Carra Simpson joins Page Two

Earlier this month, Page Two Strategies, Vancouver’s “new form agency” run by alumni Jesse Finkelstein (MPub 1999) & Trena White (MPub 2004), announced that they’d hired Carra Simpson (MPub 2007) as a new project manager who will work out of New York. Page Two’s announcement reads:

Carra Simpson has worked in trade book publishing since 2007, most recently as the publishing operations manager at Greystone Books and Douglas & McIntyre. She is also the grants administrator and project manager for the Tyee Solutions Society. Carra holds a master of publishing degree from Simon Fraser University. Currently based in Vancouver, she will be relocating to New York in October and working for us remotely from there.

Publishing@SFU can’t really claim any direct credit for this, but we are certainly proud of our alumni, and very pleased at this new alignment.


Welcome MPub Cohort of 2014

MPub 2014

Last Tuesday Publishing@SFU welcomed the 20th cohort of MPubbers to the Master of Publishing program. Not only are the students new, so are some of the faculty. Indeed, a whole bunch of things are new.

This fall, the Publishing Program at SFU enters a phase of major renewal. We have a new faculty complement—John Maxwell, Roberto Dosil, Monique Sherrett, Juan Pablo Alperin, Scott Steedman and Shannon Emmerson—some of whom are new to the Masters Program, others new to SFU, and that brings a lot of new energy to the program.

Industry members and MPub alumni may notice that this year is the first year the Publishing Program will be running without its founding director, Rowland Lorimer. Rowly, who founded this program back in the late 80s, early 90s, designed it to strike a balance between rigorous research-based graduate study and hands-on, industry-engaged practice. The success of the program over the past two decades is very much due to his vision, and that balance. Rowly is on sabbatical this year, leading to his official retirement in 2015.

John Maxwell is the new Program Director. He has been with the program for a dozen years and is actually a product of the MPub program. John was a graduate of the very first cohort way back in 1995.

In his welcome message to students, John said the following:

“Publishing was a different beast back then. Much has changed.

“The world today, in 2014, is a much more exciting and interesting time to be studying publishing.

“What we are witnessing today is nothing less than the very infrastructure of modern democratic culture in tumultuous evolution, on its way to its next phase.

“If you ask me, there is no more interesting place to be in the world than right here. No more interesting time to be here. The world of publishing is in revolution; we will shortly witness which parts of it are destroyed, and which parts remain.

“Better, you are positioned to have a hand in it.

“Congratulations on a good choice! Congratulations on being here!”

The new faculty and students are all eager to get underway. For those readers unfamiliar with MPub, students spend two classroom terms at SFU—September to December, and January to April—doing a combination of practical, lab-based courses; seminars, and project courses in which they create things; make things. It’s a heavy workload, and each cohort goes through it all together.

The following summer, students participate in an internship at an industry placement. During the internship term, each student must define and conduct a research project on, and on behalf of, the internship host. Students conduct original research: a piece of description and analysis of how things actually work. Or perhaps how they should.

In the fall following the internship, students draw the research up into a formal project report. It’s like a masters thesis but a little shorter, more practical, and there is no thesis defense. There is, however, a supervisory committee of 3: two from the Publishing@SFU faculty, and one industry supervisor.

If all goes well, by next Christmas, this year’s cohort will have completed all the requirements and be able to put those sought-after little letters after their names: MPub

More important, the program will change them and challenge them in unique ways. They will know vastly more than they do now. They will have experienced things, and accomplished things that are not even dreamed of today. They will have met a lot of fantastic industry professionals, and they will have a practical, working sense of what publishing is really about, and what matters.

By the end of the program, this year’s cohort will know enough, and know enough people, that each can forge a career in the field of publishing—whether that’s by landing a job in an existing publishing company, or by starting their own, or by doing something else that nobody’s thought of yet.

As John eloquently put it in his welcome message to the students:

“You will become—you are already, really, by virtue of sitting here this morning—part of a network of MPub people, who are shot through the publishing industries in Canada and even around the world. More than two hundred alumni, you will find them in every corner of the publishing world.

“Those people are your family now; they have been through what you are about to undertake. There’s a certain rite of passage element to this (and you’ll understand especially when you get into the Book Publishing Project towards Christmas) that binds all MPubbers together.”

One of the program’s many strengths is its ability to introduce students to alumni and industry guests over the eight months of in situ time, as well as the core faculty it draws. Briefly:

  • Roberto Dosil (MPub 1998 and multi-award winning book designer) is and has been one of the core faculty for 7 or 8 years.
  • Monique Sherrett (MPub 1997 and leading marketing consultant to Canadian publishers) has taught in the program before and is joining the core faculty this year.
  • Juan Pablo Alperin (fresh out of doctoral work at Stanford) is a new member of the core faculty this year.
  • Scott Steedman (professional editor) has taught in the undergraduate program, and joins the faculty to take over the editorial course from Mary Schendlinger, who retires this fall.
  • Shannon Emmerson (who runs Forge & Spark Media) is back for another year to teach the periodical publishing project.
  • Jo-Anne Ray (program manager) is the extraordinary woman who has the last word.

So, with this faculty—and with the MPub cohort of 2014—Publishing@SFU begins a new chapter in this program’s history.



Biblioasis seeks full-time publicist

Biblioasis, a literary press based in Windsor, Ontario, is in the market for a dynamic full-time in-house publicist.

