Last week I spent 4 days staying at a lovely hotel in Oxfordshire. Sadly, I didn’t get to use any of the wonderful facilities or even spend a reasonable number of hours in my bed (which was very comfy!) as I was on a very intensive course on commissioning and list management. The course was run by the Publishing Training Centre for those of us who are new to the editorial side of publishing and are interested in developing lists.
We had talks on topics which included market research, strategic list management, working with authors, finance, digital strategy, marketing, contracts and the law. It really was a complete overview of all aspects of the work and I came away buzzing with ideas and things to discuss with everyone back at the office.
The delegates were from big publishers which included OUP, Palgrave and Routledge, as well as the Commonwealth Secretariat (which has a not-for-profit publishing branch) and me, the only representative from an independent publisher. We were able to compare how some aspects of publishing are the same, whatever publisher you work for, and how some things can be quite different. I came away from the course feeling quite glad that we’re an independent publisher and can make decisions without having to approach various boards and meet targets!
Apart from the talks we also had a case study to work on in groups and present to the panel at the end of the course. My team looked at bringing a fading list of books into the 21st century by thinking about all the exciting digital products we could develop. Sadly, reality and finances may be a barrier for most of our ideas, but it was good to be thinking creatively about what publishing might be like in the next decade or so.