Expert publishing blog opinions are solely those of the blogger and not necessarily endorsed by DBW.
Long before coming to Digital Book World, I spent six summers in high school and college teaching swimming lessons and lifeguarding. During that time I found that getting tossed into the deep end isn’t always the best way to learn how to swim.
It’s sometimes the quickest, though.
I started as a content producer at DBW about three weeks ago and now find myself in the final countdown to the 2014 conference. When it kicks off on Monday morning, it’s likely I’ll still be working to keep my EPUB distinct from my DRM and my B&N, Sourcebooks from Lightning Source, Jane Friedman (Open Road) from Jane Friedman (Virginia Quarterly Review). Begging the patience of all parties concerned, I’m nonetheless looking forward to diving in.
My background is primarily in print and digital production. Before coming to DBW, I held positions at Macmillan and Hachette, coordinating production processes for scholarly monographs and romance titles, respectively.
Production really suited me. One production director I worked with aptly characterized it as “making things better.” With too little time to spare, too many people weighing in and too few, too unfinished materials on hand, you’re charged with pulling everything together—on time, every time.
As I see it, the three days of presentations, panels and workshops at DBW are all designed, in a range of different ways, to help publishing folks make things better.
I’ll be spending most of Monday jumping in and out of the Digital Design and Production sessions, picking up the latest information on EPUB workflow and user-experience design. I’m excited to see where my native field will be heading in the upcoming months and years, and the paths we’re taking to get there.
Tuesday and Wednesday will be more exploratory (for me, anyway). I’m hoping to attend talks on subjects I’m unfamiliar with, balancing industry-wide forecasts with nuts-and-bolts insights on narrower topics like change management, publishers working with start-ups, how bookstores are faring in the digital age and more.
In my own experience in publishing, it’s not uncommon to work so hard at your assigned tasks that the bigger pictures they fit into grow indistinct; “detail-oriented” can be a gift and a curse. One reason I came to DBW was to gain a broader, deeper understanding of the industry—its facets, changes, challenges and the people driving them all. I’m planning to maximize the last two days of the conference to fill in those gaps in my knowledge and draw connections among them.
Accomplishing that will help me produce webcasts, cover industry news and create content that consistently helps DBW’s followers make business decisions and advance their careers, all while moving the book industry forward. In other words, to make things better, collectively.
Please come find me and say hello. I’ll be doing my best to track down familiar faces, introduce myself to new ones and remember the names that go with them. For starters, mine’s Rich. I’ll be the one in the deep end, quickly learning to swim. Hello!