To: Sage House Staff From: Patrick Garrison, Data Processing Manager Subject: New Press-wide Database
The PWDB¹ has now been transmitted in final form to Bob Oeste for AllBooks². Our database has now been frozen in time. Full search capability remains, but nothing can be changed. It is what it is, for the ages to come. Goodbye old friend, along with your good buddy CIS³. Change, the inevitable, irresistible force of the Universe, has caught up with you both.
To paraphrase Shakespeare:
Our revels now are ended. These our databases, As I foretold you, were all spirits and Are melted into air, into thin air: And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, The inventory reports, the price change worksheets, The solemn reworking of the PWDB, the great mission of the Press itself, Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, Leave not a dust jacket behind. We are such stuff As dreams are made on, and our little life Is rounded with a sleep.
And when we wake, we will find All Books waiting for us, in a forest of Long Leaves4. In another year, we will not think it so long in coming.
What if we’re missing the real revolution of Print on Demand?
Think about it. With POD we could:
Make almost real-time edits and updates to a book
Feed content from a blog or website straight into a book
Create a system for marginalia printed in a book
Change content based on critique
Change a cover to suit audience taste more easily
Personalize every copy of a book
Why would we want to use print books in this way? Isn’t it better to simply allow digital platforms to handle this kind of change? On some level, absolutely. Print books can’t do what digital ones do; they can’t be changed or edited in real time. But what if we tried to mimic the digital experience as closely as we can in print books? How would that affect how we perceive the printed book? In other words, it’s time to flip the print-to-digital paradigm on its head and see if we can apply some digital-like assets to a printed product. Continue reading “DOC MARTYN’S SAGE MARKETING: Shifting the POD Paradigm”→
My colleagues and I at Cornell University Press were saddened to learn that Susan Christopherson, Professor and Chair of City and Regional Planning at Cornell, died on Wednesday, December 14. In the obituary posted on the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning website, her faculty colleagues celebrate her excellent research and writing, her commitment to equity in our communities, and her tireless work as an administrator, teacher, and mentor. At the Press my colleagues and I saw those qualities of mind and character displayed in her role as a fair and exacting referee on book manuscripts. My predecessor, Peter Wissoker, and I benefited greatly from her dedication to supporting projects that brought theoretical innovation to grounded research as we built a list of titles in that melded political economy approaches to geography with urban studies. Susan was an indispensable and savvy critic, and a champion of worthy projects in the rough that needed just a little more editorial attention. When my energy flagged on a book she cared about, Susan would jump in and revive the project and push both editor and author to work a bit harder. I cannot imagine a better partnership between editor and faculty member. Susan will be missed be me and by my future authors.
Michael McGandy is a Senior Editor at Cornell University Press.
Steve Zeitlin, in The Poetry of Everyday Life, helps us to maximize our capacity for fulfillment and expression by tapping into the beauty and meaning inherent in everyday life.
In our “place moment” blog post we discussed some of the specific ways Zeitlin prompts his writing students to access their inner expressive selves—their “everyday poet”—and how these prompts can begin to make poetry accessible to those who may not otherwise believe they have the capacity to write creatively.
We at Cornell University Press believe that Zeitlin’s book can be a valuable tool for our local educators, not only to teach the practice of writing, but also to bring forward our community’s stories and therefore its identity. To that end, we’re planning to donate ten copies of his book to our favorite local educators and educational nonprofits.
Help us take part in this campaign to give back to our community! Quote-tweet any of our #PlaceMoment tweets by mentioning who you think should receive our contest prize: ten copies of Zeitlin’s book to use for their work. We suggest these organizations listed below, but you can nominate a worthy nonprofit in your own community.
After tweeting your choice, you will have created one entry for that organization to be selected at random to win. You must be following @CornellPress to enter. We reserve the right to grant prizes to multiple organizations. The contest will end December 23rd, 2016. Please contact us if you have any questions!
Alexis (Lexie) Farabaugh is an intern at Cornell University Press who loves to photosynthesize in the spring. Follow her on Twitter @lexievirginia.
Book editors are notorious for having too much to read and edit, running behind schedule, and, generally, holding up brilliant work that should have been published yesterday. Whether we are seen as imperious gatekeepers whose ways remain hidden behind in-house processes or as antiquated bureaucrats dithering at our desks, there is a general sense that authors as well as readers are unfairly beholden to our jam-packed schedules.
There is some truth to those assessments, of course. And of late I have been keenly aware of these critical (and sometimes contemptuous) evaluations of the work of editors. Coming back to my desk after six weeks of personal leave, and facing hundreds of emails and tens of overdue commitments, has reminded me of how many people are waiting, some patiently and some less so, on word from me about their book projects.
There is a sense of timeliness that is about the inherent quality of the work—the time a work needs and not what the events of our times might mean for its reception and relevance.
