Eradicating Legacy Thinking
Before joining Book Business last year, I was the director of graduate publishing programs at Rosemont College. In that job, it was my primary responsibility to develop courses, hire instructors and help shape the curriculum that would allow our students to gain the skills needed for a successful publishing career.
Now, enmeshed as I am in developing sessions and finding speakers for our Publishing Business Conference & Expo (which kicks off around the time you will be receiving this issue), and engaged as I have been in the last 15 months in creating quality content for Book Business and our other publications, I am struck by how similar my new job is to my former job, even though they seem so different on the surface. If I had to distill their similarity into one word, I would call the overlap: training.
Whether I am assigning, writing or editing an article, shaping course curricula, or developing programming for an event, I am creating methods of training people to acquire and utilize new skills. We all, at least periodically, need to build new skills in order to succeed, and training is how we obtain these skills. And since we need to learn them, that means that someone needs to teach them to us.
I was a professor at Rosemont, and I still teach at Drexel University. I am an editor here at NAPCO, and an editor is what I have been throughout my career. In a way, editors are teachers, too. By carefully choosing the content we present, we hope to inform, instruct and enlighten you. We want to contribute to your knowledge base; we want to help shape what you learn. That is the essence and the goal of the content we acquire and present: in our publications and at our events.
There’s a lot of talk in our industry about legacy publishers adapting to new technology and new ways of doing business. Part of the resistance is something I’ll call “legacy thinking.” It’s about doing things the same way and expecting a different result. We all know that doesn’t work. Ending legacy thinking is about breaking out of the comfort zone. It's about learning. And it's about training and re-training.
As it happens, we’ve done a roundup of some of the excellent publishing education programs around the country in this issue, in case you're interested in seeking out some classroom training. And if it's conferences you want, we'll hope to see you at the Publishing Business Conference & Expo, and Porter Anderson provides a guide to the Frankfurt Book Fair in these pages. A number of our other stories also touch on training-related issues. A feature by senior editor Denis Wilson looks at technology changes in the arena of education publishing, and columnist Andrew Brenneman suggests some new ways to successfully develop the application of educational technology.
A feature on “social reading” by John Parsons interviews marketing experts and presents ways to successfully utilize social media. That requires training too—for me, posting on Facebook or tweeting isn't something that comes naturally quite yet. I still need to train myself to remember to do it! I have been getting some comprehensive training recently, along with our new editors, Denis Wilson and Ellen Harvey, on effective and efficient use of Adobe InCopy, the system we use to traffic our manuscripts. Since I tend to be a bit old school when it comes to giving final approval on proofs, and still prefer to do it on paper with a red pen in my hand, this requires some retraining too. These are all ways of eradicating legacy thinking.
I was a professor at Rosemont, and I still teach at Drexel University. I am an editor here at NAPCO, and an editor is what I have been throughout my career. In
There's a lot of talk in our industry about legacy publishers adapting to new technology and new ways of doing business. Part of the resistance is something I'll call "legacy thinking." It's about doing things the same way and expecting a different result. We all know that doesn't work.
Of course, all this successful training requires a reward. To ensure proper positive reinforcement, associate/digital editor Ellen Harvey has written a City Spotlight story which prepares us for a literary pub crawl around Greenwich Village, where we can bend our elbows in the shadows of some literary greats. I’ll hop on board that train for sure! See you there?