The SYP Conference 2011

The following post is cross-posted with the Society of Young Publishers’ online magazine, InDigital, and was written by Annual Conference Chair Aaron O’Dowling-Keane. The Oxford Book Project will be on display and the Oxford World Book Capital team will be exhibiting, so go out and show some support for the WBC and the SYP! 

This is books scramble. Many books to scatter under sky.It’s conference time! And the biggest* one in the publishing calendar is just warming up here in Oxford. Since flares were fashionable and landing on the moon was still a pipe dream, the SYP Conference has been bringing the best and brightest of the publishing industry face to face to discuss, theorise, project, argue, learn, teach, ponder and answer the ultimate questions that are facing the trade. We call ourselves the Society of Young Publishers, not because we still get our IDs checked in Sainsbury’s but because we are young at heart, in our careers or in our attitudes and because we are still striving to learn and grow. Spending Friday nights in your slippers with chocolate Hobnobs does not disallow you from our society, not sharing your Hobnobs however, that may. Note November 19th in your diary, with all this at our core, this year’s SYP Conference shall be one to remember.

And so, let me introduce Press Forward: Updating an Outdated Industry. This year’s conference is focusing on ‘modernisation’, looking at the ways in which the publishing industry is changing and updating and our role in its transformation. Our opening debate is called Foreword to the Future: What next for publishing? and in it we will enlist the crystal balls and tea leaves of industry game changers to predict where publishing is headed. Our closing debate pitches creative commons versus DRM in a copyright death match, entitled, Piracy is a Crime: Do we accept it? . Looking under the covers and magnifying the prelims we will investigate how publishing is dealing with the new contenders in the digital era.

And that is just the bread my friends, read more for the filling to this delicious conference sandwich. We have six sizzling seminars in store, from career progression to digital diversions, that will allow you to hone your skills in rights, publicity, marketing, design or simply to play fast and free with the latest publishing apps. As a delegate you get to choose just three seminars, so choose wisely, although there will of course be a chance to mingle with all the mighty forces of the industry over tea and coffee (there may even be a Hobnob or two, we know what makes you happy).

The seminars are:

1. Careers Clinic

Bring your CV, questions and concerns to our expert group of publishing recruitment specialists. They will be ready and waiting to vet your CV and offer advice and guidance as to how best to get your foot in the publishing door or how to climb that publishing ladder. Whether you’re work experience or experienced worker our specialists will talk you through what’s best for you.

2. Designing the future: Effective design for the digital age

Judging the book by its cover, the poster by its layout, the email by its font, your design is the first impression you make. From html to xml, outputting design effectively is a necessary tool no matter which department you work in. This seminar will alert you to the human psychology behind colour preference, leading, sans serif versus serif and image placement to make sure your message – whatever the format – isn’t lost in translation.

3. Right Now: The Changing World of Rights

Authors and agents, from Rowling to Wylie, are reclaiming rights in the digital era, but what gives them the right? As the nature of a book becomes less defined, can its contract stay rigid? This seminar will move beyond intellectual property and copyright to face the digital demons of lost clauses and loopholes that have shaken the modern world of rights.

4. The Social Network: A social media strategy to suit you

Tweet this! Who’s listening? You’ve been tagged. Who’s looking? RSS. Who’s feeding? These are the tools but how will you use them… This seminar will brief you on the various aspects of the social network and how you can use them most effectively to build a brand, promote a product or connect with customers.

5. Publishing and the Media: Publicity in the 21st Century

Press Alert! Get Richard and Judy to read your book on TV. Be reviewed by The Guardian. Have your praises sung by Radio 4. This introductory seminar will show you how to get attention for your book by making modern media your friend. Learn how to use contacts, press releases and media packs in order to build an effective publicity campaign from scratch.

6. Digital Devices: A Future Format for Past Content

What can digital offer that print is lacking? This seminar will move beyond the jargon of XML and ePub and look at the capabilities that innovative digital formats can offer. The successful reinventions in app form of TS Eliot’s  The Wasteland and Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland show that even classic texts can have a new future. Come view these apps in our Digital Device Playground and see how publishers are pushing the boundaries of what is considered a ‘book’. Let’s get digital!


bookglobeWith all that on offer, you’re probably weak with excitement and with all those references to biscuits and sandwiches, you’re likely to be feeling a tad peckish. Fret not, the conference will provide morning and afternoon refreshment breaks and a buffet lunch with a glass of wine or juice depending on how you like to get your creative juices flowing. So, if you are curious about what is happening across the publishing industry at the moment, and would like to meet and talk to other publishing types, why not come along to this year’s SYP conference.

Location: Gipsy Lane, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, OX3

Date: 19 November 2011

Time: 10am-5pm

How can I sign up?

Please visit our website, for details of the events, speakers and instructions on how to register. Also see SYP Conference 2011 on Facebook or follow @SYPConference2011 on Twitter.

Are you impressed yet? *Wince* If you want to give me a slap on the wrists for poor punning, do come to the conference and if you have any questions (about the SYP conference or the SYP in general I can answer, other ones I’ll at least have a try), please do get in touch with me on

Warmest regards,

Aaron O’Dowling-Keane (Ms.)
SYP Oxford Conference Chair 2011

*Ahem, biggest in enthusiasm and other unquantifiable attributes.


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