Tools of Change in Publishing: Conference Fee Giveaway

Tools of Change in Publishing: Change/Forward/FastOnce again, Smart Bitches is a media partner for the 2012 O'Reilly Tools of Change Conference, and as part of my media sponsorship, I talk about the conference (which I totally would do anyway because it makes my brain explode with the happy creativity every year). There's a conference! It's brainful.

If you'd like a 15% off discount code for registration, you can visit the TOC website and use code toc12sbtbc.

But there is no denying that Tools of Change, if you are an individual, is an expensive prospect. Conferences like these are not cheap. And so I also have a code good for a complimentary admission to the conference to give away – yay!

ETA: We have a winner! Thanks to the random integer generator, the winner is: Jill ShultzThank you to all who entered, and congrats to Jill!

First, the data and details: Void where prohibited. Must be 18 years of age and in a rowboat to enter.  I am not being compensated for this giveaway. Airfare and hotel accommodations are the responsibility of the winner. The coupon conference code is good for admission to the Tools of Change conference, and does not include sessions that are not included in the basic conference fee. Current value of the conference code is $1,295.00. You can see the conference schedule and hotel information at the Tools of Change website.

Second, if you're an author or someone who is not directly involved in the publication of books, digital or otherwise, why would this conference be of interest? I asked a lot of those same questions to Kat Meyer, who is one of the conference chairs, and behold, nosy interview!

Who is ToC for? Is there an ideal attendee? 

Meyer: TOC is for anyone interested in delving deep into where content creation and distribution is today, and where it's likely headed. Ideal attendees are professionals from publishing and other media — and there's plenty on the program to inform and interest all the players in the ecosystem: authors, developers, designers, CEOs, CTOs, editors, production people, supply chain professionals, librarians, booksellers… the program is wide and deep.


What sessions are you SO OMG SUPER HOLY COW excited about this year?

Meyer: Session wise I am OMG SUPER DUPER HOLY COW about a panel session moderated by Peter Brantley called “The Library Alternative” – the panelists are stellar. A gathering of some great thinkers on the challenges facing libraries today, and what can be done about them. It's one I wish we could devote an entire day to.

Also very excited about “Real World Agile” with Joe Wikert and Dominique Raccah moderated by Brett Sandusky. Sure, we've heard from these guys before, but this is the trifecta of agile publishing experts. And, by experts – I mean they apply agile methods every day in their publishing worlds and they are going to share some very solid info aimed straight at publishers.

I'd also recommend a really practical (but if you're an ebook nerd – pretty hot) session with Sanders Kleinfeld and Adam Witwer offering a view from the front lines on KF8 and iTunes Author.

Lastly (hardly – but if I go on I'll end up just reciting the entire program)I would be remiss to not mention the “Innovators' Track” — a reprise of a very successful track we did last October at TOC Frankfurt where we paired innovators from across the publishing spectrum to demo and discuss the cool things they are up to. Each of these four sessions features two publishing innovators whose work explore themes ranging from “repurposing existing assets” to “new ways to sell.” Highly recommend that whole track – but worth a stop in to at least one of those sessions on Wednesday.



One highlight I look forward to is the keynotes where folks share their projects. I remember watching Neelan Choksi presenting about Stanza and within a year knowing so many people with Stanza on their phones. What keynotes might provide brain-liftoff this year?

Meyer: A la Neelan's demo, I can hint at some pretty exciting stuff from Matt McInnis of Inkling. And, just along the lines of really good messaging at a crucial time in our industry – LeVar Burton's opening keynote promises to be very inspiring. And, because if anyone can do this, O'Reilly can – we've got a super brainiac closing keynote from Roger Magoulas on what Big Data means for publishing.


If an author, perhaps published, perhaps self-published, had the opportunity to attend, what would you recommend for them? 

Meyer: Authors seeking to understand the quickly altering book sales landscape will want to catch The Changing Face of Retail Bookselling. Mark Johson from Zite will be discussing how the “discovery” of books has changed (something authors should definitely learn as much as they can about) at What Should I Read? A Brief History of Recommendations. Kristen McLean's Beyond “Discovery”—Understanding The True Potential Of An Insight-oriented Publishing Environment is a good overview general session on the new digital publishing ecosystem for authors.

I'd also urge YA authors to attend Creating A Strong Youth Media Brand.

For children's book authors, Nat Sims is leading a session The Future of Education is Touch on how the touch-enabled tablet is the future for kids' content (he's both a developer for apps such as Hungry Hungry Caterpillar AND a developmental psychologist). And for non-fiction authors, Kobo's Michael Tamblyn will be sharing some great info on what seems to work for digital nonfiction sales: Cracking the Nonfiction Code.

