Author Archive

Meet Craig Riggs — MPub Alumni

Craig Riggs

This interview is part of our “3 Questions” series with Publishing Minor students, Master of Publishing candidates, and MPub alumni.

Meet Craig Riggs, partner at Turner-Riggs and founder of ReaderBound.

Twitter: @craigriggs
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/craig-riggs-6b74831/

1. What was something you wish you had done differently while in school?
Take more courses outside of my focus area. Both of my degrees are very much in the “applied studies” vein (Bach Commerce, MPub). In hindsight, I wish I had explored more liberal arts or classical subjects during my undergrad program in particular. I have a lot of interests—in music, philosophy, even religious studies—that I missed the chance to explore during that time.

2. What was the most valuable skill you took away from your time in the MPub program?
An openness to – in fact, a keen interest in – critical feedback on my work.

3. What is 1 piece of advice you would give to current publishing students (this could be advice for publishing minors or MPub)?
Be passionately curious outside of your primary interests in publishing. If you are an editor, make friends with spreadsheets. If you are more marketing-inclined, learn how to really work with a manuscript. You will never regret it and the empathy and insights you’ll develop for other aspects of the publishing process will serve you extremely well.

As part of the duo behind Turner-Riggs, Craig has contributed to many notable projects, including 49thShelf.com, which brings together more Canadian books than any other source in the world, and Reading Canada: A Literary Tour in Seven Parts, which was an early initiative of Canada’s Guest of Honour program at the 2020 Frankfurt Book Fair.

Turner-Riggs have also conducted several major national studies on the Canadian publishing industry, including:

  1. The Book Retail Sector in Canada, Department of Canadian Heritage, 2007
  2. Book Distribution in Canada’s English-Language Market, Department of Canadian Heritage, 2008
  3. Audiobook and eBook Publishing in Canada, Library and Archives Canada, 2009
  4. A Study of Canada’s Book Import Regulations, Department of Canadian Heritage, 2012
  5. Current and Future Reading Technologies Used by People with Disabilities, Human Resource Development Canada, 2012
  6. Book Discovery and Book Marketing in Canada’s English-Language Market, Department of Canadian Heritage, 2013

Craig Riggs, and his partner Kiley Turner (@kileyturner), were both part of the 1998/99 MPub cohort.

Learn more about Canada’s only Master of Publishing program. Application deadline each year is February 1st.


Meet Gerilee McBride — MPub Alumni

Gerilee McBride

This interview is part of our “3 Questions” series with Publishing Minor students, Master of Publishing candidates, and MPub alumni.

Meet Gerilee McBride, Advertising and Promotion Manager at UBC Press.

Instagram: @talkandnottalk
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/gerilee-mcbride-92ab917/

1. What was something you wish you had done differently while in school?
I treated the MPub as an incubator environment and let myself be free to ask all the questions and participate in all the conversations. Regret is fantasy—this is a phrase I learned from my mentor, Margaret Reynolds (retired Executive Director of the ABPBC), and one that I’ve embraced wholeheartedly. You can always keep going forward, learning and improving, but you can never go back in time. Not yet anyway.

2. What was the most valuable skill you took away from your time in the MPub program?
Learning to view the publishing process through the many different lenses (design, editorial, production, acquisitions, business development, marketing, etc.) made me realize that publishing only happens with the understanding that every person/position is an important part of the whole. Oh, and make editors your best friends. I cannot recommend this enough. They almost always have the answers you need.

3. What is 1 piece of advice you would give to current publishing students (this could be advice for publishing minors or MPub)?
Ask all the questions, all the time. School is your opportunity to explore and experiment so don’t hold yourself back—it’s one of the few opportunities you get to be 100 percent optimistic. 

Gerilee McBride’s graduate report is available online from the SFU library:
Warp & weft: the future of the publication program at the Crafts Association of British Columbia.

Learn more about Canada’s only Master of Publishing program. Application deadline each year is February 1st.


Meet Paschal Ssemaganda — MPub Alumni

Paschal Ssemaganda

This interview is part of our “3 Questions” series with Publishing Minor students, Master of Publishing candidates, and MPub alumni.

