LBF 2012: Day 3: Getting Into Pubbing and London Pub Fair

4/18/2012. Day 3 and the last day of the 2012 London Book Fair. Lots to talk about. Lets start with my first seminar. Getting into Publishing. It was hosted by Society of Young Publishers (SYP). If you don’t know who they are, check them out here. They host events that allow those interested in, or wanting to be employed in, the publishing business a chance to hear professionals speak of their experiences and ideas on the future of the industry.

Suzanne Kavanagh, Neil Morrison, Alastair Horne, and Mary Ann Kernan were the speakers for this seminar.

Suzanne started the talk with going over the seven main issues publishing is facing. 1.)Growing Digital Products, 2.) Competition from small and indie publishers, 3.) the Growing importance of digital devices, 4.) Pricing, and 5.) Rights complexities. (Yeah, I managed to miss two. It was an early meeting).

She had a really good slide presentation that she posted on slideshare.

The talk was really good and I took a lot of notes that I had planned to go over. But I think that may be boring. Alastair has taken the best tweets from the seminar and shared them on Storify. If you’d like to read mine and others’ notes, please do. They are really informative.

The main point I understood from all four presenters was this. As with any job, you need to have more that just what you think the job requires. Truth is, there are any number of people aiming for the job you want, publishing or otherwise. You need to present skills on your CV that makes you stand out.

We’re living in times when finding a job is hard, getting into a career is even harder. If we aren’t cross-skilling, we’re in trouble. Don’t think that just because you’re applying for a job in publishing that things like being able to navigate social media and understanding the latest techno devices aren’t important. We’re looking at not just being able to understand the new technologies, but also knowing how these things affect our chosen industries.

Every arts industry is trying to work it’s way around technological advances that even the general public is having trouble keeping up with. In the end it will be the candidates who can show,  not only that they’re not afraid of the changes, but can learn them easily that will get the golden eggs.

Other notes: I don’t know about you, but I was always told to put hobbies on my CV to show that I had a “balanced” life. Neil says that’s not something that should be focused on. Instead, list achievements.

It should go without saying, but since Mary Ann had to say it, that means there are people who needed to hear it. “Start building your portfolio long before you apply.”

Another topic that came up with the cost of digital versus print in online stores.  The general consensus among the public is that digital is cheaper because there’s no print involved. However, because of production costs and whatnot, it actually costs publishers about the same to make digital content as print. so if you find an ebook that you think is quite expensive, now you know why.

When explaining to my friends what exactly the book fair was for, I had some trouble. I originally thought it was so that authors could present their work and get noticed by publishers and maybe even sell some work to the public. Howver, that is not the case. In fact, all of the stalls there were occupied by publishers who were showing their latest acquisitions. So, I was very confused about the whole thing.

I had a chance to sit down with a lady who was with the Brazilian publishers CEDIC (who were are booth 455). The basic idea of the fair is for publishers to meet other publishers and work out deals for cross-distribution. So, a publisher of Brazilian children’s books could negotiate a license for a German publisher to distribute in Germany.

Knowing this information helped me to see the whole event differently. It is, as she put it, a long business meeting. I understood then that a lot of the seminars I went to were presentations to the publishing community saying either this what we’re doing, this is what we’d like to do, this is what publishing needs to do if it’s going to stay alive.

They really should call it the London Publishing Fair. But it’s enjoyable regardless.


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