As important as the sessions at TOC, attending authors will want to make the most of all of our networking opportunities. It's an incredibly welcoming and helpful group of attendees we gather together each year, and authors will have access to some of the brightest and best from the media and publishing world. We've got a number of parties, receptions, and special events where there'll be ample time to mix and mingle.


How has ToC grown each year?

Meyer: ToC has maintained sell-out status for past five years. What has changed, growth-wise, are the other TOC events we've added to the yearly schedule. We've expanded our event at Frankfurt Book Fair both in numbers attending TOC Frankfurt, and in workshops during Frankfurt Book Fair itself; we co-produced the Books in Broswers event with the Internet Archive; we are going into our second year of TOC at Bologna Children's Book Fair; we have done and have planned regional US “mini TOC's” (look for us at SxSW March 9 and Chicago April 9+10); and will be launching TOC's at Buenos Aires Book Fair and Spain's LIBER Fair this year. Along with that, we have bulked up our online event offerings, are now publishing a growing line of TOC-themed ebooks; commissioned research papers; and are partnered with Publishers Weekly (expect to hear more news from that area soon). So, as we grow to meet the needs of a global content industry, we are dedicated to building upon the TOC foundation of open-ness, inclusiveness, and bringing the best of the best to our community.

Thank you to Kat for answering all my nosy questions. So, you interested? To enter to win, tell me which session you'd most like to attend, or what you'd most like to learn from attending Tools of Change in Publishing. Winner will be selected by random drawing at noon eastern on Monday 6 February. Good luck! 



Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    leelabisht says:

    This is spectacular! Simply put i appreciate reading your written content everytime I get feed alarm.

  2. 2
    leelabisht says:

    Thanks for taking the time to discuss that, I really feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic.

  3. 3
    leelabisht says:

    Thanks for another informative site. Where else could I get that type of information written in such an ideal way.

  4. 4

    I’d love to go to TOC! I work as a production editor for a trade publisher in Boston, mostly on print but dabbling in digital, and I’d love to steer my career in that direction. I’m most interested in the “Make” track, looking for ways to push our (pretty basic) ePubs into the awesome category. I’m also keen to do some networking, meeting the folks from my twitter feed IRL. Travel budgets are tight at my company, so getting funds to attend is a nonstarter. I hope I win!

  5. 5

    Hi Sarah! Going to TOC would be an absolutely huge win for me, as I am currently in transition from a career in traditional publishing to (hopefully) a career in digital publishing. I live in San Francisco, which is seeing some interesting leaps in digital publishing, but it seems like very few companies around here have cracked the code on how to properly market and create a presence for their books—particularly those who are not affiliated with one of the Big 6. Which is why Best Practices Planning and Launching New Digital Products is one of the sessions that interests me most (although the Reading Rainbow nerd in me is also super-exicted about LeVar Burton’s keynote!). I’ve been living off of a freelancer’s income for the last six months, so winning an entry would be absolutely amazing as I make the next steps in my career.

  6. 6
    Becca says:

    I would so love to go to TOC – I’m a student in technical writing, and am in love with the ebook world – much of my sample writing for class relates to ebooks, particularly calibre (I love love love that program).  I don’t know where my career will take me, but i hope it has something to do with publishing and ebooks.

  7. 7
    Tina Sicre says:

    Ha, there are just too many sessions that I want to go to! 

    My interest in TOC is two part:  by day, I work for a small company with a national brand, developing content for an online educational resource sold into K-12 schools.  I am currently working with a team to produce eBooks and mobile apps that will serve teachers, students and their parents in a more engaging learning environment.  It’s exciting stuff, especially with all of the new technologies and platforms available.  There is so much we can do with existing and evolving content to enhance the learning experience, and I want to contribute.  In this arena, I am especially interested in “The Future of Education is Touch.”

    But that is only part of it.  By night, I am a songwriter and (more recently) contemporary romance author.  I am currently finishing up a novel which includes a full original soundtrack.  My vision is to bring the two together in an enhanced eBook format whereby the reader can enjoy the songs inspired by the love story.  I would enjoy the opportunity to learn more about the formats that would bring the project together, as well as to develop partnerships to bring it to market.  As you can imagine, I’d be very interested in the session, “Enriching the Reader Experience with Digital Content:  How Atria Books Connected to Readers,” but would benefit overall from the Make Sessions.

