Wednesday 20 July 2011

Cory Beatty - Publishing Profile

Cory Beatty is the Associate Marketing Director, Digital Strategy at Harper Collins Canada. He can be found online tweeting about life, books and publishing.

1. How did you go about pursuing a career in the publishing industry?

I just decided one day "What do you like? Answer: Books." I found a program at Ryerson which was close to where I was living and working and enrolled there.

2. What is your favorite part about working in publishing?

Besides getting free books? Probably working with the great people I do, people of similar tastes and ambitions: to bring great books to readers. A close second are meeting my literary heroes.

3. What is your least favorite part about working in publishing?

The negativity that the media seems bent on perpetrating, that books are dying and that no one wants to read anymore. Not true from what I see.
4. Back in 2009 you spearheaded a unique marketing camping called The Literates. It received great notice by booksellers and consumers. What unique projects do you have planned for the near future?

We're hoping to pull off something REALLY cool this Fall for one of my favourite YA authors. Top secret, but if we pull it off…you haven't seen anything like this yet!

5. What is your favorite marketing camping or tool that you have used or created and why?

Close to my heart is our HCC March Madness tournament. It's always a surprise which book wins the tournament but the best part is seeing so many tweets, comments and votes from so many passionate readers. It's pretty cool awarding one lucky voter all 64 books too.

6. You took a course in creative writing a few years back, before entering the publishing industry. Do you have any books in development that we might see published down the road?

Haha. No! Being on the "inside" now I've seen just how hard our writers to work to put out their books. Much more enjoyable to be the reader.

7. You now hold the title of Associate Marketing Director, Digital Strategy at HarperCollins. What does your average day look like in that role?

A pretty basic day goes: check stats, meeting, meeting, meeting, tweet, check stats again, meeting, tweet.

8. As with any digital media, movies, music, games … there is a market for illegal distribution, either through torrent sites, p2p networks and more. There are websites and blogs dedicated to how to strip DRM from eBooks of various formats. How do you actively work towards protecting your company's profits?

Luckily we're part of a very big corporation with an excellent technical and legal team that handles that.

9. I and others I know have been frustrated when books are available in the US but when we go to buy them are informed they are not available in Canada. Do you think the stricter eBook rights in Canada are affecting your profit margin significantly?

No. I honestly haven't heard of that happening much at all with us. If anything, we're leading the way in making as many of our backlist and frontlist titles available in all formats.

10. I know some Canadian authors who are frustrated that eBook rights are so different in Canada compared to the United States or the UK. How long do you think until eBooks become universally available?

That's really entirely up to the authors and agents. They control the rights. But I think we're getting pretty close to that now.

11. I have always had a lending library, some friends would come buy just to borrow books. But with the eBooks currently you can only lend books via Kindle and then only once, and only on certain books depending on the publisher. What changes to you envision for digital books and book lending?

Personally, I think the biggest drawback to ebooks now is recreating some of the best parts of the traditional book experience, ie: the ability to lend a beloved book to a friend, or to have your copy signed by a favourite author. They are challenges that have to be faced.

12. Do you read eBooks? If so do you use a specific reader? What percentage of books that you read are in electronic format?

I use my iPad and iPhone primarily to read manuscripts. I have bought ebooks but still prefer the feel of a book in my hand and seeing it on my shelf.

13. What were some of your favorite books and authors as a child?

As a child I loved Where the Wild Things Are, still do. As a middle grade reader I was obsessed with a book called My Brother Sam is Dead, though I have no idea who wrote it. (I should track a copy down).

14. What were some of your favorite authors in your teen years who helped shape you?

By the time I got to my teens I was fully engrossed in comic books. Collecting, buying, devouring everything I could.

15. Who are some of your favorite authors or books now?

Lately I've been reading a lot of non-fiction, particularly business books, so it's hard to settle on a specific author. In fiction, I still get very excited (maybe too excited) when I see we have a new book coming by Conn Iggulden, Christopher Moore or Dennis Lehane.

16. If you were not working in publishing what do you think you would be doing?

In marketing somewhere else, or working in a bookstore.

17. Completely off topic but what TV shows or movies do you enjoy?

I'm a big Mad Men fan. I'll watch pretty much any movie but I tend to gravitate toward Hollywood spectacle, the kind of movie that requires little to no thought.

18. If you were stuck on a desert island and could only have 10 books to read again and again, what books would you want with you?

I KNEW you were going to ask this question!
The Given Day by Dennis Lehane Lamb by Christopher Moore David Copperfield by Charles Dickens The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon My Losing Season by Pat Conroy Wolf of the Plains by Conn Iggulden The Show by Roland Lazenby Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling I Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb Survive! Ultimate Edition by Les Stroud

19. What advice would you give to someone who aspires to work in the publishing industry?

Read. Read a lot. And visit bookstores. Look at what people are buying, talk to booksellers and see what they like. Look at how things are merchandised and what type of books make bestseller lists and how they (may) differ from what makes a Staff Pick wall.

20. What life advice would you give to young aspiring authors and artists?

"Life" advice? I don't think I'm qualified to tell anyone how to live their lives. If we're staying on topic I'd say: don't be afraid to put one book down to start another. Life is too short and there are too many great books out there.

Cory thank you again for taking the time to answer some questions for the readers at Book Reviews and More, it is always interesting to get other peoples perspectives on books and publishing.

(The bottom picture is Cory with Christopher Moore, your can read his interview here.)

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