This morning we heard from Morgan Entrekin, publisher at Grove/Atlantic, a midsized independent publisher. Independents have grown significantly in the last 25 years or so, benefiting from (close your ears, indie bookstores) the explosion of Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, etc. This trend, he said, has put smaller publishers on an even playing field with the publishing giants. Previously, small companies lacked enough of a sales force to effectively sell books to stores across the country. Now, they can meet with four or five buyers and cover most of their consumers.
Next was a presentation by career counselor Ellen Reeves. She is without a doubt the most straightforward and effective person I've ever heard give advice. So many things to mention... but you should just check out her book, Can I Wear My Nose Ring to the Interview? It answers virtually every question a person entering the job force out of college would think to ask.
This evening, we had the opportunity to ask questions of Elizabeth Straut, who won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for her book of interrelated short stories, Olive Kitteridge. This was especially cool because Olive is a book I came across at S&S UK last year (though it's under Random House over here). Rather than concern herself with publicity specifics and book reviews, Straut focuses almost entirely on the content and quality of her writing. When a book flops, she's disappointed that she doesn't get to spread her message to readers. She said she didn't even know she was up for the Prize, and it came as a complete surprise. It was nice to hear from someone on the writing side of publishing, and to come across a person with an unconventional view of success.
Fun fact: 80% of all jobs are "hidden" (not advertised publicly)
Quote of the day: "Try not to be the person who states the obvious with a sense of discovery."
Books to add to my ever-growing must-read list: How I Became a Famous Novelist (spoof on publishing by a 30 Rock writer), Olive Kitteridge, Amy and Isobel, something John Updike, something Sarah Vowel