Sunday, November 2, 2008


So I'm sitting here, in my hotel room, in Lombard, Illinois, looking out at the flat landscape of buildings, buildings everywhere. Happily, I can see autumn-tinged trees peeking out between the buildings, so that's nice. But boy, do I miss my mountains...

Yup, I'm on yet another trip. This one's for the Evangelical Christian Publishers' Association--or ECPA--Publishing University--or PubU.

A slight aside here: Ever notice how much publishers like acronyms? Yeah. Big time. The winner, though, has to be Zondervan. When I worked there I had to learn to talk in alphabet soup. For the first 6 months, Sue Brower, who was our marketing maven then but is now a brilliant editor, acted as my interpreter. Got so that she'd just translate for me as soon as someone used an acronym. I didnt' even have to give her that "HUH?" look. It was hilarious.

Back to our regularly scheduled blog...

Only a few hours now until PubU starts. In case you're wondering, PubU is for professionals in publishing. ECPA has what they call "communities" for leadership, marketing, sales, editorial, technology, and more. Folks who work at the publishing houses come from all over the map to take the seminars and to network. It's the one time of the year we publishing folks from different houses get to spend time together. It's a blast, because the air resounds with all the conversations about publishing, books, authors, workloads, what's hot, what's not, the state of publishing, the state of confusion, and on and on. I love it!

This year I'm the community leader for the editorial community. That means I arranged the speakers for the four 90-min seminars. So we kick off with a community leader meeting today at 4:30, and then PubU is in full swing. Tomorrow is a solid day of seminars, where I get to hover and help as needed for the first three, then I'm leading the final seminar with long-time editor Judith Markham (who, by the way, edited my very first novel, Reunion!)

I'm so excited about the speakers who agreed to come.

Renni Browne, best known for her book Self-Editing for Fiction Writers (if you're writing fiction and don't have this book, RUN, do not walk, to buy it!), and her son, Ross, who helps her run their business The Editorial Department, are leading the first two sessions. I can't wait to meet Renni--I've asked every fiction author I've worked with to get her book. It's a great resource for writing powerful novels. Plus it's got some of the best writing cartoons I've ever seen. In session one, Renni will talk about what it means to be an editor in today's publishing world. Ross takes session two and will talk about the process of evaluating and editing manuscripts.

The third session will be led by two of my B&H compatriots:
Julie Gwinn, our marketing genius (I owe a lot of the success we're seeing with B&H fiction to Julie), and
Jamie Phillips, one of our top-drawer salesmen. They're going to teach editors how to talk both sale's and marketing's languages. In other words, how to create a cohesive team rather than be at odds with those departments, as editorial so often tends to be.

In the final session, editor extraordinaire Judith Markham and I will do a bit of a debrief on what's been taught so far, then break up into discussion groups on the topics that most interest those attending. Some options: Creating Strong Author-Editor Relationships, Balancing Workloads with Time Demands, and What's Bugging You? (the issues we face and how we each deal with them). We'll come back together at the end to share our best tips and counsel. There's no better way to address issues than to do it together and share both experience and ideas!

So it's going to be great fun. AND I get to see folks I know from my days at Tyndale and Zondervan. Can't wait! I'll do my best to keep you all posted these next three days on what's happening, what the hot topics are, and all that good stuff.

Peace, all.


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