The week of February 10th to the 14th was a truly incredible week for me. It was the fifth annual Emerging Leaders Publishing Summit, and my second year attending. The entire week is full of networking and learning from a wide variety of presenters within the publishing industry. There were publishers, marketers, and editors from one of the biggest publishing companies in North America let alone the world, a panel of authors, independent publishers, book retail representatives, SFU faculty from the publishing program, the Masters of Publishing students, and a little sadly, the only two under graduate students including me and a good friend. It was actually kind of a sweet realization for my friend and I because attending our second summit was also our one-year “friendiversary”. We met last year, again being two of the only undergrads, and have been really good friends since. So the two years of attending the summit not only have been an amazing opportunity to learn way more about the industry, but I made a lifelong friend as well.
I didn’t realize my first time around that each year had a theme to it, so last year was media in publishing, and this year it was data. I usually am the farthest from a numbers person which includes data, but when it comes to books I am completely in for anything. We learned such demographics as what age range, gender and region have the highest number of readers, what kind of genres they read, in what format and how much they spend on books. I really enjoyed learning this kind of data, numbers I can definitely get behind!
We also got to do a lot of one-on-one mentor meets, where we can have a conversation with any of the presenters about anything to do with the publishing industry. I love this part of the summit because you get to learn about their personal experiences and journeys through the publishing industry, and they give really great advice and tips. I was especially excited to talk with the VP of marketing and editing from Simon and Schuster, since due to a snow day last year I never got to talk to them. Those are two positions I am interested in within the industry, and I was so happy to get to talk with them and learn so much about those specific areas. The head of publishing at S&S also said he would send me a signed copy of a novel from my favourite Canadian historical fiction author, which is incredibly generous and kind of him.
Overall I felt very lucky to get the chance to return and attend the summit. It is a extremely busy, intense, exhausting week, but every minute is worth it! If you ever get the chance to go, do not pass it up!