Meet Paschal Ssemaganda, Publishing Officer at the World Bank Group. His primary responsibility is to lead the product development and maintenance of the World Bank eLibrary, a subscription-based website used by top academic institutions, government agencies, think tanks, and other institutions.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/paschalssemaganda

1. What was something you wish you had done differently while in school?
One thing I wish I had done while at university is go on exchange, particularly during my undergrad. That is a great time to travel, meet new people, to grow in terms of cultural awareness and exposure. I’ve had some opportunities to travel personally and for work since school, but I think I would have matured faster had I done so back then.

2. What was the most valuable skill you took away from your time in the MPub program?
I learnt a great deal during my time in the MPub program. I learnt how to create and evaluate design for books, magazines, and the web, to edit, to create videos. But I think the most valuable skill I acquired was the ability to make compelling presentations. Those presentations in the first semester to industry leaders were more significant than I realized. Whether you stay in publishing or go into another industry, the ability to speak about your work in front of a group of strangers is an important skill. I recently had to make a presentation to our sales agents at the Frankfurt Book Fair, and I was at ease through the entire process. That would not have happened if I had not learnt how to present during the MPub. 

3. What is 1 piece of advice you would give to current publishing students (this could be advice for publishing minors or MPub)?
As an international student I was already comfortable communicating with people of different backgrounds. However, the intensive group work in the MPub taught me how to work quickly and effectively with people from different backgrounds. I’d advise anyone taking the program to really pay attention to that aspect of the program and take that opportunity to truly understand how to work collaboratively. Since I graduated I have spent the majority of my career working with groups of people, some of whom are sometimes scattered around the world. I now understand that the best employees and team members are not always the most technically advanced. Most of the time, they tend to be the ones who know how to collaborate. 

Paschal Ssemaganda’s graduate report is available online from the SFU library: Sustaining the midlist book: an analysis of the online marketing campaign for Trading in Memories

Learn more about Canada’s only Master of Publishing program. Application deadline each year is February 1st.


Meet Ala Serafin—MPub Alumni

This interview is part of our “3 Questions” series with Publishing Minor students, Master of Publishing candidates, and MPub alumni.

Meet Ala Serafin, wordsmith, editor, designer, marketer, travel addict + SFU MPub graduate.

Portfolio: www.alaserafin.com
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/alaserafin
Twitter: @alaserafin

What was something you wish you had done differently while in school?
AS: I wish I had taken more marketing classes in university, since I see now that sponsored content is the future of publishing (or at least I think so). There are an increasing number of lucrative opportunities in content marketing these days. I’ve experienced this first-hand as I transitioned my publishing career from editorial to marketing. 

What was the most valuable skill you took away from your time in the MPub program?
AS: For me, it was a tie between marketing and digital design skills (e.g. using Adobe CC, coding, branding, etc.). These were my greatest areas of development, since I entered the MPub program with years of editorial writing and editing experience. 

What is 1 piece of advice you would give to current publishing students?
AS: Consider a future in content marketing. (I honestly love my job!)

Ala Serafin’s graduate report is available online from the SFU library: Getting to WL: A Look at the Visual Evolution and 2015 Redesign of Western Living Magazine http://summit.sfu.ca/item/17175

Learn more about Canada’s only Master of Publishing program. Application deadline each year is February 1st.


Meet Grace Mavko — Publishing Minor

This interview is part of our “3 Questions” series with Publishing Minor students, Master of Publishing candidates, and MPub alumni.

Grace Mavko
Major: Communications
Year: 2.5

What course would you recommend to anyone wanting to take their first SFU publishing class and why?

GM: PUB101 “The Publication of Self in Everyday Life” with Suzanne Norman. Having the skills to fully develop and execute an individualized project—a blog about anything you choose—is definitely difficult but super rewarding! The course is a great opportunity to practice your writing skills, and to work on familiar topics that you are passionate about (which can be applied in other classes). It’s also a non-intensive first look at publishing. A great starting point!

What is the most valuable skill you have acquired through the SFU publishing program?

