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Reflections on the Emerging Leaders in Publishing Summit

We were halfway through the intensive Emerging Leaders in Publishing Summit before we realized that we, the Master of Publishing cohort, were the Emerging Leaders.

It was also around this time that our conversations with industry leaders, which took the form of keynote lectures, panel discussions, workshops, and one-on-one mentorship sessions, began to change. At the beginning of the week we talked data, marketing, trends, and growth. But as we began to talk diversity, inclusion, and responsibility, we discussed not just the problems in publishing, but what we can do to make a positive difference.

Discussions centered around how to create space for marginalized groups, the importance of mentorship and support, and ways in which we can make our industry more representative and balanced—both in terms of who works in the industry and what is published. These things matter so much.

“It was intense…it was daunting and overwhelming at times,” said MPub student Jesse Savage. “It was great to have everyone come out and hear everyone’s stories, and gain some perspectives and start conversations. I think after hearing everyone talk, I’m really interested and excited to see how things are going to change…it’s pretty clear that things have to change.”

Industry leaders from a variety of publishing backgrounds (including Simon & Schuster Canada, Penguin Random House Canada, Indigo Books and Music, Rakuten Kobo, Theytus Books, Orca Book Publishers, and a variety of smaller publishing houses), along with academics and authors, also noted the impact the week of listening, discussing, and learning had on them. The deeper conversations have inspired MPub students, external participants, and professionals alike to get back to their important work with a renewed sense of fidelity and responsibility.

As Digital Broadcaster Ryan McMahon said, “We’ve made this connection, and now we’re all going to continue to work together on this conversation, and that’s a really amazing offer by everyone who participated.” McMahon also gave a special public talk on the Wednesday evening, where he problematized Canada’s recent race to Indigenize everything, and challenged people to really think about how thoughtless actions and platitudes will only further harm Indigenous Peoples. He also talked about how we need to be aware of who is in spaces—and who is missing; why the conversation about colonization needs to happen before we talk Indigenization; and why building relationships needs to be at the centre of all we do if change is going to happen.

Much of what he and other guest faculty shared led to the MPub cohort looking at publishing with fresh eyes. We leave with the language to have these hard conversations, a better understanding of what needs to change, and ideas on how we personally can affect change. I hope that moving forward from this week we will continue to not be afraid to ask hard questions, push for better representation in the industry no matter our positions, and break down barriers within the publishing industry.

As promised, the week was one of transformative change and learning.

Faculty guests included: Dave Anderson (Rakuten Kobo), Kristin Cochrane (Penguin Random House), Gregory Younging (Theytus Books), Hazel Millar (Book*hug), Will Ferguson (award-winning author), Noah Genner (BookNet Canada), Kevin Hanson (Simon & Schuster Canada), Robyn Harding(bestselling author), Rania Husseini (Indigo), Jónı́na Kirton (Indigenous author), Ruth Linka (Orca Book Publishers), Janice Lynn Mather (Bahamian author), Nita Pronovost (Simon & Schuster Canada), Felicia Quon (Simon & Schuster Canada).

Next year Emerging Leaders in Publishing will be held February 4-8, 2019 and is open to everyone interested in learning more about the publishing industry in Canada.



Emerging Leaders in Publishing Summit to focus on publishing transitions and implications

On February 5, leaders from across Canada’s publishing industry—including authors, publishers, and academics—will converge in Vancouver for a weeklong summit to discuss and share the latest developments in the publishing industry.

Organized by Simon Fraser University’s Publishing Program, in collaboration with book industry partners, the Emerging Leaders in Publishing Summit is open to industry participants as well as credit students. The week will include panel discussions, lectures, break-out brainstorming sessions, and one-on-one mentoring opportunities.

A special evening featuring Ryan McMahon on Indigenizing the Media will take place on Wednesday, February 7. McMahon is an Indigenous comedian and cultural commentator, known for his initiatives in Indigenous media, including the Indian and Cowboy podcast network.

Within the framework of The Author and Key Publishing Transitions and Implications some of the major themes to be explored include throughout the week include:
• Pre-publication: authors, publishers, processes
• Diversity and Inclusivity in Publishing – in and out of house
• The Author’s Place in Marketing and Sales
• Emergent and Innovative Publishing Considerations
• Publisher Responsibilities: to culture, to truth, to society, to the future
• Women in leadership roles and discoverability

Speakers on these topics will include Gregory Younging, UBC Indigenous Studies Program Coordinator and Publisher of Theytus Books; and Hazel Millar, the co-publisher of Book*hug, an award-winning independent literary press based in Toronto.

“Once again I’m pleased to be involved in the Emerging Leaders Summit at SFU. The mix of students and faculty aims to tackle many topics very much front and centre for the industry today,” noted Kristin Cochrane, President and Publisher of Penguin Random House Canada. “From how books get acquired, sold and marketed through to how to build for the future, address and foster a diverse and inclusive environment for authors and employees and overall create a spirit of mentorship and support throughout the industry.”

Other Emerging Leaders faculty include: Dave Anderson (Rakuten Kobo), Will Ferguson (award-winning author), Noah Genner (BookNet Canada), Kevin Hanson (Simon & Schuster Canada), Robyn Harding (bestselling author), Rania Husseini (Indigo), Jónı́na Kirton (Indigenous author), Ruth Linka (Orca Book Publishers), Janice Lynn Mather (Bahamian author), Nita Pronovost (Simon & Schuster Canada), Felicia Quon (Simon & Schuster Canada).

“We’re really pleased to have such a great collection of guest faculty in this year’s Emerging Leaders Summit,” said Dr. John Maxwell, Director of the Publishing Program. “These conversations between students and industry guests have the potential to transform and renew Canadian publishing.”


Raincoast Publicity Assistant Wanted

 

January 29, 2018

Publicity Assistant at Raincoast

Raincoast Books, based in Richmond, B.C., is seeking a Publicity Assistant to start immediately.  We are looking for a motivated and organized professional who has excellent communication and technical skills to work in our Richmond office.

Our publicity assistant supports the work of our three publicists and our freelance publicists outside the company. The successful candidate’s tasks will include:

  • organize media mailings and compile campaign results
  • monitor bestseller lists
  • maintain departmental databases
  • process invoices
  • organize blog tours
  • send out excerpt materials
  • coordinate award submissions
  • create online newsletters

The successful candidate will possess:

  • superior writing and copyediting skills
  • proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite tools
  • a minimum of two years of relevant media, marketing, publishing or senior book retailing experience

The following technical skills will be an asset:

  • an interest in Young Adult and Children’s publishing
  • a basic proficiency in HTML
  •  experience with MailChimp

Candidates should send their résumé and cover letter by February 2 to:

Fleur Matthewson

Publicity Manager

Fleur@raincoast.com

 

We regret that we can only acknowledge applications from candidates selected for interviews. No phone calls or agencies, please.

 


Publishing Unbound: Inclusivity and Accountability in Canadian Publishing

This February, Publishing Unbound is coming to Vancouver (February 9-11, 2018). This event came about as a way to bring together authors, activists, scholars, and publishing professionals in Canada to discuss inclusivity and accountability in the publishing industry.

Over the last year or so, many necessary conversations have taken place in the world known as CanLit. We have talked about the structural role racism, sexism, and colonialism play in the publishing industry; now we need to talk about what concrete steps we can take to change this industry for the better.

Publishing Unbound spans two and a half days, organized in conjunction with the Simon Fraser University Publishing Program’s Emerging Leaders Symposium (a weeklong event which fosters connections between MPub students and industry professionals). It begins on Friday, February 9 with en evening of readings and talks open to the public. Registration for this evening is currently full, but there is a waitlist in case of cancellations.

