Posts Tagged: MPub alum

Illustrious Alumni: Heidi Waechtler on how her career has come full-circle

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.”


2016 BC Book Prizes winners include MPub alumna Susan Juby

The West Coast Book Prize Society has announced the names of the winners of the 32nd Annual BC Book Prizes. The prizes were presented on April 30, 2016 at Government House in Victoria, BC.

Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize:
Alix HawleyAll True Not a Lie in It (Knopf Canada)

Roderick Haig-Brown Regional Prize:
Briony PennThe Real Thing: The Natural History of Ian McTaggart Cowan (Rocky Mountain Books)

Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize:
Brian BrettTuco: The Parrot, the Others, and A Scattershot World (Greystone Books)

Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize:
Raoul FernandesTransmitter and Receiver (Nightwood Editions)

Christie Harris Illustrated Children’s Literature Prize:
Annette LeBox, Stephanie Graegin (illus), Peace is an Offering (Dial Books)

Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize:
Susan JubyThe Truth Commission (Razorbill)

Bill Duthie Booksellers’ Choice Award:
Susan MusgraveA Taste of Haida Gwaii: Food Gathering and Feasting at the Edge of the World (Whitecap Books)

Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Literary Excellence:
Alan Twigg, publisher of BC BookWorld and author


BC Book Prizes 2016 includes several SFU authors

The West Coast Book Prize Society has announced the shortlists for the annual BC Book Prizes, celebrating the province’s authors and publishers in seven categories.

The finalists include SFU alumni Susan Juby (MPub), Anakana Schofield (Writer’s Studio), Raoul Fernandes (Writer’s Studio), Annette Lebox (Writer’s Studio), and Eve Lazarus (BA). Also among the finalists are SFU microbiologist Irina Kovalyova, and SFU Writing & Publishing instructors Caroline Adderson and Miranda Pearson.

The full list of nominees is available on the prize website.

Finalists will be celebrated at a free Soirée, and then select finalists will embark on a cross-province reading tour. Winners will be named at the Lieutenant Governor’s BC Book Prizes Gala at Victoria’s Government House on April 30.