GM: I could say WordPress because now I can successfully navigate my way around a blog platform. But I will say time management is a skill learned through Suzanne’s classes. The publishing minor requires a lot of work. It’s not something to shy away from, yet you are required to regularly produce some of your best, top-notch creative content. This takes a lot of time, contemplation, trial, and error. 

What advice would you give to someone considering a minor in publishing?

GM: It’s the best educational decision I’ve made since being at SFU. The publishing minor is an amazing opportunity to learn applicable skills to use in post-grad careers. You work with amazing profs and instructors with experience in the publishing field, and can let your creative faucets flow. To Communications Majors, I say do it regardless. Declaring your minor in publishing is a great extension to what you learn in CMNS classes, plus the skills and content might actually help you complete an assignment or two. 

Visit Publishing.SFU.ca to learn more about the Undergraduate Minor in Publishing at SFU and how to declare your minor in Print and Digital Publishing.


Dr. Juan Pablo Alperin Delivers Opening Keynote at the UN Library

Dr. Juan Pablo Alperin delivered an opening keynote at the United Nations Library Conference, “Towards Global Open Science: Core Enabler of the UN 2030 Agenda” on November 19, 2019.

Juan is an Assistant Professor in the Publishing Program and Associate Director of Research with the Public Knowledge Project at Simon Fraser University. In his work, he uses computational techniques, surveys, and interviews to investigate ways of raising the scientific quality, global impact, and public use of scholarly work. He’s been invited to present on the theme of global open science at the first United Nations Open Science Conference, which is organized by the UN Dag Hammarskjöld Library in collaboration with the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC). 

The conference “Towards Global Open Science” brings together representatives of open science initiatives (OpenAIREHindawiLA ReferenciaAfricanLII and others), early career researchers, library directors and policymakers. The intention is to elevate the discussion about open science and open research to the global level and to examine the role of open science in advancing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,

Openness is an essential component of the scientific process. With the fundamental changes technology is bringing to scholarly communication, the principle of openness should be reinforced to become a core element of the research cycle.

From the Conference Concept Note

Watch the live webcast on UN Web TV
Link will be live 15 minutes before the conference starts. Works best in Internet Explorer.

Follow the discussion on Twitter @UNLibrary on Twitter #OpenScienceUN


Meet Jazmin Welch — MPub Candidate

This interview is part of our “3 Questions” series with Publishing Minor students, Master of Publishing candidates, and MPub alumni.

Meet Jazmin Welch, Production Manager/Designer at Arsenal Pulp Press & owner of Fleck Creative, where she does freelance book design projects!

Instagram: @fleckcreative
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jazmin-welch-411b0345/

What was something you wish you had done differently while in school?

JW: I really wish that I didn’t work so much outside of school. As much as I am very grateful for having my freelance business to work on the side and pay my way through school, I know that I wasn’t always as invested in the schoolwork with my mind elsewhere. School is what you make it, and the more involved you get, the more you will learn and get out of the experience. 

What was the most valuable skill you took away from your time in the MPub program?

JW: I think part of the puzzle was just coming to understand that to work in publishing you will likely be a jack of all trades, doing a little bit of everything. The MPub gave me foundational knowledge of the entire publishing process, so that wherever I go in my career, I will be able to speak the language of each department and understand what’s going on. This, I believe, is something that really sets out an MPub candidate from other job applicants who may not get the whole picture that we are exposed to!

What is 1 piece of advice you would give to current publishing students?

JW: Experiment! A masters isn’t the place to be perfect at everything and get perfect grades (although getting scholarships is nice). It’s a time to try new things. Sometimes I could kick myself for making projects more difficult than they needed to be because I wanted to teach myself a new skill, such as a new piece of design software, but looking back on those choices I know I’m a better designer for it. The overall experience fuelled me to be a problem solver, get curious, and continue to try new things. It’s great to be able to experiment within the walls of a university with faculty who support you. It’s much easier to do it now, rather than when you’re on the job or off the side of your desk.

Learn more about Canada’s only Master of Publishing program. Applications for Fall are accepted until February 1st.


Meet Julia McDonald — Publishing Minor

This interview is part of our “3 Questions” series with Publishing Minor students, Master of Publishing candidates, and MPub alumni.

