My day always starts with email. I usually quickly scan through all new messages when I wake up to see if anything alarming has occurred overnight, but when I arrive in the office I'll go through the new messages one by one.
Yesterday I also completed a number of production orders to send to our warehouse to insruct them where to send out paperback titles. (Paperbacks don't typically get very many reviews, but we still hope for mentions in paperback rounds ups or in articles about related topics.)
I'm in the process of scheduling a couple book tours in January and March 2012, so I followed up with a number of bookstores and lecture venues. I've been in touch with venues since last August, but scheduling tours can be a pretty complicated matter as you wait for venues to get back to you (or not, as is sometimes the case)!
Also, one of my authors will be speaking at a conference in Arizona, so I checked to see if the host had ordered books. I'd contacted Arizona media previously to let them know about his local appearance, but I followed up with them again.
2. Yen, what do you love about being in book publishing? I love being in an intellectual environment in which people care about literature and ideas and learning.
3. Where do you see the industry heading? Digital -- ebooks, enhanced ebooks (with audio and video) and book apps-- will obviously play an increasingly large role as ereaders and tablet devices become more popular. But even as we think about producing digital content, we also need to be thinking about adoption of devices themselves -- what happens when we introduce a book app to the academic community when most teachers and students don't have tablet devices? It's a tricky question for publishers given that we have no control over the development and pricing of devices, but an important issue to consider, I think.
4. How has digital media transformed the book promotion process? It's opened up new channels for us - now in addition to finding out about books via newspapers and magazines and TV / radio interviews, people might read about a book on a blog or on Twitter of Facebook. Of course, the tricky thing is trying to find out exactly how effective all these new channels are - do we sell more books because an author has a terrific Facebook page? Or because a blogger tweeted about how much they loved a new work?
5. How do you help authors use social media to brand themselves? It really depends on the book. For certain books - often fiction but also memoirs and certain types of narrative nonfiction - social media can be more effective because readers really do want to engage with the author. (On the other hand, if an author has written a book about Victorian morals, most readers probably won't have a burning desire to engage in a lively discussion with the writer.)
We help authors understand how to use social media and we also help them set up Facebook pages / Twitter accounts / blogs if they so choose. Authors need to maintain their own accounts in part because we work with way too many authors to be Facebooking / tweeting / blogging for each of them, but also because social media is about engagement and authenticity and readers want to engage with authors ... not with their publicists.