There are fewer barriers today to writing and publishing books than ever. But the process can still be daunting and intimidating, especially in finding an agent and then working with a publishing house, as opposed to self-publishing. That’s where there is value in events such as the recent 6th Annual Washington Writers Conference, at the College Park Marriott Hotel and Conference Center in College Park, Md. Besides ample opportunities for networking and learning about craft, many people also registered for brief “pitch sessions” with agents.
Spending an entire day learning from and interacting with writers is exhilarating, and an extended serendipity opportunity.
It’s taken me several days to collect, curate, and organize my thoughts about my experience at the AWP/Association of Writers & Writing Programs Conference & Bookfair, held last week at the Tampa Convention Center. I met interesting people, discovered writers I had known nothing about previously, and learned many new things about writing, editing and publishing.
Here are 9 takeaways to get you interested in AWP as an organization, and in learning more about the writers, editors and organizations that made the conference a success:
1. The Bookfair is a world unto itself. There were around 400 booths or tables in the exhibit hall.
If it’s really the most wonderful time of the year, one reason must be the publication of so many books of the year lists. As in past years, I have collected and curated some of the most informative lists for my year-end post. The amount and quality of these books is breathtaking. And it’s safe to say that many other noteworthy books did not make these lists, but are still worthy of attention. Here are 17 of the top lists, business-focused and otherwise, for 2017:
The Bloomberg list is particularly intriguing, as it’s a survey of recommendations from major names in the business world, including Glenn Hubbard, Dean of the Columbia Business School (the above-mentioned Janesville: An American Story, by Amy Goldstein); Marc Andreessen, software pioneer/venture capitalist (Extreme Ownership: How U.S.
Soaring executive pay. The future of health care. Disappearing manufacturing jobs. Information overload. These are all hot button topics today. They were also subjects written about by Peter Drucker during the mid-1970s to early 1980s, as shown in his 1982 book The Changing World of the Executive. While Drucker contributed to many publications on a regular basis, and published a number of collections of his writings, as I wrote about last year in my post “Peter Drucker: Freelance Writer,” this anthology came primarily from his columns written for the Wall Street Journal between 1975 and 1981.
Although the original book had gone out of print, The Changing World of the Executive was reissued in 2010 by Harvard Business Review Press, as part of its series “The Drucker Library.” Drucker divides the book into five sections: Executive Agenda, Business Performance, The Non-Profit Sector, People at Work, and the Changing Globe.
BK is unique, for many reasons. Publishers Weekly recently ran a feature story that captures some of the magic, while outlining some of BK’s new releases and initiatives. Steve Piersanti, the founder/President/Publisher, has posted an informative “Letter from the Publisher: On Berrett-Koehler’s 25th Anniversary.” On Steve’s BK site page, the company is described as a “leading independent publisher of progressive books on current affairs, personal growth, and business and management.” For an idea of just how progressive and unique BK is, read the new Berrett-Koehler Constitution.
It’s time for one of my favorite yearly rituals, curating a list of some of the best summer reading lists from a wide variety of sources. Although this compilation has considerable coverage of business/leadership/management books, there are also many other nonfiction and fiction titles. One of the things I like about some of the lists is that they include older titles along with newer ones. There is also a good mixture of books from both major and independent presses.
Few people can match the productive, inspiring and extremely useful life of Richard Nelson Bolles, who died March 31 at 90. He was the source of countless careers, via the wise counsel in his annual job-seeking bible, What Color is Your Parachute? What began in 1970 as a self-published text, not long after he had been an out-of-work Episcopal minister, grew into a publishing behemoth that has sold more than 10 million copies in its various editions, with a number of spinoff titles. After Bolles’ initial do-it-yourself approach, the book was picked up in 1972 by Ten Speed Press, then a tiny operation that eventually was sold to the publishers now known as Penguin Random House, in 2009.
The 15th Annual BK Authors Retreat, held Oct 27-30 in Northern California, was a time of reflection and soul-searching; balancing individual with organizational/collective concerns. It prompted thoughts about career and personal aspirations, and where the writing of books and the business of promoting and selling them fits in.
The retreat is produced by an extraordinary group of people: Berrett-Koehler Authors Inc., which is affiliated with Berrett-Koehler Publishers. BK celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2017 and is a company like no other. As stated on its website, “Berrett-Koehler is an independent publisher with the mission of connecting people and ideas to create a world that works for all.” Several days after the retreat, it announced its new constitution.