Julia McDonald
Major: Communications
Minor: Print and Digital Publishing
Year: 3.5
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/julia-mcdonald/

What course would you recommend to anyone wanting to take their first SFU publishing class and why?

JM: Truthfully, I have yet to take a PUB course that I wouldn’t recommend to my peers. PUB 131 is a good idea to gain a fundamental knowledge of Adobe software, such as InDesign and Photoshop. This class requires you to physically go to a professional printer to have your original designs turned into a tangible thing. PUB 355W or PUB 212 are both amazing, hands-on courses that enable students to take course theory and apply it to real-life advertising and public engagement campaigns.

What is the most valuable skill you have acquired through the SFU publishing program?

JM: In every PUB course, you’re truly learning by doing. This type of learning is amazing because you’re constantly gaining valuable, applicable skills. Besides my very basic understanding of Photoshop from high school, all of my design software experience has come from the SFU Publishing program. (And these skills look great on a resume!)

What advice would you give to someone considering a minor in publishing?

JM: First of all – do it. Declaring a minor is generally a good way to differentiate yourself from your major program. I’ve always enjoyed writing, which is why I initially enrolled in the Communication program, and upon taking a few PUB courses I knew I wanted to pursue the minor. I found that the Publishing coursework very much aligned with Communication course content and I was able to cross reference skills from both programs. Overall, there is something very fulfilling about learning skills that you know will be useful beyond your undergrad, in future career endeavours.

Visit Publishing.SFU.ca to learn more about the Undergraduate Minor in Publishing at SFU and how to declare your minor in Print and Digital Publishing.


Meet Katie Shamash—MPub candidate

This interview is part of our “3 Questions” series with Publishing Minor students, Master of Publishing candidates, and MPub alumni.

Meet Katie Shamash, Data Scientist at Digital Science

Twitter: @katieshamash
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/katie-shamash-4b34a8171/

What was something you wish you had done differently while in school?

KS: I started my degree studying English Literature and Creative Writing. When I was about to graduate, I realized how hard it would be to find a job, and I decided at the last minute to add a minor in Computer Science. I loved it more than I could ever have imagined! I have no regrets about studying English Lit – I loved it, and I use skills from that degree every day, both in my job and in my life. But I wish I had built more hard skills into my degree from the beginning. Those skills have been invaluable in finding job. They’ve also been a lot of fun to learn!

What was the most valuable skill you took away from your time in the MPub program?

KS: I loved how practical and hands-on the degree was. When I was looking for a job after completing the program, I had a ton of relevant, concrete examples I could show. That was really valuable!

What is 1 piece of advice you would give to current publishing students?

KS:  Find something you can do that no one else can. This might not be relevant advice for everyone, but it’s been really helpful for me in my professional career. In my case, being able to combine tech skills with experience in publishing has allowed me to push myself faster in both areas than I would have been able to with just one.

Learn more about Canada’s only Master of Publishing program. Applications for Fall are accepted until February 1st.


Amanda Lastoria | PhD Thesis Defence Announcement

Amanda Lastoria is poised to earn the first PhD in Publishing awarded by a Canadian university.

Her doctoral research explores the industrial mediation of the text via the materiality, and material evolution, of the book. Using multiple editions of a single title – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – as a case study, Amanda is documenting, historicizing and interrogating the ways in which the design and production values of the book multiply and diversify the markets and meanings of the text. Her project combines methods and tools of bibliography, book history, publishing history, literary theory and design theory.

PhD Thesis: The Material Evolution of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland: How Book Design and Production Values Impact the Markets for and the Meanings of the Text. Read the Abstract.

PhD Defence: November 13, 2019, 10:00AM – 1:00PM, SFU Vancouver Harbour Centre, HC 2250

Amanda Lastoria holds an MA in Publishing (Oxford Brookes University), a BA in French/Arts and Culture (SFU), a Diploma in Arts Management (Birkbeck, University of London) and a Certificate in Liberal Arts (SFU).

See more of Amanda’s work on Academia.
Follow her on Twitter: @amandalastoria


css.php