Grad School Weekly Wrap Up: Week 2

10/06/2014 12:52:00 PM Amy Ellis 0 Comments

I suppose it's better late than never when it comes to these round ups although this weekend I truly have no excuse for being late other than blatant procrastination. Also, next week's Weekly Round Up will only feature 2 days of classes because Thursday I am leaving to go to the Frankfurt Book Fair. It's my first trip to Germany and I'm so excited to be attending the world's largest book fair! Except copious amounts of fan girling and I'm connecting my Instagram account to this blog's twitter for the days I'm there so you can follow me on Twitter for pictures and updates at the fair. If you're attending the book fair Thursday or Friday, drop me a line and say hello! I'm very friendly, I promise.

Anyway, here's what I learned in Week 2 of my post-grad classes:

1. Editorial Management: This week's lesson was on The Editorial Process and was a fantastic (although sometimes insulting for self-publishers) lecture on the basics of how the editorial process works. What's the most basic form of this process? 

              Step 1: Get good stuff. 
              Step 2: Do good things to it
              Step 3: Sell it well

Pretty simple, huh? 

We then discussed workflows and how digitization has affected the traditional workflow of an editor. Traditionally, an editor's workflow was very linear and each step from commissioning to copy-editing, to proofing was all done one step at a time. With digitization, these steps have become less linear because texts in digital format are much more manipulable. However, this isn't necessarily a bad thing. There are several benefits of a digital workflow: 
  • Stages are integrated, making fewer steps and each step more connected than previously.
  • The work is constantly adaptable
  • The publishing process can be more democratic in the way that people can be their own publishers. This is a debatable point for many but I really liked it. 
  • Reduction of paper use. (I'll talk more about paper in a minute...)
  • Ease of editorial and other intervention, meaning editing can take place at any stage in the process, which can be a good or a bad thing depending on the schedule and what types of editing is being done. This can actually slow down the production process. 
  • Instant transferability worldwide. This is great for publishers who are outsourcing their printing to places like China. 
We also discussed the role of an editor and how an editor's title really doesn't categorize or explain what they do on a daily basis. This was also discussed at the SYP event I attended Tuesday evening so it was a really great overlap that day! 

2. Marketing Lesson #2: I think the biggest lesson this week for me was to be more prepared. While I had done the reading, I didn't take great notes on it and I just felt grossly under prepared. Needless to say, I checked a few extra books out from the library this week and did a lot of extra reading. I'm tired of feeling like I'm always playing catch up and I'm only on week 2! 

In addition to learning to read more, I learned about consumer segmentation, targeting, and positioning this week. Pretty important stuff in the marketing world. Why is it so important? Segmentation and targeting groups customers with similar needs, saves time and money (by only marketing to people who will need/want your product), and builds brand. Pretty important stuff. 

When creating segments, your segments must be definable/measurable (market size), Reachable/Accessible ("communications mix"), Sizable/Substantial (enough people to be worth the effort), and Relevant/Meaningful (do the segments really have different needs, aspirations, behaviors). This is essential because if your product flops, you can come back and re-examine the segments and see if you can come at them a different way. 

3. Production and Design Lesson #2: While I learned a lot of really interesting InDesign tricks this week in my design workshop, I felt my production seminar was really fascinating and worth sharing. This week we discuss making a physical book from tree to factory to book in hand. Doesn't sound that interesting or relevant does it? WRONG. So wrong. Here's some stuff I learned:

  • Your books are not made from the rain forest so don't even go there. Paper is mostly made from coniferous because the fibers are much longer and conducive to making paper. Also for each tree a paper mill cuts down, they plant three saplings in its place. So bam. 
  • Paper that is turning yellow and getting that "old book smell" are actually decomposing. The pages decompose when the paper company does not remove all of the lignin (what makes a tree considered a tree), sucroses, etc from the paper pulp/slurry in the factory. To remove these chemicals, the paper pulp is treated with chemicals and heated to "cook" the chemicals off and get a purer paper. If you want to be sure  your paper won't decompose, lok for "acid free" paper.   
  • To determine the grain of a piece of paper, rip it. If the tear is smooth, you're tearing with the grain. If the tear is jagged, you are tearing against the grain. You want the grain of paper to run parallel to the spine. This is not always possible but is definitely preferred as having a parallel gran means the book will be flatter. Folding the paper will change the direction of the grain depending on the number of folds. 
  • There are two types of printing methods: Digital and Analogue. Digital printing is what enables self-published authors to do POD and is preferred for runs of 500 copies or less. It treats each book as in individual job whereas analogue printing the whole run in a single job. Analogue printing is suited for runs of 500 or more and the more copies printed, the cheaper the per unit cost will be. Analogue printing used plates and is a slower process but is still preferred for larger jobs. 
Now that I've written a book, I'm going to go continue studying on this gloomy English day. See you in Frankfurt!

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