We launched the day with Ruth Linka, Associate Publisher at Orca Books; Adria Iwasutiak, Director of Publicity and Sales, Simon & Schuster Canada; Rob Firing, Literary Agent at Transatlantic, and Kevin Hanson to speak more about the future of publishing in acquisitions, publicity, contracts, rights, and agency. One advice for students who would like to work in marketing or communications is to make sure you are proficient with zoom. Another key insight for branding is that it is critical for a company to affirm their core values if there are any problems or public criticism.
Jane Friedman, co-founder of The Hot Sheet gave an exciting presentation on Publishing in a Pandemic: A Glimpse of Future Opportunities & Challenges. To recap the video presentation click here. One of the biggest surprises was that COVID has led to record sales in US print, with an 8.2% increase in sales. This growth was mainly driven by sales in children’s books, since parents wanted to keep their kids entertained and educated during lockdown. She also conveyed the significance of updating book keywords and information online so people can easily search for it. Below are some images from her presentation:
We also had invited Craig Riggs, Partner at Turner-Riggs and co-founder of ReaderBound, to give a presentation on Direct-to-Consumer Sales and Sale Writ Large. Craig spoke about the changes from brick-to-mortar stores to online sales channels. He also gave recommendations on how to drive more sales on websites by having more information about a book (awards, reviews, categories, etc), seasonal previews, showcasing books by having sections such as “must-read” and “latest releases”, running cheap experiments by collaborating with others, and more. Here are some images from his presentation:
Subsequently, we had panelists Brian Lam, President and Publisher at Arsenal Pulp Press; Elizabeth Hilborn, Rakuten Kobo’s Director of Content Sales, and Andrew Wooldridge, Co-owner and Publisher at Orca Books, Craig Riggs, and Kevin Hanson to talk about the changes in retail, sales, metadata, and social media. Particularly, they emphasized the importance of metadata and using social media and events for authors to engage directly with readers. To view the video recording, click here.
Next, we had Noah Genner, CEO & President of BookNet Canada to talk with our students about data in publishing and how the industry has been affected by COVID-19. Noah spoke about several topics such as bibliographic data, sales data, library circulation data, the Canadian book consumer survey, the Canadian leisure time and reading data, and ad-hoc surveys. Below are some images from his presentation.
Following Noah’s presentation, we invited Rania Husseini, Senior Vice President, Print at Indigo Books & Music; Cevin Bryerman, Executive and Publisher of Publishers Weekly, Noah Genner, and Kevin Hanson to discuss how COVID-19 has impacted the publishing industry and their respective workplaces. Specifically, they dived into subjects such as the challenges of the physical and online channels, how readers value diverse authors, supporting local authors, finding new ways for authors to engage with their readers, and etc.
To replay the video events from Day 2, click here.
It is with great pride and pleasure that the SFU Publishing Program announces the establishment of The Greg Younging Publishing Award Endowment.
The endowment will create a fully funded opportunity for an Indigenous student to complete the Master of Publishing (MPub) degree at Simon Fraser University.
This award honours Dr. Gregory Younging, who was the first Indigenous graduate of the MPub. It was during his studies at SFU that Greg began his work on what would become the influential book, Elements of Indigenous Style: A Guidebook for Writing By and About Indigenous Peoples. The guide is fast becoming a staple for writers, editors, and publishers throughout North America.
“Greg was a huge presence in publishing in Canada. We worked very closely with him here at SFU and following his passing on May 3, 2019 we knew we wanted to establish something lasting that would further his life’s work, which was to build a stronger Indigenous publishing infrastructure in Canada. Greg was very aware of the opportunities that education can provide, and we hope this endowment will be one of those opportunities. Having the support of publishers from across the country has been affirming. We are thrilled to announce today our first multi-year commitment: a three-year, $45,000 donation from Penguin Random House of Canada,” said Suzanne Norman, industry liaison for the SFU Publishing Program.
The endowment will be built over the next three years, with the goal of welcoming the first award recipient in fall, 2025.
The Master of Publishing Program is an 18-month professional program comprising academic and professional experiential learning. It was founded 25 years ago in consultation with members of the Canadian publishing industry which continues to strongly support the program’s students through hosting professional placements and as new hires, as well as teaching as guest faculty and serving on advisory boards and funding projects.
Applications to the MPub close each Feb 1, with successful applicants beginning their studies that fall.
Dr. Greg Younging was a nationally and internationally renowned expert on Indigenous publishing and a tireless voice and advocate for raising Indigenous voices in Canada.
In celebration of his work and his life, the Canadian Institute for Studies in Publishing and the SFU School of Publishing are deeply honoured to launch The Greg Younging Conversation.
This annual event will celebrate all aspects of Greg’s work from poetry to music to building toward a robust and thriving Indigenous publishing industry in Canada.
Greg was a true bridge-maker and could bring together even the most disparate voices, even if just for a short conversation.
One of Greg’s earliest mentors was Jeannette Armstrong, founder of the renowned En’owkin Centre in Penticton. Jeannette is this year’s featured speaker and will talk about his work as a publisher, poet, scholar and advocate.
