTalkRadio show folks will take care of the rest—even doing some added PR around each of the shows.

Register your blog address with Technorati (technorati.com) so you can be one of the over 60 million blogs in the blogosphere that is tracked.

These are just a few specifics about the six classes being offered in the Advanced Track. To learn more, visit pma-online.org and click on the Publishing University icon. Along with details about the Advanced Track classes, you’ll find information on all the other creative and stimulating classes Publishing University has to offer, and about the experts who teach them to help both new and experienced publishers share their challenges and learn how to resolve the tough publishing issues they face every day.

Jennifer Stein, a member of the Publishing University Advisory Committee, is president of BookEnds Consulting, which provides a wide range of publishing services to small and midsized independent book publishers. To contact her, emailHYPERLINK “mailto:jstein@bookendsconsulting.com” jstein@bookendsconsulting.com. Robin Bartlett is a senior account executive with the American Heart Association and educational chair of the Publishing University Program. To contact him, emailHYPERLINK “mailto:rbbartlett@aol.com” rbbartlett@aol.com.

On the Advanced Track

The advanced track has been designed so that attendees can take part in a full day of advanced courses on Wednesday and then choose from additional advanced courses on Thursday. Here’s the list of Wednesday’s class offerings:

1A. “The Power of Positive Publishing”—Sara Nelson, Publishers Weekly

2A. “The Choreography of Managing Big Marketing Campaigns and Sales”—Pam Schwagerl, Tsaba House

3A. “Potpourri of Advanced Niche Marketing Techniques”—Maria Jesus Aguilo, Berrett-Koehler Publishers

4A. “A Taste of the Web/Advanced Web 2.0 Tools: DIGG, del.icio.us, wikis . . . Oh My!”—Nettie Hartsock, Hartsock Communications

5A. “How to Make Money Selling Your Company or Acquiring One”—Howard Fisher, The Fisher Company

6A. “Got Milk? Branding, Licensing and Product Line Extensions”—Howard Cohl, Silverback Books

Make the Most of Large Trade Shows with the Matrix Method

Are you thinking about going to one of the big book fairs or educational trade shows in the near future? Do you know what BookExpo America (BEA), the American Library Association (ALA), the London Book Fair, the Frankfurt Book Fair, the Bologna Book Fair, the International Christian Retailer Show (ICRS), or the Gift Store Trade Show (and many other events) have in common? Answer: They all have huge exhibit floors with hundreds, sometimes thousands, of exhibitors.

It’s confusing and frustrating to try to work one of these huge shows, especially if you’ve never attended before. You’re spending good money to go to the show because you believe they can be good places for you to make bookselling connections. But it’s all too easy to waste time and energy walking from booth to booth and trying to decide which ones deserve what kind of attention.

As a solution to this dilemma, I developed what I call The Matrix Method for Working Large Trade Shows, as you’ll see if you access the updated version of my article on the subject, which can be found at pma-online.org. It’s not a perfect solution, but it is a giant step forward and a great way to stay focused, organized, and effective. I’ve attended hundreds of trade shows over the past 25 years, and I still use the matrix method to ensure that I accomplish my objectives.

For more advice from experts on organizing and attending large trade shows, be sure to attend the 2008 Publishing University Class #604: “The BEA Survival Guide: How to Make It Through Book Expo America with Your Sanity Intact,” presented by industry marketing professional Amanda Willis; Davida Breier of NBN; and Ray Friesen of Don’t Eat Any Bugs Productions.

—Robin Bartlett

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