Speakers on the Friday night panel include Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm, an Anishnaabe writer of mixed ancestry from the Chippewas of Nawash First Nation and founder of Kegedonce Press; David Chariandy, Associate Professor of English literature at Simon Fraser University and 2017 Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize winner for his novel Brother (McClelland & Stewart); Jordan Abel, a Nisga’a writer from BC pursuing a PhD at Simon Fraser University and the winner of the 2017 Griffin Poetry Prize for his third book, Injun (Talonbooks); and Vivek Shraya, Assistant Professor of English at the University of Calgary, founder of Arsenal Pulp Press’s new VS. Books imprint, and an award-winning artist whose body of work includes several albums, films, and books. The panel will be hosted by Erin Wunker, Assistant Professor of English at Dalhousie University and author of the award-winning Notes from a Feminist Killjoy: Essays on Everyday Life (BookThug).

Assistant Professor in Publishing Dr. Hannah McGregor, who was instrumental in organizing Publishing Unbound, said, “The inspiration for [the event] came when I was trying to add readings to the PUB 800 [Text & Context: Publishing in Contemporary Culture seminar class] syllabus. I was new to the [Master of Publishing] program and I wanted more readings on the syllabus that spoke to race, class, gender, disability, and sexuality.”

She put out a call on Twitter, expecting to be inundated with papers and articles and assuming there was lots of work that she just hadn’t heard of.

Instead, she received an underwhelming number of responses and was struck by the realization that there is a significant gap in publishing studies as a field that speaks to the systemic barriers to access in the industry.

McGregor knew that these conversations were happening on Twitter and through other informal channels, and she wanted to find a way to host these important discussions on a more formal platform. After discussions with Heidi Waechtler of Association of Book Publishers of BC (ABPBC), Sylvia Skene of Magazine Association of BC, and Erin Wunker, Publishing Unbound was born.

While the second day and a half of this event consists of closed roundtable workshops (no audience), Publishing Unbound will be disseminating the results of the discussions to the public at a later date.

For those unable to attend the Friday night session, the event will be recorded and shared publicly.

 


Illustrious Alumni: Jennifer Croll

It’s been just a few weeks since Jennifer Croll transitioned from her role as Managing Editor to Editorial Director at Greystone Books. And it’s been around 14 years since she was a grad student in Simon Fraser University’s (SFU) Master of Publishing (MPub) program.

Although she’s more than busy running Greystone’s editorial program and publishing a few of her own books on the side, Croll was happy to chat one rainy afternoon about the value she got from the MPub program and the path her career has taken.

Like many in people in publishing, Croll’s career path has been both meandering and unexpected. After completing her undergraduate degree in psychology, she decided to take a year and live abroad in London.

“I’ve always been very interested in books and in writing, and I wasn’t sure that it was something I could turn into a job,” she said. But she applied for an editorial assistant position anyways, and on day three in England she had a job.

Realizing that this was career she wanted to pursue, she returned to Canada to complete the MPub program.

“One of the things I found most valuable in the MPub was the people I met while doing it. The MPub provides many great contacts, and many of the people who were in my class I still know and they still work in publishing.”

She highlights Laraine Coates, the Marketing Manager at UBC Press. Then there’s Iva Cheung, who is now a doctoral student whose research centers on how plain language affects people’s health. And Kathy Sinclair, who went on to become both the Executive Director of the Kamloops Arts Council and a Kamloops City Councillor.

And Croll? After graduating from SFU, she spent six years working in the magazine industry and few years in online media before transitioning over to books.

When she interviewed for her first position at Greystone, the interviewer was none other than Nancy Flight, who was one of her instructors back in the MPub program (and the woman whose shoes she is now filling).

“A great thing about it being a small company is that you get to do bits and pieces of whatever you’re interested in,” Croll says of Greystone. “We’re very collaborative.”

Looking at her career, she is most excited about all of the books she has played a key role in publishing—like the authorized biography of Buffy Sainte-Marie she is currently editing (watch for it this fall). And of course, she’s proud of the books that she’s written—Bad Girls of Fashion: Style Rebels Through the Ages (Annick Press, 2016) and Fashion That Changed the World (Prestel Publishing, 2014).

She also has a couple of other books coming soon: Free the Tipple (Prestel Publishing, Fall 2018) and Bad Boys of Fashion (Annick Press, Spring 2019).

