Heidi Waechtler was once an MPub student—and now she’s the Executive Director of the Association of Book Publishers of BC (or ABPBC, which being able to say quickly and correctly is almost a right of passage for Master of Publishing students).
She sat down to answer the questions we all have as we’re nervously researching, applying, and starting the degree: why did you choose this program? What doors did it open for you? And was it worth it?
Check out her responses below:
“My decision to apply to the MPub program began with what you would now call FOMO, or ‘fear of missing out.’ (Okay, I didn’t enter the program that long ago.) I had friends who were completing the program or had recently finished, and even though I already held a certificate in editing from SFU, was working in a publishing-related job (as the project coordinator for the Magazine Association of British Columbia), and had begun building a professional network, I realized from hearing about the assignments my friends were working on that there was still a lot I didn’t know about the actual business of publishing. The program made sense to me as a way to ground what I knew in a combination of academic study and practical training, and to receive feedback from working industry professionals along the way.
After completing the coursework, I ended up doing my internship in the editorial department at McClelland & Stewart in Toronto, and eventually became the managing editor at Coach House Books, where I worked for four years. In both roles I had the opportunity to work with and learn from some of the country’s top publishing professionals and authors. Two years ago, I moved back to Vancouver to take on the position of executive director of the Association of Book Publishers of British Columbia – bringing me back almost full circle to an industry-facing role where I now draw on my experience to work on policy, marketing, and business development initiatives on behalf of the province’s book publishers.
Looking back on the late nights spent in the MPub project rooms with my colleagues, I realize the most important thing I took away from the program – besides how to do a P&L or write an effective call to action – was the knowledge that if I were capable of managing the complex, open-ended assignments in a condensed timeframe, I could manage whatever challenges the real publishing world would present me with. Write snappy yet intelligent sales copy for a book that wasn’t yet completed? I’d done it before. Come up with an idea for out-of-the-box promotional swag to include with a review copy? I had a couple of vendors in mind already. Proofread a manuscript overnight so we could rush it off to press? Hand me a coffee, and consider it done.
There are realities about the industry I could have only learned on the job, but the MPub program helped me become more confident in my own ability to see a project through to completion and also – thanks to the aforementioned project-room time – more humble about the value of collaboration.”
The Vancouver Literary Arts Centre is envisioned as a diverse and vibrant literary hub that will raise the profile of the city’s writing and publishing communities while providing them with affordable office space. The Association of Book Publishers of British Columbia is spearheading the initiative with several interested publishers as well as the Association of Magazine Publishers of BC, and has already completed 3 feasibility studies with the support of the City.
The ABPBC is now working with BC Artscape, who is actively working to establish its first project in Vancouver. Negotiations are being finalized on approximately 48,000 square feet of vacant space at the Sun Wah Centre at 268 Keefer Street. The building will be transformed into a dynamic, multi-tenant creative hub that meets the need of artists and cultural organizations and responds to the unique neighbourhood around in Chinatown.
BC Artscape is seeking partners to help inform the project vision, design, and operation of the space and potential tenancies. Based on the space needs identified in earlier feasibility studies, the VLAC could potentially occupy one floor of the building (floors range between 14,000–20,000 sq. ft).
The Vancouver Literary Arts Centre is now looking for expressions of interest for tenants that fit within the scope of writing and publishing.
Call for Tenants Expression of Interest
With the 268 Keefer Street property in mind, the ABPBC is administering expressions of interest in office space for the Literary Arts Centre floor of the building (floor TBD), with the understanding that other amenities (such as a reception play roulette online in canada area, kitchen, meeting rooms, warehouse space, and event space) and programming space could be shared among VLAC tenants or with other tenants in the building. The ABPBC is now seeking non-binding confirmation of tenant space needs from potential VLAC tenants.
Please email Heidi Waechtler, ABPBC executive director, at firstname.lastname@example.org with the following information by Friday, December 23:
- name of company
- square footage needed for offices
- square footage needed for storage
- other desired amenities (e.g., event space, meeting space, warehouse space)
- experience or relationships with the Chinatown or DTES community, if any
The deadline for responses to the call for tenants/partners is Friday, December 23, 2016.
If you are interested in tenancy apart from the VLAC floor of the building (e.g., as an individual artist or an arts organization) or in renting programming space in the building as a non-tenant, more information, including the call for tenants in English, Cantonese and Mandarin, can be found on the BC Artscape website.
Open Houses: Tour the Building
BC Artscape will be holding open houses at 268 Keefer Street on the following dates:
- Friday, December 2, 9–11 a.m.
- Tuesday, December 6, 12–2 p.m.* (presentations will start at 12:15PM, 12:45PM and 1:15PM followed by tours)
- Thursday, December 8, 5–7 p.m. (presentations will start at 5:15PM, 5:45PM and 6PM followed by tours)
The open houses are open to all interested tenants in the building, including potential VLAC tenants and will consist of a presentation on the project context, a question and answer period and a guided tour of the space. Please RSVP at email@example.com if you plan to attend an Open House.
*A number of ABPBC publishers and staff will attending the December 6 open house.
During Read Local BC 2016, readers across the province can discover locally published books and meet authors resident in their community through a range of activities in bookstores and libraries throughout British Columbia.
Following the widespread success of the inaugural Read Local BC campaign in 2015, the Association of Book Publishers of British Columbia (ABPBC) is launching the initiative for a second year from October 28 – November 7, 2016. Events and contests are posted on the Read Local BC Facebook page. Readers are invited to share events and your favourite BC reads with the hashtag #readlocalbc.
Our good friend Margaret Reynolds, who for a quarter-century has directed the Association of Book Publishers of BC (ABPBC), has been nominated for the 2016 YWCA “Women of Distinction” Award in Arts, Culture & Design.
As the YWCA site, puts it:
For more than 25 years, Margaret has worked tirelessly on behalf of BC-owned book publishers to ensure a vibrant publishing industry in the province. As the Executive Director of the Association of Book Publishers of BC she is a hub in the community, working with librarians, teachers, writers’ groups, booksellers and government. Among other accolades, she was awarded a Distinguished Service Award by the BC Teacher-Librarians Association. She has been a driving force behind many initiatives including Poetry in Transit and the Environmentally Sound Paper Initiative. She has supported the growth of BC’s book publishers to become leaders on the national and global publishing scene and has devoted many volunteer hours to organizations such as the Alliance for Arts and Culture.
The Association of Book Publishers of BC is one of the six non-profit organizations to receive support from the newly created BC Artscape.
“BC Artscape, the non-profit organization mandated to ‘make space for creativity and transform communities,’ has announced the six non-profit organizations which will receive support through the first instance of the BC Artscape Cultural Space Development Mentorship & Coaching Program, a program funded by the City of Vancouver and Vancity Community Foundation.
“Art Space Action, The Association of Book Publishers of BC, Contemporary Art Matters, MakerLabs, the Powell Street Festival Society and the Vancouver Independent Music Centre Society will benefit from a free-of-charge year-long program designed to build their capacity to advance their own creative placemaking projects that will benefit local communities.”
The ABPBC is a trade association, founded in 1974, whose aims are to foster an environment in which members will flourish and to expand an awareness of the value of books in all our lives. In addition to spearheading the Read Local BC campaign, the ABPBC has recently been conducting feasibility studies for a Literary Arts Centre in Vancouver.
Read the announcement on the Alliance for Arts & Culture blog, or the full press release from BC Artscape.