Interacting with university presses at a huge conference to our mutual benefit
December 8, 2009 4:24 PM   Subscribe

I'm an author, and I have a great job helping my fellow faculty members publish their books with university presses. Through this job I visit presses one-on-one sometimes, but that is expensive and involves major travel. A huge conference is coming up with 20 of our target presses in attendance, each at a booth. What is the best way to contact them pre-conference to arrange intelligent, mutually meaningful interaction? Should I write to the directors themselves, or is there a more grassroots way to poll university press staffs to get a feel for who wants to meet and discuss their take on scholarly publishing? And what's in this for them, other than the fact that my university is reasonably high on the prestige scale? Any other benefit to them?
posted by anonyme to Education (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
A lot of the details provided in the question aren't really relevant and a lot of details that would be helpful aren't there (do you already have professional relationships with most of these people?).

Is it a several day conference? Email people (directors or staff, whoever you'd normally meet with in your one-on-one travels) beforehand and invite them out to lunch or dinner in small groups. Or one-on-one if whatever your discussing is sort of private.

What's the best way to contact them? Email
Is there a more grassroots way? No idea
What's in it for them? food + your conversation
posted by pseudonick at 4:46 PM on December 8, 2009

More questions than answers: Is this by chance the APA conference in NYC 12/27-30? I'm unclear as to what it is you're trying to do: are you shopping around manuscript(s) for yourself or others? Are you acting as an agent? Are you just fishing for general information? Why would you contact UP directors about what sounds like editorial input? UP Directors are not involved in most manuscript acquisition or editorial decisions. I think you need to be more specific about what it is you are hoping to accomplish.
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 5:12 PM on December 8, 2009

Best answer: I agree with HP LaserJet that we need more information about what you're hoping to accomplish with these contacts. What kind of information or benefit are you seeking from them? How do you imagine this conversation being "mutually meaningful"?

One suggestion off the top of my head: the editors and other publishers' reps who end up staffing the booths at conventions like APA, AHA, MLA, etc. are usually stuck in their little booths inside windowless hotel ballrooms all day long, with only brief breaks. Taking them out to lunch probably isn't going to work, because they can't take 1-2 hours away from the booth. But perhaps you could bring them coffee or other small goodies if you visit them in their booths.
posted by Orinda at 8:28 PM on December 8, 2009

I disagree with the suggestion that you e-mail. Are these directors people who are likely to communicate with a lot of people and receive a lot of solicitations? I know that my work e-mail can usually be grouped into two categories: e-mails about projects that I'm working on; solicitations. If I'm overloaded, the project e-mails get priority, and the solicitations may gather dust for a while. Phone calls, meanwhile, are still relatively rare, and require a higher level of mental engagement.

You should call, and the people you should call are the directors of these presses. Tell them who you are, what you do, and what you're interested in discussing. And ask if they would be willing to join you, or if there's someone else in the organization who you could meet with during the conference.

Don't worry about making a case for what's in it for them. It doesn't matter what's in it for them. They'll either meet with you or they won't, and if you don't ask it will never happen.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 9:26 PM on December 8, 2009

« Older Duct tape and chickenwire and sh**   |   Songs about redemption *other* than "Redemption... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.