Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Future of Publishing

Dear Readers,

As you may know, I have a book contract with HarperCollins experimental imprint, Harper Studio. I signed the deal over the Holiday season and began writing The Savvy Auntie Guide to Life soon after.

You may have heard the news today that the publisher of the imprint, Bob Miller, has left HarperCollins and Harper Studio. My book is still in contract and there is no doubt that it will be published as scheduled.

The news however gives me the opportunity to talk about Debbie Stier, SVP and Associate Publisher at Harper Studio. Debbie and I met on Twitter, having heard about each other from mutual social media industry friends. I think we bonded over the amazing kids from Tanzania on Twitter. Within days of our first tweet, I was having lunch in Debbie's midtown office and after about an hour, we decided on our book.

It's our book indeed. Debbie has been mentoring me, guiding me and inspiring me since the day we met. While I am relatively new to the publishing industry, I am confident that I have partnered with the best possible publisher for my brand and more importantly for my audience - you dear readers.

The publishing industry -- like many industries housed in spectacular buildings stacked next to each other row by row in New York City -- is very set in its ways. And like most industries, publishers have been challenged by fast moving digital media technologies. And many folks who were just about born into the publishing industry have to ramp up quickly to these new technologies and work with the significant changes they bring about.
And for many, my guess is that those changes are hard. After all, after years of working in publishing, there are few major surprises. The new media age is changing the publishing industry forever. It's not just a surprise; for many its a shocking shift.

I am confident that Debbie Stier is - if not the most - certainly one of the most capable of not only coping with the shifts in strategy, but actually being on the front lines of what those new strategies should be. I have no doubt that today it takes someone with a true entrepreneurial heart to take full advantage of new digital landscape - and Debbie is that person.

Debbie is present and presents at digital and social media events and conferences all over the country. She's highly active in social media. She consumes new technology like most New Yorkers drink coffee. She's inspired by movers and shakers. She's motivated by motivated people. She's actually passionate about the changes in the industry. Harper Studio may stay the same. It may ride the new waves as they come about. It will always be modernizing, taking risks and being what it was designed to be: an experiment in new publishing.

No one is sure what the future holds for Harper Studio right now. But I have no doubt that Debbie is the future of publishing.

Dear readers, our book is in the best hands in publishing. But who else would I dare share you with?

Auntie Melanie


  1. Late last year I was fortunate enough to be introduced to Debbie by a mutual friend, Chris Brogan, who thought she and I shared a common vision for the relationship between publishing, authors and readers.

    He couldn't have been more on the money.

    Since then I've been telling everybody who'll listen how damn smart and forward-thinking Debbie and the whole HarperStudio crew is.

    It's not always easy for guys who do what I do to talk about the people they work with. So when I was compelled to write My Story of Hope for the Publishing Industry, I didn’t name names out of respect for all my friends in the business, especially the ones who are still the “peanut butter” as Debbie calls it.

    But in the wake of Miller’s departure from HS and the ensuing questions hanging over all my friends holding down the fort, I have to chime in and say I couldn’t agree more strongly with you.

    Debbie Stier’s courage, creativity and optimism are a beacon of hope in an industry going through scary, uncertain times. I’m lucky to work with Debbie and her team, and look forward to their continued success.

  2. It's so great that you recognized the 'behind the scenes' of the publishing world. As a person who worked in the publishing industry, often the writer gets all the credit. I'm sure you are in very good hands with Harper Collins!

    Can't wait to read it, Melanie!

  3. Can I just say.......Thank You Melanie! Every time I'm feeling a little down (I'm going on 3 nights now without much sleep), I click over here and read this again and it makes everything all better.

    Seriously, everyone should have a blog post like this that they can go to when they're feeling down.

    You are the most inspiring, optimistic, wonderful ray of sunshine bright happy fabulous special person I have ever met. I remember when you came to my office on that first day we met, and I was having one of those "everything seems impossible" moments -- and you had this big smile, and you said from the bottom of your heart and with the utmost sincerity "I think there are tons of opportunities," -- and then we had lunch and I saw the world through your lens for a few hours and everything seemed so much better by the time you left.

    I seriously hope that everyone has a someone as amazing as you in their life because when things get tough, you never known what side it brings out in people. I've been moving sharp elbows out of my way for a few days now. You, and all of my authors, have been SO supportive it practically brings tears to my eyes. One author said to me last night "I'm on team Debbie. Wherever that is, is where I go."

    I feel incredibly lucky to have met you and can not wait to publish your book.


  4. Debbie - You're amazing. Thank you for that. xo

  5. Dear Savvy Antie Melanie,

    I had the great pleasure to hear you speak about YA publishing and Social Media in NYC, BEA.
    Our library is trying to incorporate more social Media tools into our access points for users of hand held devices.

    Please consider becoming a fan of the Free Library of Philadelphia on Facebook.

    Thank you,


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