“I think a lot of people have an expectation that they will immediately have their dream job, but career paths can be winding and can take a little while to evolve,” Croll says. “Ten years when you look back, it can be amazing to see how far you’ve come and where you’ve ended up.”

You can find Croll on Twitter @jencroll.

 

 


Join Ryan McMahon in a discussion on Indigenizing the Media

February 7, 2018

7:00pm  to 9:00 pm | Room 1430 | Harbour Centre Campus

Admission is free

How do voices from outside the traditional settler mainstream media ensure that they are properly heard and represented? How can new media forms play a role in diversifying and enriching the media landscape? Ryan McMahon, Anishinaabe comedian, writer, media maker & community activator based out of Treaty #1 territory (Winnipeg), will explore these questions and invite the audience to be part of the discussion. 

More information here.


DH Café Workshop Series

The DH Café series for Spring and Summer 2018 begins this month! The DH Café presents a series of short introductory workshops and informal discussions on topics relevant to the basic theories and methods behind digital research in the humanities. This semester, our theme is, “How Do You Put the Digital in a Humanities Project,” which will introduce you to the questions you need to consider and the challenges you might face when developing a DH project.

The first workshop will be held on January 24, with a workshop entitled Collecting, Organizing, and Describing Archival Research at 1:30–3:30 in the Wosk Seminar Room (W.A.C. Bennett Library 7100). If you are interested in attending, please register here.

You can also submit a project proposal to work with the Digital Humanities Innovation Lab (DHIL). The deadline is February 1 and you can find more information on the Work with the DHIL page.


Exploring Active Learning in the MPub Program

In the Master of Publishing program, it has always been the goal to be both current and relevant—both within the publishing industry and in how students are taught. And education is changing.

As guest lecturer Keiron Simons said at the start of the second semester, “School is supposed to be about social connection and personal empowerment.”

And so, while students can still expect to write multiple research papers, lead lectures, and complete extensive group projects, they can also expect class to run a little differently than traditional lectures as instructors experiment with active learning methods.

Active learning is a way of teaching wherein students take responsibility for their learning. They work together to explore, explain, and exchange ideas. They research what interests them. They all participate, because equality is built into lessons to make classrooms safe, engaging spaces.

In PUB 802: Technology & Evolving Forms of Publishing, we were asked to come to class having read the syllabus. We were asked to give serious thought to what we wanted the course to be about, and about what we wanted to learn.

After some discussion in our first class, our professor left for 20 minutes and instructed us to continue the discussion without him about what we wanted to learn. We were also supposed to decide who was going to be responsible for leading each class. It was up to us to mobilize ourselves. Even though we are well-educated adults, it was still difficult at first to break free of deeply ingrained institutional norms and embrace the autonomy we had been given. And guess what? We managed just fine.

Now in my other life, I work for a school board. We are big advocates of active learning, and I write about our innovative successes on a regular basis. But to be on the other side of it so completely was an eye-opening experience. By being given autonomy over our education, our class felt empowered and listened to. We knew that we mattered, and that our instructor truly cared that we got as much out of our education as possible.

It was a win for him as well, because he knew that by using active learning methods we would be more engaged in his lessons and encouraged by the knowledge that dialogue would flow in both directions. If a kindergarten teacher comes away from a similar teaching experience telling me how she learned alongside and from her students, I have no doubt that a university instructor will have similar things to say. In active learning, we all come away from the lesson with greater knowledge and understanding.

Of course, active learning goes beyond letting students have a say in what they are learning. It can be about creating a safe space for all students to speak, such as by using the annotation plugin hypothes.is to allow students to take notes on online articles as they are reading, or having them write out feedback (One Minute Essays) on cue cards at the end of each class. Or is can be about working with them as the Magazine Project evolves into the more relevant Media Project, and giving them the flexibility to design an agile media entity that will evolve throughout the semester. All of these are real examples of things taking place right now.

It’s a different way of learning for sure, but that’s a good thing. We are more than competent, and after this semester, we will be more confident too.