In true Greg style, this event will be a conversation and Jeannette will be joined by Deanna Reder, chair of Indigenous Studies at SFU. Time will be provided to open the conversation to all in attendance.
The Greg Younging Conversation will take place annually on the first Wednesday in May.
Jeannette Armstrong is Syilx Okanagan, a fluent speaker and teacher of the Nsyilxcn Okanagan language and a traditional knowledge keeper of the Okanagan Nation. She is a founder of En’owkin, the Okanagan Nsyilxcn language and knowledge institution of higher learning of the Syilx Okanagan Nation. She currently is Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Okanagan Philosophy at UBC Okanagan. She has a Ph.D. in Environmental Ethics and Syilx Indigenous Literatures. She is the recipient of the Eco Trust Buffett Award for Indigenous Leadership and in 2016 the BC George Woodcock Lifetime Achievement Award. She is an author whose published works include poetry, prose and children’s literary titles and academic writing on a wide variety of Indigenous issues.
Deanna Reder (Cree-Métis) is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Indigenous Studies and the Department of English at Simon Fraser University. She is a founding member of the Indigenous Editors Association (see www.indigenouseditorsassociation.com); currently, she is co-chair, with Drs. Sophie McCall and Sarah Henzi, of the Indigenous Voices Awards. (see indigenousvoicesawards.org)
Greg Younging may best be known more broadly for his work as the author of “Elements of Indigenous Style: A Guidebook for Writing By and About Indigenous Peoples” a seminal work that began during his time as a Master of Publishing student at SFU. The guide is fast becoming a staple for writers, editors, and publishers throughout North America.
His reputation in Canada as a leading scholar in Indigenous Studies often led him to take on important but sometimes very difficult work, including as Assistant Director of Research for the Canadian federal government’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Canada.
Greg’s passion for making more space for Indigenous writing and publishing led him to complete a PhD focusing on copyright and Indigenous stories and at the time of his death in May 2019, he was a professor and co-ordinator of the Indigenous Studies Program at the Irving K Barber School of Arts and Sciences at the University of British Columbia-Okanagan.
A member of the Opsakwayak Cree Nation, Greg was the managing editor of Theytus Books, Canada’s oldest fully owned Indigenous Publisher from 1990 to 2003, returning to the role in 2016 until his death in 2019.
Congratulations to Alex Krilow, a third-year Communications and Publishing student who has won the first-ever Greg Younging Undergraduate Award in Publishing!
The Greg Younging Undergraduate Award was established in honour of Dr. Gregory Younging, who devoted his life advocating for Indigenous publishers, creators, writers, and designers across Canada. This $1000 award is granted annually to an Indigenous undergraduate student enrolled in our minor in Print and Digital Publishing to encourage the training of emerging Indigenous publishers in Canada.
Below is our interview with Alex Krilow, who is the recipient of this year’s award.
1.How do you feel as the first-ever recipient of the Greg Younging Undergraduate Award?
I am very honored to be the first-ever recipient of the Greg Younging Undergraduate Award. Throughout his life, Greg Younging has made incredible contributions in many different spaces such as publishing, the Indigenous community, the art council, public services, federal initiatives, and much more. I am thankful to win an award that has been dedicated to such an amazing man.
2.Why did you apply for the Greg Younging Undergraduate Award and how will it impact you?
I received an email from the Indigenous Student Centre at SFU and applied because I met the qualifications and thought it would be a good opportunity. This award will allow me to concentrate more on my studies and continue school without being stressed about my finances. As well, I hope to attend graduate school in the future, so completing my undergraduate degree without having any debt would be a great foundation.
3.How does Greg Younging inspire you and why is the award meaningful to you?
Seeing how much Greg has accomplished in his lifetime is inspiring because he motivates others like myself to follow in his footsteps and shows us what we can possibly achieve. This award is meaningful to me because much like Greg Younging, I want to support the Indigenous community. Currently, I am working for the Indigenous training program with Canada Border Services Agency, where I help with federal initiatives related to Indigenous studies. I am also volunteering as a social media assistant for the North Fraser Metis Association
4.Why do you think it is important to have more Indigenous voices in the publishing industry?
Throughout history, Indigenous voices have been put on the backburner, and in many situations, our voices have been under shadowed by other prominent figures in society. In the past, many Indigenous voices were suppressed, especially those who attended residential schools. Moving forward, it is so important to have our voices be heard and encourage more Indigenous writers and publishers to tell their own stories. Having more Indigenous voices and acting as a role model for other future Indigenous writers can inspire them to accomplish their own goals.
Recently, our MPub students had the chance to share their Magazine Media projects with industry professionals and classmates of the publishing community. The three teams presented their plans to a panel of industry experts: Jessie Johnson, publisher, and editor-in-chief of Asparagus Magazine; Anicka Quin, Editorial Director of Western Living and Vancouver Magazine; and Tania Lo, CEO & Co-founder of Tandem Innovation Group. The three panelists gave their feedback and advice on the different aspects of the team’s business plans including their mission, audience, competitors, business goals, marketing channels, and sustainability strategy.
