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10 Years of Book Smarts
Yale Publishing Course Celebrates Its Tenth Birthday
Back in 2011, I had the opportunity of a lifetime to attend the Yale Publishing Course. I was just starting out in my publishing career, and spending a week in New Haven with some of the brightest literary minds in the world was a dream come true.
Fast forward eight years, and the Yale Publishing Course is celebrating its tenth birthday. (For coverage of the previous years, check out the sidebar!) The 2019 Leadership Strategies in Print and Digital Media program runs July 21 – 26, and the Leadership Strategies in Book Publishing program runs July 28 – August 2.
I caught up with Director Tina C. Weiner to get the scoop on what a decade of experience means for the YPC.
IP:Ten years! Give us a little history on where the course has been and where it is today.
TW: When I founded the program in 2010, the main focus of the Course was understanding what the move to digital meant for the publishing industry: what new technology was available; how to use it; how to deal with the fear that the digital revolution would mean the end of print; and how to think strategically and prepare for the future in a time of ever increasing disruption.
Now that digital has been fully absorbed into the publishing landscape, the Course has evolved with the times, and, although we continue to cover technological advances and how to use them most effectively, we focus more on developing leadership skills and management techniques and finding new revenue sources.
IP: What’s the biggest change you’ve seen in publishing since 2010?
TW: The move to digital publication and the resulting explosion in self-publishing and the challenges and opportunities afforded by social media. The competition for eyeballs due to the ever-expanding amount of information available presents a challenge affecting both the amount of time readers will spend on books and long-form articles and raises real obstacles in discoverability. At YPC, we discuss how to deal with these issues and how to find new sources of visibility and revenue.
IP: How has the curriculum changed since the course began?
TW: Over the years, the curriculum evolved to incorporate the changes within the industry and respond to feedback from participants about their most pressing concerns. We dove deeper into exploring the issues of the times, and the individual sessions became longer and allowed more time for class discussion and extensive Q&A throughout each sessions.
In the early years of the Course, we had a few sessions conducted by faculty from the Yale School of Management, which were very well received by the participants. We responded to the increasing demand for leadership training by moving the program to the School of Management’s Executive Education division, thereby increasing the number of sessions and workshops conducted by their distinguished faculty. Topics covered included leadership assessment, decision-making, teambuilding, research on social media, fostering innovation, and creativity.
IP: Have there been attendees who have come back year after year? Have you had the chance to watch some publishing careers bloom?
TW: There are always a few attendees who have come to the Course again, especially those who attended in the early years and did not have the exposure to the SOM faculty. And, of course, the sessions by industry experts is revised and updated every year. We keep in touch with past participants, and it is gratifying to see how many of them have advanced in their careers since attending YPC.
IP: What are some of the new programs or features of the course for 2019?
TW: We’re expanding the time spent on fostering innovation and creativity and have added a session on using emotional intelligence in the workplace. There will be more attention paid to the particular challenges facing independent and niche publishers and a greater emphasis on leadership theory and research, presented by the SOM faculty, complemented by real-life experiences of the speakers from publishers of all sizes. We have also expanded the opportunities for the participants to work together in small groups.
IP: What would you tell indie publishers who are considering attending the course this year?
TW: The goal of the Yale Publishing Course has always been—and continues to be—to create an educational experience for mid to senior-level publishing professionals that will inspire and energize them, help them lead their organizations more effectively, and guide them in their careers.
I think YPC is a great opportunity for indie publishers to step away from their day-to-day work environment and spend time viewing the industry and their own careers from a broader perspective. At Yale, they will be exposed to industry thought leaders as well as peers from all over the world. This unique experience will enable them to learn new skills, increase their knowledge of what’s happening in the book industry worldwide, and network with an amazing group of colleagues.
IP: You heard her! Head over to the YPC website to learn more and register for the program!
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Jillian Bergsma Manning is a contributing editor for Independent Publisher. She loves reading and writing but not arithmetic. Follow her on Twitter at @LillianJaine or on her blog at www.editorsays.com.