AAP Hosts Sixth Annual Young to Publishing Conference

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The Association of American Publishers (AAP) held its sixth annual Young to Publishing Conference, exclusively for members of YPG, in December 2011. The program, entitled “How to Create, How to Innovate” and presented by the AAP’s Diversity Recruit & Retain Committee, took place on Thursday, December 8, 2011, at Random House (1745 Broadway, NYC).

Curated by the YPG Planning Committee, there were seminars on all facets of the publishing process for the industry’s junior book publishing professionals. The day-long conference served 250 young publishing professionals from 18 member publishing houses and included sessions on sales, marketing, P&L, digital content, social media, YA crossover, and publicity. A full program is as follows:

8:00 am — Continental Breakfast & Registration

8:55am–9:00 am —  Welcome & Introductions
Tom Allen, President & CEO, Association of American Publishers
Markus Dohle, Chairman & CEO, Random House

9:00am–9:30am — Opening Keynote with Carolyn Reidy
With over thirty years in the industry, Carolyn Reidy, President and CEO, Simon & Schuster, provides her view on the best way to achieve success in publishing as a career. Reidy also addressed how the industry is transforming itself; the evolving role of the publisher in discovering, curating, distributing, and marketing high quality content; and the many exciting opportunities and challenges of publishing in the digital era. A full copy of her Opening Keynote Speech can be viewed here.

9:30am–10:30am — The 360 Degree Editorial, Sales & Marketing View
As an up-and-coming publishing pro, how do you go beyond the day-to-day jiffy pack grind to better understand and leverage the full life cycle of a book and to ensure its success? Providing both boutique and larger-house editorial perspectives, John Sherer, Publisher, Basic Books, and Stephen Morrison, Editor in Chief, Associate Publisher, Penguin Books, offered their views on how the commercial and creative aspects of the role of publisher interact most successfully with that of the editorial staff. Underscoring the value of the publishing profession from the point of acquisition to the sale, they argued that an editor should think like a publisher at all times, looking beyond functional silos. How can editors successfully make their pitch of certain titles during the acquisition phase? What are some of the initiatives that are applied (i.e., dynamics with sales, marketing, and publicity) to maximize sales? How do publishers decide where to appropriate their marketing spend? Using case studies that reflect the changing digital landscape, the speakers illustrated how dynamics across functions generate buzz during the acquisition process, and when a book goes to market.

10:30am–10:55am — Break

11:00am–11:45am — P&L Predicting Performance
How do you understand an acquisition P&L statement? Many young publishing professionals know that the benchmark for a successful first edition has changed in terms of what performance is expected, so what is a successful first edition? Is it as profitable as it once was to produce B- and C-level titles? Thomas Morgan, Director, Financial Planning and Analysis, Sterling Publishing, taught the basics of how to interpret a P&L and use it to increase your profit and minimize your loss.

11:50am-12:20pm — The Expanding Global Publishing Marketplace
Where do the growth opportunities for book content providers currently lie? How does the constantly evolving book distribution landscape support the growth of sales worldwide? How can we quantify the global reach of the U.S. publishing industry? Madeline McIntosh, President, Sales, Digital, and Operations, Random House, Inc., discussed these and other topics, touching upon all facets of the book industry operations supply chain and how they coexist. She also shared her view on the most important skills necessary to develop in today’s marketplace in order to advance one’s own career development track.

12:20pm–1:45pm — Lunch

1:45pm–2:30pm — YA Adult Crossover Titles: The New “It” Books of Publishing
Megan Tingley, Senior Vice President & Publisher, Little Brown Books for Young Readers, offered her view of why YA Adult Crossover titles are the new content and sales darlings of book publishing, and how generational shifts in reading have impacted the growth of the genre. She also touched on whether the Young Adult crossover is affecting acquisition, how marketing and publicity professionals are branching out to new markets, and more.

2:30pm–3:00pm — Break

3:00pm–3:45pm — The Art of Book Publicity
Jeff Seroy, Senior Vice President, Promotions, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, and Lucas Wittman, Senior Articles Editor, Books, Newsweek Daily Beast, addressed the metamorphosis of book criticism in the age of digital and the increasing influence of social media and dialogue directly with readers, as well as the opportunities and the challenges from what book publicity was traditionally considered, to what it is today.

3:45pm-4:40pm — The Digital Path More (and More) Traveled
How has the growth of digital content impacted the way book publishers create and distribute content and interact with their readers? Carolyn Pittis, Senior Vice President, Publishing Transformation, HarperCollins, discussed how technology, B-to-B, and B-to-C strategies have evolved and grown in the age of digital. Attendees learned how editors, agents, and publicists are using various forms of social media to interact with authors and readers alike, and how you can strategize effectively to capitalize on this increasing trend.

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If you work for an AAP member publishing house and you have suggestions for speakers or topics to include in next year’s AAP Young to Publishing Conference, please email YPG Planning Committee Chair Sara Sargent (sara.sargent@harpercollins.com).

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