What’s New at YPC
The Yale Publishing Course is celebrating its 6th year of providing THE program for mid- to senior-level publishing professionals. The book and magazine curriculums are being finalized, and this year attendees will hear from the biggest names in publishing, leaders in business, and innovators in their fields. Director Tina C. Weiner talks about the changes the Couse has seen over the years
IP: How has the course changed over the past few years?
TW: The overall mission of the program continues to be providing a broader perspective of where the industry is by diving deep into the most pressing issues facing publishers today and providing the information and skillsets that will help to prepare for the future in an environment win which print and digital will coexist in the midst of rapid change and constant disruption.
The curriculum is refreshed each year to include new issues and trends that arise in the industry. Although some topics are perennials—leadership strategies; managing, retaining, and retraining your staff in times of constant change; updates on new advances in digital technology; new ways to use social media; what we can learn from innovative start-ups; financial realities worldwide; and finding new sources of revenue. That said, we add new speakers on these topics and those that return totally update their presentations to keep them as up-to-the-minute as possible. In addition, the roster of speakers includes a diverse group who possess increasingly a wider range and diverse point of view.
New topics that will either be added for the first time this year or explored in even greater depth include: leveraging your brand; more on using social listening, social media and video in marketing and how to get greater participation from authors in promoting their books; fostering creativity and innovation; services that can be offered to self-publishers; defining what it means to be a global publisher today; and thinking about the future of storytelling.
The atmosphere of the program has become increasingly interactive and informal. We are creating more opportunities for the participants to interact with the faculty in small group discussions and with each other both inside and beyond the classroom. More time for Q and A is built into the sessions, which often leads to lively debate and candid sharing of successes and failures experienced both my the faculty and peers from all over the world.
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The 2015 Yale Publishing Course
Or, How to Spend Your July
Four years ago (wow, it’s been four years already!) I attended the Yale Publishing Course. I was an intern with Independent Publisher magazine, wondering if publishing was the right path for me. Thanks to a very generous boss—and the equally generous YPC director Tina C. Weiner—I was able to spend a week in New Haven despite being the youngest and least experienced person in a program for mid- to senior-level professionals.
Fast forward four years, and I’ve made a career in the book business, achieved my dream of publishing a book seven times over, graduated from the Denver Publishing Institute, and had the pleasure of going from intern to Contributing Editor here at Independent Publisher.
If I had to pinpoint the one moment that made all of that possible (aside from when the aforementioned generous boss decided to give me a shot), it would be the day I set foot on Yale’s campus.
To be honest with you, the Yale Publishing Course changed my life, corny as that may sound. The course got me so excited about the field (a field in turmoil, I might add!) that I came home with 20+ pages of notes that I passed out to everyone in the office. I knew next to nothing about publishing when I walked into the classroom, but I left feeling like a pro. In every single job interview I’ve had, I get comments and questions about Yale. I met incredible people at the Course, both peers and the legends of the business, all of whom I had something to learn from.
So it’s not out of nostalgia or even goodwill that I do a yearly write-up on the upcoming Yale Publishing Course. It’s because I truly believe that the program can make the difference in someone’s career, just as it did mine. You don’t have to be a VP at Random House to benefit from the Course. You just need to have a passion for publishing and a desire to learn how to make your part of the business better.
Below are a few words on the course from Director Tina Weiner, and I also encourage you to learn as much as you can about the Course on their website.
IP: In addition to hearing from great speakers, what are two of the biggest benefits of attending the course?
TW: We have just completed a survey of YPC alumni asking this very question. The responses repeatedly mentioned the following: being exposed to topics and points of view that they hadn’t experienced within their own companies and at other publishing events; the deep dive into issues that aren’t explored elsewhere with the candor and depth afforded in a relatively small-sized classroom setting; the opportunity to network with peers from all over the world, learn from their experiences, and form relationships with a group of colleagues (both faculty and other students) on whom they can call on for advise and, often, collaboration in new ventures. They report that they have shared what they have learned within their own companies, have felt energized and more confident in suggesting new ideas and implementing new strategies, and are, more optimistic about the future of publishing and advancing their own careers.
Taking part in sessions that cover topics beyond their own silo, provides the participants with greater knowledge of the industry as a whole and gives them a better understanding of the challenges their colleagues face and how they handle their specific tasks. They also benefit from the sessions from non-traditional speakers, especially those on organizational behavior and leadership strategies offered by the faculty from the Yale School of Management.
What I find particularly gratifying is that a substantial number of YPC alums have been promoted within their own companies and who not only encourage others to attend the Course, but have expressed a desire to return as well.
How are the needs of indie and self-publishers addressed in the course?
TW: The independent and small publishers who attend the Course have the opportunity to learn from the success and failures of strategies employed by publishers with greater resources and the time and staff to experiment and to share experiences with fellow indie participants. I remind all the speakers that a large percentage of attendees are either independent publishers or manage small imprints within large companies and ask them to gear their presentations accordingly. And, of course, several of the presenters themselves are independent publishers—of varying sizes. In some ways, the participants from small companies have the most to gain as they often have job responsibilities that range across the topics of many of the sessions and these presentations offer them practical takeaways that they can use immediately.
I really believe, and YPC alums agree, that if your resources for professional development are limited, the five immersive days offered at YPC prove to be a wise investment in terms of the breadth and scope of information gained, time, and return on investment. (And it’s a lot of fun too!)
Jillian Bergsma Manning is a contributing editor for Independent Publisher. She graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in English. She welcomes any questions or comments on her articles at jbergsma (at) bookpublishing.com. Follow her at @LillianJaine.