I have also been reflecting on the whole idea of the timeliness of books and the time that it takes to make books, particularly excellent books. Recent political events have turned over lots of publishing ideas with once-important books fated for irrelevancy on their first day of sale on Amazon, and editors and authors chasing after the new hot topic associated with the Trump presidency. Timeliness is, indeed, fickle. Continue reading “Outbox: What makes a book timely?”→
Reading is power, because knowledge gives us the tools to think more widely about the things that confront us on a daily basis. In the aftermath of the presidential election many thousands of think pieces, blogs, articles, and much more have been written to rejoice, despair, cajole, criticize, and much else. Many of us read those pieces with minds perhaps already formed, or perhaps not completely open to new ideas. Such an approach is understandable; we seek out information that fits how we view the world or how we wish to view it. We don’t always seek out knowledge that pushes the boundaries of what we already perceive.
One of my jobs as marketing director is to introduce people to new information. Essentially, every time my team and I start marketing a new book we must seek a way to get someone to engage with content that they might not know about, be immediately interested in, or consider within the scope of their desire to know. Every book has a core audience, of course. Each author has written his or her book with that audience in mind. But there are often also audiences that do not immediately seem applicable. It is our job as marketers to find those people so that we can introduce them to the content and, we hope, expand their view of the world. Continue reading “Doc Martyn’s Sage Marketing: Reading is Power”→
The Poetry of Everyday Life, by Steve Zeitlin, hit the stores this month. The book is a lovely meditation on the nooks and crannies of daily life where poetic moments are nestled. Throughout the book the reader meets poets who have captured and paid homage to those moments. A few weeks ago I got to hear some of those poets in person as they read from the book in a lively and jam-packed book party on the Lower East Side in Manhattan at City Lore, where Steve is founding director.
One night I had a dream in which I tried to navigate the narrative of my dream using the Word toolbars (both Standard and Formatting).
We manuscript editors spend our days with manuscripts and page proofs, e-mail and monitors; some of us don’t get out much, or at least as often as some of our colleagues in other departments. One night I had a dream in which I tried to navigate the narrative of my dream using the Word toolbars (both Standard and Formatting). So I thought, when you get an opportunity to attend an event for a book you got to know really well during the editing and production process and see what actually happens when it hits the world, along with a chance to get down to the city, it is a good idea to seize it! Continue reading “The Deer Is OK”→
“The places we care about are baskets that hold the perishable fruits of memory and experience. Take a notebook out to the places that you love, those places that are lush with low-hanging fruit. The moments when you encounter them mark the times when the experience is ripe for you. Savor them.” —Steve Zeitlin
Have you done it? Have you gone back to those places you once held close? Have you explored new places?
First impressions certainly do count for a lot, but they are just first impressions. I’ve found myself thinking about this during my first week at Cornell UP.
You cannot help but have a positive first impression when you arrive at Sage House, home of the Press and namesake of this blog. The old house is beautiful; I’d be surprised if there are too many other university presses with prettier digs. The house is populated with a fun, lively, creative, and intelligent team. I’ve been impressed with everyone’s excitement about the task of creating books. There is genuine pride in what we do here and that has been apparent to me from the first moment.
You cannot help but have a positive first impression when you arrive at Sage House, home of the Press and namesake of this blog.
I’ve enjoyed meeting my fellow marketers, all of whom bring a wealth of experience to the role they play. As the newbie, it’s fun to be taxed and challenged by what they know and how they work. I think we have the foundation for some really inspired and (I hope) inspiring marketing to come in the next few months and years.
But first impressions are simply that. In one week I cannot begin to fathom the inner workings, details, and processes of the oldest university press in the country. That realization is not negative. What it means is that there is so much more to come, so much more to flesh out upon the raw bones of the information I’ve received in my first week. I tweeted this week about trying to learn everything as quickly as possible. But that was on Twitter where I can be a little cheeky. There’s no way I can learn everything in a week, nor would I want to. But what I have found from these first impressions is the sense that my role here as marketing director is going to be fascinating.
Marketing is an ever-changing field, so it naturally requires one to continually grow lest we become stale and old-fashioned. As I discern more about what happens here, what works well, and so on, I’m also conscious that we have to keep evolving and keep trying new things and keep pushing ourselves to find the best way to tell our story to as many people as possible.
At first glance, Cornell UP is going to be a fun place to work—perhaps the most important thing to me in a job—because the people here are primed and ready to take the Press to new heights. So if you catch me standing on the third-floor balcony from time to time, gazing out over the beautiful view of Ithaca below me, it’s simply because I’ve already been lifted up this high and now I’m straining to see what’s next.
Martyn Beeny is the Marketing Director at Cornell University Press. No one told him the streets in Ithaca were so steep! Follow him on Twitter @MartynBeeny