Once 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!
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!