Wednesday, November 28, 2007

BPAC Events: 2007, A Recap

This year’s calendar of BPAC events kicked off in February with a sold out luncheon at Coca, a stylish new Spanish tapas resto on Queens Street West. The Debutantes presented a unique opportunity to meet four of Toronto’s leading literary event planners while sampling one of the most hyped menus in the city. Audrey Gagnon of Pages This is Not a Reading Series and Maggie Rust of Word on the Street gave presentations on new elements of their established series’ while Samara Walbohm of Type Books and Amy Logan Holmes unveiled plans for programs still in development. It was a great opportunity for everyone; we got a sneak peak at the future of Toronto’s events landscape and our panellists had a valuable opportunity to meet their collaborators for a personal conversation.

March brought BPAC’s inaugural Basics presentation by Penguin Canada’s Senior Publicity Manager, David Leonard. David hosted the event in Penguin’s boardroom and gave a comprehensive seminar on collecting and creating the essential elements of a dynamic, innovative and informative press kit. Be sure to keep your assistants and interns appraised of this new series; it’s a wonderful way to learn new skills, meet established industry players and build a profile.

A little later in the month BPAC explored the world of boutique marketing firms. At an exclusive event, once again hosted in Penguin’s boardroom, attendees were given a unique opportunity to meet with representatives from three of Canada’s leading specialty firms, all of whom are well know for their pioneering marketing solutions. Patrick Thoburn presented on MatchStick’s managed word of mouth campaigns; Jennifer Evans shared some secrets from Sequentia’s experience in branded online community building and Chris Carder discussed the targeted email marketing services supplied by ThinData. Each presenter generously shared valuable tips on making these ideas work for our industry and discussed opportunities for ways we could work together.

BPAC’s next Basics event was hosted by Rob Firing, HarperCollins’ Director of Publicity on April 24. Rob presented a one hour seminar on communicating effectively with our partners in the media and utilizing opportunities available outside the publishing industry to fully realize a book’s potential. Using a variety of examples from recent campaigns including The Weather Makers and The Unknown Terrorist, Rob gave an inspiring lesson on pooling resources and relationships to build a strong, integrated strategy.

This year’s BPAC Future of Publishing took place at Grano on May 10. Susan G. Cole moderated the event, taking a comprehensive look at the industry’s prospects with The Walrus Editor Ken Alexander, Book Television’s Kim Clarke Champniss and Giller Prize nominated novelist Randy Boyagoda. McClelland and Stewart’s Jennifer Lambert offered unique editorial insights while Samara Walbohm, proprietor of Type Books, weighed in on the year in retail. Quill and Quire’s Editor Derek Weiler and Geoffrey Taylor, Director of Harbourfront’s International Festival of Authors talked about the big picture and put everything in wide angle context, covering topics from marketing and publicity to world business trends.

The events season wraps up tonight with the BPAC Jack Award party at Czehoski where we will honour veteran book seller Richard Bachmann. It’s sure to be a fantastic evening, with lots of guests turning out to toast Bachmann and steel their livers for the rest of Book Expo. I’ve really enjoyed putting together this series of events and I’m looking forward to working on next year’s schedule. I would definitely appreciate any suggestions or requests anyone might have.



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