It’s University Press Week! This year’s theme – “Keep UP!” – marks the tenth anniversary of this important celebration and shines the spotlight on how university presses have evolved over the past decade. As the world changes, so do university presses, adapting subject areas, author lists, and publishing know-how to grow into an ever more diverse, ever more global community. An informed society is as important as ever, and we are proud to showcase the forward-thinking work that has made university presses leaders in their fields and a force to keep up with!
By Natalie Fingerhut
“Anna… what do you think of this proposal?”
“Anna… which of these covers do you like better?
“Anna… my reviewers all say that this book is for course use, but I’m not sure. Can you have a look?”
“Anna… what do you think of this order for the back cover comments?”
Every day, Anna Del Col, the Marketing Manager with whom I work closely at UTP, receives messages like this from me. And every day, she answers my emails, thoughtfully engaging both her intellect and instinct.
“OK Nat, what books are we bringing to the International Congress on Medieval Studies this year?
“We have this amazing new book on witchcraft and magic….”
I can see the wheels turning in Anna’s mind. After a few minutes…
“Tarot cards,” she says. We are going to bring tarot cards and we are going to give them away to promote the book.”
And we did. And our booth was by far the most popular at the Congress because of Anna’s creativity. And the huge pile of Martha Rampton’s European Magic and Witchcraft: A Reader became a “Sold Out” sign. And this was the feedback we received from the series editor after the conference:
“As always, the UTP presentation of books and people at Kalamazoo was superb. I can’t tell you how grateful I am to have Natalie and Anna out front with those books. Thank you, once again. A steady stream of medieval instructors makes their way to the liveliest of all the book booths at the Zoo, and there are dozens of publishers there. These instructors find handsome-looking books and an active and informed sales team. It really has been a joy to watch them move our books and to make those connections that will lead to future classroom orders. UTP has a first-rate reputation, much of it due to this annual appearance at the International Congress and to Natalie and Anna.”
Paul Dutton, Series Editor, Readings in Medieval Cultures and Civilizations
Anna and I have worked together now for 16 years, first at Broadview Press and now at the University of Toronto Press. At Broadview, we both learned how to be creative and innovative and Anna has taken that kind of thinking to a new level at UTP where she is the Marketing Manager, Humanities for the Book Publishing Division.
“Ok, Anna. What are we going to do with this one?” I held up a copy of our brand new textbook, Epidemics and the Modern World by Mitchell Hammond. I was meant to show it off at the January 2020 American Historical Association (AHA) meeting, which occurred just before the pandemic hit North America.
It didn’t take Anna long to come up with the brilliant idea of…
“Hand sanitizer. Everyone likes to clean their hands. We will buy hand sanitizer and put Epidemics covers on them. We can put them in busy areas around the conference like the bathrooms and entrance.”
We got noticed! Big time! People stopped by the booth and complimented us on the marketing campaign. We brought 40 books and were sold out by the end of the second day of the conference.
“I’m really lucky. I work with a brilliant marketing person.” I would say.
Because I work in the Higher Education stream at UTP, I want my books to be sold, but more importantly, I want them to be adopted in sizeable undergraduate courses. Thanks to Anna’s campaign for Epidemics, the book was a top seller for UTP.
(Little did we know just how timely this book or this marketing campaign would become….)
To my fellow editors: If you don’t already, reach out to your Marketing Managers and to their teams. It is one thing for us to publish a good book, but to be read or cited or nominated for awards, editors need to form honest and cooperative relationships with Marketing.
In the last few years, I have added trade acquisitions to my list and specifically books for our new imprints, New Jewish Press and Aevo UTP. Every idea, proposal, and author conversation I run past Anna. Her input gives me a lot of confidence to innovate and try new things… and sometimes… not to try new things.
We recently published a book in our New Jewish Press imprint called Connected Capitalism: How Jewish Wisdom Can Transform Work by David Weitzner. In his chapter, “Transformational Cooperation,” he writes about a work relationship that embodies cooperation, friendship, honesty, and most importantly, trust. The Aramaic word for this relationship is chavrusa from the Hebrew word chaver which means friend. When I work with Anna, I like to think we embody the chavrusa method. She is a true partner in every sense of the word.
Follow the 2021 UP Week Blog Tour by checking out posts on these UP blogs: