IBPA Member Spotlight: Boys Town Press’ Erin Green
Thursday, August 15, 2019
Posted by: Christopher Locke
Boys Town Press’ Erin Green Wins IBPA's Annual Scholarship to the Yale Leadership Strategies in Publishing Course and Returns with Valuable Lessons
|Boys Town Press' Erin Green (middle) attended the Yale Leadership Strategies in Publishing Course July 28-August 2, 2019 on an IBPA-provided scholarship. She is pictured here with Lisa Kammert (left), Senior Director, Client & Curriculum Development at Yale School of Management and Tina Weiner (right), Founding Director of Yale Publishing Course.
For the second year in a row, IBPA was pleased to partner with the Yale School of Management to offer full tuition to the prestigious Yale Leadership Strategies in Book Publishing Course. This year’s recipient was IBPA member Erin Green who is the Director of Boys Town Press, the publishing division of Boys Town, a national nonprofit dedicated to caring for children and families.
The Yale Leadership Strategies in Book Publishing Course occurred July 28 – August 2, 2019. IBPA was excited to talk to Erin about her experience in the program. Here's what she had to say.
IBPA: What interested you in participating in the Yale Leadership Strategies in Book Publishing Course?
Erin Green (EG): The title is what first drew me in, then I read the description. To have the opportunity to learn from industry experts as well elite-level professors at Yale School of Management is tremendous. Add to that the chance to hear from and network with international publishing industry professionals, and it would be difficult to not be excited about the opportunity!
IBPA: Overall, how did the course go?
EG: The course was outstanding. There was a lot of fantastic information and practical strategies shared, and I think even the most tenured among us left with key takeaways to implement!
IBPA: Can you describe a basic overview of the course?
EG: The course ran from Sunday evening through mid-day on Friday. Classroom time generally ran 8:30am – 5pm, with several evening activities. There were 55 people in the class, representing a multitude of publishers—size, type, and audience. Participants came from all over the world, with 14 countries represented!
|Yale Leadership Strategies in Publishing Course's 2019 class photo.
IBPA: Can you share three things you learned during the course that you will now implement for Boys Town Press?
EG: This is tough, because there are so many large-scale concepts and processes that were discussed that I am taking back to my team for in-depth exploration. But a few key takeaways from experts that I am including in our strategies and planning are:
- Stop viewing other publishers as competitors. Our goal as publishers is to get (and keep) people reading. The competitors to this process are anything that takes attention away from reading—not other publishers.
- Redefine how we view digital space. Create a space for people to gather and share information about us, our products, and the learnings gained through our products.
- When it comes to leading a successful publishing house, four things matter: people, product, platform, and process. Invest and balance your investment in these four areas.
IBPA: Do you have any advice for publishers who apply for IBPA's scholarship to the Yale Leadership Strategies in Publishing course in years to come?
EG: The tenure of participants in this course varied from a few years to many, but each person’s unique perspective added value to the overall course experience. I would say that about half the course covered overall leadership strategies (not just for publishing), and the other half covered more direct publishing strategies (presented by publishing industry experts). In order to gain the most out of this course, I think the publisher should have a frame of reference of having been in the industry for at least a couple of years, and having published 10 or more books.
IBPA: Can you list three key lessons you’ve learned about how one can succeed as an independent publisher?
- You have to believe in the works you’re publishing. It’s typical to have several “duds” mixed in with your occasional publishing “hits.” But it’s much easier to promote and sell a product in which you believe than something you might be publishing to meet a predetermined number.
- Stay agile. Try not to get stuck in the way you’ve always done things, because the industry is always changing. You can evolve along with it (and even hopefully get in front of it), or you can try to wait it out. One of these options is more likely to have a better outcome than the other.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help! There is a wealth of experience and expertise out there, and people who are willing to share that with you. But you need to take the tough first step and ask.
IBPA: How has it been beneficial to you to be a member of Independent Book Publishers Association?
EG: As a member of IBPA our team has been able to attend low-cost, informative Publishing University Online webinars. We read the IBPA Independent magazine regularly. We’ve benefitted by being featured on occasion for our successes as a Member Spotlight article. We’ve been able to call on IBPA to give us recommendations when we’re outsourcing services. We’ve marketed through IBPA. We’ve leveraged IBPA partnerships to represent us during large conferences and book fairs. And of course our participation allowed me to apply for and attend the Yale Publishing Course!
|Boys Town Press' upcoming title, But What If They Had? by David S Young, EdS, and Erin Green, MS
IBPA: Thank you, Erin, for sharing your experience and insight from the course!
Boys Town Press has multiple products coming out soon, two of which are But What If They Had? by David S Young, EdS, and Erin Green, MS on August 20 and The Great Compromise by Julia Cook and illustrated by Kyle Merriman on September 3.
Click here to learn more about Boys Town Press!
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