The first team was The Modern Local, a digital publication that encourages readers to live local and connect with their neighbourhoods by sharing stories about community issues, arts and culture, and activities. As an online lifestyle magazine for a community-minded generation, their mission is to serve readers exclusively in the tri-cities: Langley, New Westminster, and Maple Ridge. The panelists praised them for their creative tagline, “Find the good life close to home” and for their workshop idea of creating a “best of local” award show to cultivate sponsorships.
Next to present was Spoil, a sumptuous web and print magazine showcasing food and cooking culture from across the world. Spoil is committed to fostering curiosity, connection, empathy, and diversity through a deep and nuanced passion for food. In particular, the panelists were impressed by the team’s chic design and quality of their magazine, noting that it was “delicious to look at.”
Last to present was Sprouts, an accessible hub of trusted information for parents with research-based content that contains actions and activities to help include kids in the conversation about the world we live in. Sprouts aims to curate actions and activities to do together to help kids learn and shape their future. Specifically, Sprouts was applauded for their content creation and audience personas.
The presentations allowed the teams to showcase their months of hard work to the publishing community and a panelist of industry professionals. Thank you to everyone who joined, we are looking forward to seeing you again for next year’s Magazine Media Presentations.
With the Emerging Leaders in Publishing Summit coming up from February 9-February 12, we had a chance to speak to one of our keynote speaker’s Craig Riggs. As an MPub alumnus and former MPub instructor at SFU, we are excited to have him back to speak with our students! See what he has to say about the Emerging Leaders in Publishing Summit and get a sneak peek of his presentation on February 11.
1) How does it feel to be back at SFU as a speaker and how has the MPub program helped you with your career today?
It feels great to be back as a speaker! I have always had a strong attachment to the Master of Publishing program, both as an alumnus and also having taught in the program for about four years. It is a pleasure to be back and I’m always happy to contribute in any way I can.
Prior to the Master of Publishing program, I had no experience in the industry. I was looking for a way to transition to a career in publishing and that’s exactly what the MPub program was for me. It was a great way to begin to build a network in the industry and to learn about the different aspects of publishing and the publishing process.
2) Could you tell us what your presentation will be about and what attendees can look forward to?
My presentation will be about direct-to-consumer sales channels and how the landscape is changing in the publishing industry. The focus of the presentation will be on the shift in sales from brick-and-mortar stores to online channels. The session will also look at some of the important changes in book marketing, especially in online spaces. Historically, most book marketing has had a business-to-business orientation, but there is a shift there too and most publishing houses now give a lot more weight to consumer marketing and engaging directly with readers. Attendees can look forward to learning more about the changes in book marketing with respect to the shifts in consumer behaviour and technology.
3) The theme for this year’s conference is about driving change and innovation. As a partner at Turner Riggsand the founder of Readerbound, how do you drive change and innovation in your organizations?
With Readerbound, we were trying to establish a platform that could efficiently produce purpose-built websites for book publishers. The idea is to give publishing houses a toolbox so that their website is more powerful, but also more affordable and easier to manage.
It’s fair to say that book publishing has not always had an easy relationship with new technologies and tools. New systems and tech projects often cost more, in terms of dollars and staff effort, than first expected. The industry is full of examples where publishing organizations run out of either time or budget before their goals are fully realized. Against that backdrop, we think the key to selecting and successfully adopting new technology is to partner with a vendor that offers both industry expertise and technical know-how. That is what we are offering with Readerbound, and we believe that that combination of technological and industry expertise creates a space where innovation happens.
Readerbound has helped some of the industry’s most respected publishers with their websites. Learn more about Readerbound by visiting their website.
4) Who do you think should attend the Emerging Leaders in Publishing Summit and how can they make the most out of it?
I think anyone in the publishing industry should attend! It’s always exciting coming back as an alumnus and learning new ideas and perspectives. If you are early in your publishing career and looking to build a network and gain insight, an event like this is fantastic. If you have more experience in the industry, you can still learn at events like this. This is a valuable opportunity to learn more about publishing and exchange ideas together. Since we are all working remotely nowadays, it is especially important to get the industry together and share ideas.
Thank you to Craig Riggs for allowing us to conduct an interview with you! Visit his websites to learn more about Readerbound and Turner Riggs.
For more information about the Emerging Leaders in Publishing Summit, visit our post here.
It’s often said that the pandemic has accelerated changes already underway in business, and that’s proven especially true for book publishing. Even though the industry is often considered slow and not as susceptible to technological change (and print just enjoyed its most robust sales in more than a decade), it’s been a transformative time for the business of books.
In the end, no one will go unaffected—not authors, editors, marketers, or booksellers. Jane will discuss the big-picture changes still unfolding, the questions it raises for the industry, and what to watch for in the months and years ahead.
The confluence of voices, languages, and poetic traditions in Otoniya Juliane Okot Bitek’s poetry reflects her sense of belonging and migration across many places. In this wide-ranging conversation, Acholi Canadian poet Okot Bitek will talk about her writing process as a poet, her experiences with publishing in Canada, her collaborative projects with poets and visual artists, and her practice of listening across histories, identities, continents.