Major Responsibilities

  • plan and implement national and international publicity strategies for 16-20 books annually, including electronic pitches, review copy mailings, and related follow-up
  • build and manage relations with key media throughout North America
  • write and tailor catalogue copy for different markets
  • write and update press releases and pitches
  • manage and update bibliodata and other electronic feeds to keep information about our books current
  • liaise with bookstores to promote our books, arrange author signings, and secure event coverage in area media
  • use social media to promote press, authors and books
  • submit books for appropriate awards programs
  • create and implement special promotions and co-op for key titles
  • help plan author receptions, book launches, and trade show appearances
  • write funding applications and grants which pertain to marketing, sales and author travel
  • oversee updates on the Press’s website
  • serve as a spokesperson for the press
  • liaise with sales forces in Canada and the United States
  • field author queries and help handle author relations
  • solicit blurbs and endorsements
  • solicit direct sales
  • other duties as assigned


  • excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • highly organized with exceptional attention to detail under tight deadlines
  • strong knowledge of Microsoft Office and social media outlets/technology
  • strong interpersonal, organizational, and problem-solving skills are essential
  • the ability to prioritize and work on numerous tasks simultaneously and the ability to work with minimal supervision is required.
  • must be able to travel via any means necessary and must have a valid driver’s license and passport; overnight and occasional weekend and week-long travel will be required.

If you are interested in the above position, please forward a copy of your resume by September 15, 2014 to:

E-mail: dwells@biblioasis.com

Technical Operations Officer, Hansard Services, Legislative Assembly of BC

Position Available

Technical Operations Officer, Hansard Services, Legislative Assembly of BC

The key parts of the job are tech support for the editors and publication of transcripts in In Design and XML for print and Web.

Under the direction of the Publishing Supervisor, the Technical Operations Officer prepares the official report of the debates of the Legislative Assembly and related proceedings for publication. The Technical Operations Officer supports the achievement of production goals in a deadline-driven environment and provides first- and second-tier technical support to Hansard Services through consultation with users to understand, resolve or escalate incidents according to established protocols. The Officer initiates and supports systems-related projects and serves as a Hansard Services webmaster. The Officer also provides technical training and systems documentation and supports technical skills assessments for recruitment initiatives.

For more information:



MPub Turns 20

June 2014 Toronto Alumni Event

Believe it or not, the SFU Master of Publishing program is 20 years old. And with 200 graduates calling the shots in publishing all over the world, we’ve got a lot to celebrate.

The inaugural MPub Alumni Event was held in Toronto and Vancouver this June, and more than 50 attendees celebrated in style.

5 cash prizes were also awarded to alumni to recognize excellence and innovation in publishing.

Winners of this year’s MPub Awards for Excellence and/or Innovation in Publishing included:

  • Meghan Macdonald
  • Xiaoyan Huang
  • Heather Sanderson
  • Craig Riggs and Kiley Turner
  • Monique Sherrett


Canada Summer Jobs: Circulation Assistant

July 7-August 22, 2014; $11 per hour; 30 hours per week.

Applicants should send cover letters and resumes to sblom@tnq.ca by June 16th

Job Description

The New Quarterly is an award-winning Canadian literary journal published out of St. Jerome’s University. The student hired will serve as an assistant to The New Quarterly’s Managing Editor.
Work includes daily administrative tasks, including, but not limited to:

  • Tracking submissions & contest entries; correspondence with writers re acceptance and contracts.
  • Subscription management and customer service
  • Support towards the magazine’s events, website and social media maintenance (including writing occasional blog posts), as well as assisting in preparation for the Wild Writers Literary Festival
  • Support towards marketing and donations campaigns.

The student will receive training to conduct a marketing initiative.


  • excellent customer service and problem solving skills
  • excellent organizational skills, attention to detail
  • the ability to take initiative and work independently
  • excellent communications skills both written an oral
  • ability to work well with others in a small and often busy space
  • familiarity with MS Office programs

Eligible Student Participants (from Service Canada Guidelines)

To be eligible to participate in the CSJ initiative, individuals must:

  • Be between 15 and 30 years of age at the start of the employment
  • Have been registers as full-time students in the previous academic year and intend to return to school on a full-time basis in the next academic year
  • Be a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, or person to whom refugee protection has been conferred under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act
  • Be legally entitled to work in Canada in accordance with relevant provincial/territorial legislation and regulations.

Summer internship at Appetite

Appetite, the boutique lifestyle imprint of Random House with headquarters in Vancouver, is looking for an intern for summer 2014.

Email your CV and brief cover note to Robert McCullough, Publisher: rmccullough@randomhouse.com

Going Zotero: A reflection on XML and interoperability

When I was younger, and keen as hell about XML as the solution to everything, and working on my PhD, I wrote a bibliographic reference management system. This was circa 2002 or so, and I badly needed to procrastinate from working on my dissertation. There’s nothing like being productive on another project to make you feel good about putting something off. At the time, I was juggling a couple of hundred references, plus notes. I looked at the available options at the time (EndNote, RefWorks) and was not impressed with them, or any off-the-shelf reference manager. So I wrote my own. I looked at how some of the other systems worked, and made one that was ‘better.’

Read more

On Reading Digital Texts

Over at Digital Pathways: Creating Digital Fiction with Kate Pullinger, I wrote a long-ish blog post on the experience of digital reading, and how we (publishing people) tend to underplay the experiential aspects of reading while we pursue the shorter-term advances of “digital” publishing. I end by appealing to publishers to look to writers and creative people to carve out new genres and new reading experiences, rather than just putting the old ones in digital containers. The post is here: