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Newcomers' Guide to the AUPresses Annual Meeting

Strategize for Success

Welcome to the vibrant platform of the AUPresses annual meeting. You will be exposed to a multitude of panels, plenaries, workshops, and collaboration sessions to help you understand more about what is at stake in the university press community. Because there is more offered than any one person can take in on their own, here are some strategies to maximize your meeting impact before, during, and after the annual meeting.

Before the Meeting

Congratulations on being tapped to attend the meeting. An internal discussion between you and your director or supervisor before you register is crucial to understanding what they expect you to focus on during the meeting and what opportunities they particularly want you to avail yourself of. Don't worry if you registered early, or if someone else registered for you—you will have received a confirmation email with a link and registration code. This allows you to review and update your registration options, including what will be displayed on your badge.

As early as possible, make a tentative schedule of the sessions you plan to attend. Try to include at least one or two sessions that address issues other than those in your home department or particular position. Try to think about larger issues and trends across the UP community. The more exposure to other parts of the publishing process you have, the more informed your work and contributions will be. If others on your staff will be attending the meeting, share your tentative schedule and make sure there is not too much overlap, so that you have the benefit of the most sessions and most information you can bring home as a unit.

During the Meeting

As seasoned travelers and networkers, these few suggestions may seem completely obvious. Bring professional attire for all meeting events, and casual clothes (especially if you intend to do the early-morning run on Monday!) for any sightseeing or down time activities you have planned. Bring at least fifty business cards to hand out as you meet new people. A great trick is to use the lanyard with your badge as a storage spot for business cards. This way, when you meet someone, there is no fumbling in a purse or briefcase. You quickly have a card extended, and you can keep all the cards you collect in there as well for easy reference when you get home. Just make sure you are always extending your OWN card.

To get a sense of the diversity of our constituency as well as our similarities, make sure to attend all the open receptions, plenaries, and group meals to benefit from those top-level presentations about the industry at large. It is not uncommon to feel intimidated by a crowd, but University Press professionals are some of the friendliest people you will ever meet! A great tip is to avoid only interacting with people you already know or people from your own press. Breakfast can be a great time to sit at table where you don't know anyone and introduce yourself.

The AUPresses community has a vibrant social media presence. There are even sessions in this year's program that relate to specific strategies for acquisitions and marketing engagement via social media. The conference hashtag is #AUPresses18, and following the feeds in live time allow you to participate in or survey other panels than the one you are attending. Tweets function much like notes, so that you can go back and review what struck you as poignant during presentations. A helpful guide to Twitter strategies is available via the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Mentoring Program

The Meeting Mentorship Program is now in its fourth year. Supported by the Professional Development Committee, this program matches volunteers who wish to be mentored with a mentor prior to the meeting. This will allow newcomers to have an inside guide to the workings of the event. Mentors will: 1) be in touch before the meeting to discuss the mentee's career goals and meeting goals, and set up a time to talk in person early in the event; 2) help attendees navigate the conference program and make suggestions about important panels for their particular career goals; 3) use the scheduled events for newcomers as opportunities to check in with their mentees and introduce them to additional colleagues, as well as give feedback about the larger mentorship program's launch and future stewardship; and 4) as appropriate and desired by both parties, be in touch with mentees post-meeting to assess their experience and discuss how to maintain momentum in achieving their goals.

Even if you haven't enrolled in the mentorship program, there are resources, like the Networking Lounge, that you can take advantage of during the meeting.

Additional Meeting Resources

Networking Lounge
Throughout the entirety of the meeting, there will be a "Networking Lounge" sponsored by Jack Farrell & Associates. The lounge will be located in the Green Room (near the Hotel Lobby) where you can find coffee and snacks, and a place to recharge. It will be open June 17, 18, &19. Stop in between panels to check in with each other and see how things are going.

Newcomers' Reception
Sunday, June 17 , 5:00–6:00 PM
All new visitors to the meeting should try to attend this reception as it is hosted specifically for you! This year, we will use the Newcomers' Reception to introduce mentors and mentees if they haven't yet found each other during the pre-meeting period. Representatives from the AUPresses Professional Development Committee will also be on hand to greet.

Mentoring Lunch
Tuesday, June 19, 12:00–1:30 PM
Tables will be reserved in the luncheon hall so that mentors, mentees, and other participants in the Meeting Mentorship Program can connect with each other. Each table will be hosted by a member of the AUPresses Professional Development Committee to connect everyone at the table.

Sessions of Interest
Tuesday, June 19, 9:00–10:15 PM
Mellon University Press Diversity Fellowship Program
Chair: Larin McLaughlin, Editor-in-Chief, University of Washington Press
Panelists: Kyle Gipson Acquisitions Assistant, MIT Press, Stephanie Gomez Menzies Editorial Associate, Duke University Press; Ana Jimenez-Moreno Editorial Associate, University of Georgia Press; Mike Baccam, Assistant Editor, University of Washington Press

The second cohort of the Mellon University Press Diversity Fellowship—which seeks to diversify academic publishing by offering full-time apprenticeships in the acquisitions departments at the University of Georgia Press, MIT Press, Duke University Press, and University of Washington Press—discusses their experiences from their one-year appointments. Specifically, they share their thoughts on barriers to achieving meaningful diversity and inclusion in academic publishing, opportunities to increase retention of editors from underrepresented backgrounds, the challenges of choosing an alt-ac career, and how the fellowship (and other pipeline programs) can be improved.

Tuesday, June 19, 10:45AM–12:00 PM
Advancing Your Career in the University Press World
Chair: Margo Irvin Acquisitions Editor, Stanford University Press
Panelists: Sara Henning-Stout Publicist, Princeton University Press; Clara Platter Editor, NYU Press; Kendall McKenzie Publications Assistant, PLOS
At its best, academic publishing is fulfilling, exciting work; it's no surprise that many people who take entry level positions in the university press world end up spending their entire career in or around it. But the exact steps for advancing your career are rarely clear. This panel will open the box on this topic, with a particular focus on strategies for early to mid-career. Panelists will talk about their own experience seeking out new roles, discussing questions like: What can you do in your current job to ensure that you'll be a good candidate for the next position? Do you have to move to a new press (or a new city) in order to move up? How do you know when it's time to start looking for something new, and how exactly do you go about looking?

After the Meeting

Many presses find it useful for the participants to coauthor a document about what they learned, experienced, and were surprised by at the meeting. This can be an informal, blow-by-blow of session and plenary presentations. Whatever you decide to do, reporting back to your peers about the annual meeting is a great way to encourage year-long participation, collaboration, and organizational commitment.

Be sure to send thank you emails and emails of future goodwill to new folks that you met at the meeting. Mentors are not required but are encouraged to keep dialogue open after the meeting, if both participants find this useful.

And finally, set goals for how you can keep abreast of the AUPresses initiatives, committees, and networks. Would you like to serve on a committee? Would a travel grant be an opportunity to gain exposure to another press's way of handling your job responsibilities? Have you joined the AUPresses Early Career Listserv for discussion and job notifications? What is your home institution doing to address concerns in the world of scholarly communication and publishing? All of these questions will help determine how you can best serve and be served by the AUPresses community, not just at annual meeting time, but throughout a fulfilling and challenging career.

Enjoy San Francisco!

Originally drafted by Gianna Mosser
Editor-in-Chief, Northwestern University Press
Former Chair, Professional Development Committee