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The IPG mentoring scheme: members’ views
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The IPG
Posted by IPG
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The IPG’s mentoring scheme pairs up experienced independent publishers with newer ones. Here's what some of our participants think of their experiences

Mentors

My mentee was a commercially savvy individual launching into publishing with a product that had strong marketing potential. Most of our work has been on some of the basic structures of publishing, like sales, distribution, marketing, rights and data. We’ve discussed pitfalls and opportunities, and how to navigate the structures of the industry.
The meetings and conversations have been rewarding on many levels. As a more established business it's been interesting to think about some of the basics of how an independent publisher gets started with its very first book. Discussing the fundamentals of the industry has been really rewarding. It's also been refreshing to get insights into a books category that isn't part of my day-to-day business. James Woollam, F+W Media and IPG Chair
I've been able to help my mentee with strategic thinking, financial reporting and team structure. I've enjoyed engaging with new ways of thinking about publishing and new models for authorship, and have found my mentee’s commitment to his subject—medical education—inspiring. Jonathan Harris, IPG President
I’ve been advising on market research methods and ways to develop a business strategy to allow a small publisher to identify and then move into new markets. Developing this kind of strategy has been critical to establishing Burleigh Dodds Science Publishing, the new company I set up with colleagues in 2015. I’ve enjoyed taking time out of the day-to-day demands of the business to discuss and reflect on wider strategic issues, and sharing experiences with someone from another publisher. Francis Dodds, Burleigh Dodds Science Publishing
I’m working with an IPG member who is new to publishing, having had a career in another field. I’ve helped with all kinds of information including the way the supply chain works, the options consumers have when buying print format books, the pros and cons of print on demand and litho printing, and the role of distributors and trade sales reps. I have also worked with a young publisher on career development options when she felt somewhat stuck in her job. As a mentor I make it clear that I am not giving free consultancy, as I am not advising the mentee what strategy or business practices they should pursue.
Having worked in various areas of publishing for several decades, it is very rewarding to use my experience to help people when they are looking for some feedback on their ideas or guidance. Having received informal mentoring at various times when I was a young publisher, it feels good to be able to give back. Stephen Lustig, SJ Music Publications

Mentees

I spend my time working in the business, but my mentor has made me realise the importance of working on the business, and of seeing the big picture much more clearly. It’s great to be around someone who genuinely wants to pass on their wisdom, who will take the time to listen, and who can help you ask the right questions to take a business where it needs to go. Zeshan Qureshi, The Unofficial Guide to Medicine
My mentor has helped me research new sales opportunities, and to think in a more strategic way about both my role in the team and the company's purpose more generally. Networking is great, but it primarily builds relationships with peers, so it’s been nice to have an introduction to someone with several decades more experience than me, and whom I probably wouldn't have been able to get to know otherwise. Preparing for the work by thinking carefully about areas in which I needed to build my knowledge has helped to make the mentoring relevant and helpful. Anonymous
My mentor has helped me with workflow and time management. Approaching things from a fresh perspective has left me feeling confident and excited about my work. Katie Lewis, Princeton University Press

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