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Brian Murray, President and CEO, HarperCollins

Though he may not be as recognizable as Brad Pitt, George Clooney or A-Rod, I think he’s more deserving of his fame.  Is he famous, or is that only my skewed, publishing-obsessed view?

Now off to class to see other amazing speakers, hope this teaser holds you over until I can get back and give you a review of Murray’s “What’s A Book: The Digital Transformation of Publishing” speech!

It’s not even 9am and I already feel as if I’ve had a full day, probably because I’ve already:

  • Drank four cups of coffee
  • Digested a muffin, bagel, and half a watermelon
  • Met with and been inspired by Author Solutions!

Needless to say I could already use a nap; my 5:30am alarm did nothing for my beauty sleep, but right now I’m too excited!  Not knowing much about  self publishing companies, I was thrilled to discover a free Chicago event on LinkedIn put on by Author Solutions.   I invited my successful self-publishing author friend Scott E. Smith of the award-winning title Like Dizzy Gillespie’s Cheeks to attend with me and off we went, to what proved to be an inspirational and enlightening discussion of the publishing business.

Though the intended speaker from Author Solutions failed to show (probably contributing to the non-sales pitch feel of the meeting), Sandy Powell and Scott Walters from the Business Development team were available for questions and discussion.  It’s always interesting to learn about a new segment of the career I’m aspiring towards, and Powell and Walters both had experience and opinions to share.  In a nutshell: Publishing has not reached its end, books are not going to die, what will inevitably happen is a necessary shift in the business model.

There are many options available for a revised publishing business model.  Among the factors are changes in author’s payment (maybe less advance and higher royalties?), fewer print runs (more print on demand vs. warehouse space) or even the big publishing houses starting an imprint for self publishing; a lower risk way to test new authors to see if the titles catch on, with less impact on the already-stressed finances.

Of course, social media and personal interaction is never to be overlooked, as a new article on “Mashable” looks at traditional books in two new mediums in “5 Ways Traditional Media is Going Social“.

Unlike VHS tapes, book publishing continues to evolve and have space and opportunity for advancement.  I look forward to seeing some of these changes implemented in the influential hallways of Random House, Penguin and HarperCollins and I can’t wait to be an active participant.

Please share any additional thoughts/insight on new publishing opportunities!  And for all you aspiring writers out there, take a look at what the Author Solutions portfolio has to offer, I think you may be pleasantly surprised…

You know those days that surprise you, that appear out of no where (or, in this case, a rare 60 degree day with sunshine) that just make you appreciate where you are and just happy? I’ve been lucky enough to have one of those days today.

It started with my first-time visit to this amazing coffee shop… For those of you in my neighborhood, I urge you to try the ING Cafe at Chestnut and Wabash (Gold Coast), where coffee, tea, bottled water and even muffins are available for only $1!  Then I had time to peruse the internet and get a little productivity in before my pilates class, at which there was a wonderful new instructor who, while laughing at my lack of coordination really was encouraging and helpful.

welcome-chicago-publishing-galleryHad I already mentioned the 60 degree weather?  So I donned my sunglasses and headed downtown to take a look at the relatively new Chicago Publishers Gallery, located in the Cultural Center (77 E. Randolph St.).

An impressive place (even just the Cultural Center itself was worth the trip), I was thrilled with the offerings, took out my nerdy little notebook and started taking notes on publishers and books to research further.  The Gallery consists of two cozy areas on either side of a grand staircase, with comfy leather chairs and soft lighting, making a very inviting area.

The two gallery areas, those these pictures don't do justice to the experience

The two gallery areas, those these pictures don't do justice to the experience. Check out http://www.chicagopublishersgallery.com

For me, the experience was doubly important as I was impressed by the tangible displays of the publishing industry in Chicago.  True, there were no Random House or HarperCollins imprints, but the quantity and quality of books available was a welcoming sight to see.

After making note of the books I couldn’t wait to read, I headed straight for my favorite new and used book store, After-Words (23 E. Illinois St.).  Amazingly enough, they had both books I wanted (and used, so cheap!) – I was able to pick up a collection of Mike Royko’s columns and “Alpana Pours” for just over $20.  I am already looking forward to reviewing both of these Chicago-published books, so keep coming back!

Now, on for what will hopefully continue to be a wonderful Friday.  Happy Weeked, everyone!

It’s official, the recession has hit the publishing industry.  Announced yesterday in a multitude of news sources, HarperCollins has undergone “ferocious” lay-offs and closed the Collins division (home to books such as “The Dangerous Book for Boys” and the “Deceptively Delicious” cookbook). Owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, HC is one of the last major publishing houses to announce lay-offs.  The full NYT article can be found here: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/11/books/11harp.html?hp

I guess my dream of breaking in to the publishing industry may have to be put on hold for a little while… 😦

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