    Thank you for your consideration, Sarah.  I look forward to your announcing the winner.  What a great opportunity for any of us.

  8. 8
    Jill Shultz says:

    Thank you for a wonderful opportunity, Sarah. I’d be most interested in attending Mark Johson’s talk on discoverability and the innovator’s track. But I’ve found that the best conferences always surprise me, and the most valuable experiences are often the serendipitous ones, so I try to approach such events with an open mind.

  9. 9
    Jill Shultz says:

    I just looked over the whole schedule and noticed that Anne-Marie Concepcion is offering an session. If I have the chance to attend, I will throw roses at her feet and then shake her hand and blubber. Well, I’d probably start blubbering as soon as I saw her. I took two of her online workshops through; they were fabulous. She’s a great teacher with a nice personality. Kind of person who can’t wait to share a cool new trick with you.

    I’ve already posted before, so please don’t count this as a contest entry if you want people to only enter once. I just had to point out Anne-Marie’s session.

  10. 10

    I work for a scholarly resource (JSTOR) and we are preparing to launch our own book platform later this year.  My colleagues and I have little to no familiarity with the e-book market and current trends.  I was able to attend a few sessions related to e-books at ALA Midwinter, but I know I am going to need more knowledge in my toolbox. Concepts like ownership, copyright, and mobile platforms are questions we will encounter from our participant (customer) base, and I want to be ready to answer them.  Although I work in the academic book market and this conference appears to be geared for trade publication, I do feel there is knowledge here that I can take back to my department. 

    Sessions of interest include:

    1) Kaplan Mobile: A Case Study In Mobile Content Delivery And Data-focused Product Development
    2) Consumer Attitudes Toward E-Book Reading
    3) How Consumers Discover Books Online
    4) Tapping Into The Global Library Market In Today’s Digital World For Creating A Right And Successful Strategy
    5) CONNECTING Content With Readers Worldwide
    6) Enriching the Reader Experience with Digital Content: How Atria Books Connected to Readers

    #4 and #5 are of particular interest to me since I coordinate sales for Europe.  I would love to know what the trends are in electronic books overseas.

  11. 11

    Either of the workshops about discovery are of great interest to me. My first two books are coming out this fall (one with Kensington and one with Harlequin) and I’m overwhelmed with the possibilities in trying to figure out how to help readers find me. What publicitity is worth spending my modest advance money on? That’s what I’d hope to learn if I went to ToC.

    Thank you for this opportunity, Sarah!

  12. 12
    elle says:

    “Nat Sims is leading a session The Future of Education is Touch on how the touch-enabled tablet is the future for kids’ content (he’s both a developer for apps such as Hungry Hungry Caterpillar AND a developmental psychologist). And for non-fiction authors, Kobo’s Michael Tamblyn will be sharing some great info on what seems to work for digital nonfiction sales: Cracking the Nonfiction Code.”

    I’m really interested in the intersection of technology and books as it relates to teaching and learning. All of the sessions listed sound interesting though and as a writer as well as atech fiend, I’d make definite plans to hear as many speakers as possible!


  13. 13
    CartoUnion says:

    Wow, Sarah, this is very fantastic. Didn’t get to DBW this year and would LOVE to get to TOC (but thanks for the extensive tweets from DBW!). Most of my pub time these days is spent finding ways to adapt older content to new formats – some that my company publishes and some that we white-label for others to publish – as well as working with publishers to create content in the most flexible way so that it can be adapted to multiple formats (mostly in education). There seems to be interest in everything from the most basic versions/conversions to the most highly interactive ebook apps to drive new revenue steams.

    I also have a side interest. My wife published a game for schools a few years ago and we have now also authored and illustrated (she wrote, I illustrated) – but not yet published – a children’s book on coping with the loss of a pet. I can see so many ways to make it interactive and enhance the experience for the child.

    The sessions that are SO OMG SUPER HOLY COW are the ones that focus on the Make and the Marketing and what’s new and cool – but really, there are SO many and it is ALL so relevant.

    Sessions like “Beyond Discovery”, “The Future of Education is Touch”, “Renovating Print Assets for Digital Publishing”, “What Works Well Where?”, “Enriching the Reader Experience…”

    ePub, HMTL5, KF8, iBooks oh my!

    Thank you. Who ever wins is super lucky and will be most appreciative.

  14. 14
    SB Sarah says:

    ETA: We have a winner! Thanks to the random integer generator, the winner is: Jill Shultz! Thank you to all who entered, and congrats to Jill!

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