May 12, 2020

WFH: View From an NYU SPS MS in Publishing Grad, Part Three

By NYU SPS Center for Publishing Staff

For the latest in our series on the new publishing reality under COVID-19 and how our alumni are adapting and adopting a new mindset, we reached out to

Kristina Radke, Vice President, Business Growth and Engagement, NetGalley, Class of 2010

Tell us the pathway that led you to NetGalley.

When I was at NYU, I interned in a variety of roles, which was an amazing way to see first-hand what various segments of the publishing industry were like. I interned at Foundry Literary + Media reading submissions and making recommendations to agents, at Hal Leonard helping out with publicity efforts, and then at Ecco [an imprint of HarperCollins] as an editorial intern. I eventually wound up at HarperTeen in the marketing department, where I learned a lot about promotions and community building, before I made the move to NetGalley. There, all this experience was extremely helpful and relevant!

What are your primary responsibilities?

My job focuses on 1) helping our current clients (publishers, authors, PR services), 2) client acquisition and retention, and 3) helping to drive the evolution of the service.

My team and I regularly work with publishers to strategically incorporate NetGalley into their marketing and publicity efforts, and understand the effectiveness of those efforts. We are always fielding questions from publishers and authors who are considering the service, as well as sponsoring, attending and speaking at events where publishers can get to know more about the service. (Hopefully we'll see these start back up sooner rather than later.)

In the era of COVID-19, NetGalley is very much in the forefront of helping publishers distribute their galleys and getting the news out about books. Tell us what you are doing to support publishers and authors in these challenging times.

We've heard from many publishers that digital galleys are more important to them now than ever, and we're thankful to be a trusted partner to so many in the industry. As our clients have moved to remote workflows, we've been spending a lot of time training and re-training NetGalley users (marketers and publicists) about the tools available to them in their accounts. This includes widgets that they can use to directly invite their contacts to access secure files.

Publishers have been reaching out to us about all kinds of new and creative campaigns they're working on, as well as things like awards submissions, so we're also in close communication with them about how NetGalley can help while they don't have easy access to print copies, whether that's ARCs or finished books.

Sometimes, out of difficult times, new models emerge. For example, we are all learning that we can do more remotely and to embrace video and communication platforms. Can you see any shifts in publishing models as we emerge into a new tomorrow?

Everyone is trying to navigate this temporary new normal and I absolutely believe that the solutions that publishers are coming up with right now to address this emergency are likely to reshape our industry. In many cases, publishers have been forced to fast-track planned changes that were already in the works, like expanding work-from-home capabilities, or getting started with NetGalley if they weren't already. Additionally, many decisions are being made related to direct-to-consumer marketing and sales, and how to address discoverability while bookstores and libraries are closed. The greatest minds in our industry are asking questions about what we can do to navigate supply-chain shutdowns.

No one can see the future, especially in this uncertain time, but here are a few quick possibilities that come to mind. We might see that:

  • Expensive print galleys are no longer a priority.
  • The big focus on metadata to aid digital discoverability will get even bigger.
  • Print-on-demand increases.
  • There may be increased backlist interest from consumers, while new books are delayed.
  • Readers who were digital hold-outs are making their way to e-books, leading to another surge in e-book sales.
  • Certain categories see continued resurgence (cookbooks, crafting books, kids’ books, and coloring books).
  • Indie bookstores dive further into digital sales while maintaining their focus on community (some of which may be an ongoing mix of in-person and virtual events).

Thinking back to your publishing program days, was there anything that prepared you for this? Any strategy conversations or assignments come to mind?

The NYU program prepared me in so many ways for working in this industry, but I don't think anyone could have been prepared for what we're going through now. Broadly, what I took away from the publishing program at NYU was to constantly look ahead and to question the status quo. Publishing is an industry that sometimes feels slow to change, but finds opportunities to leap forward when challenged. In particular, I remember a lot of conversations about the advent of the Kindle device (which launched the fall before I started at NYU)--the concerns about whether we would suffer as the music industry did, potential for piracy, and what this all meant for brick-and-mortar bookstores. Seeing how publishers faced the shifting landscape then gives me hope for how we'll do so now.

You of all people have lots of reading at your fingertips! What’s on your digital nightstand?

Digitally, I am reading The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson (on sale August 4th), and in print, I'm reading Moving to Higher Ground: How Jazz Can Change Your Life by Wynton Marsalis.

To learn more about the NYU SPS MS in Publishing: Digital & Print Media program visit our homepage here. Applications for Fall 2020 enrollment are due July 1, 2020.

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