TOC New York 2012 Call for Proposals

Call closed 11:59pm 09/08/2011 EDT.

We’re Looking for Speakers for TOC New York

Update: we’ve extended the call for participation until Thursday, September 8. Procrastinators beware, this is your final chance to submit a proposal. We won’t be extending it any further after this deadline.

It’s midsummer, and we’re already working on the sixth annual Tools of Change Conference (February 13-15, 2012 in New York City). The focus at TOC 2012 will be on data, design, development, and deployment—where the cutting edge of technology converges with the art, craft, and business of publishing. If you have a presentation you’d like to make or a session you’d like to lead, we’d love to hear from you. Topics we’re especially interested in include publishing-related advanced technical sessions, in-depth explorations of successful experimental publishing models, and the latest research from industry experts.

Topics and Themes for 2012

The following list is what we’ve been thinking about for TOC 2012, but there’s no need to limit your proposals to the topics below. Ultimately, we’re interested in what most interests you.

  • Digital book design for screens, including touch functionality
  • Best practices for sales and marketing in app marketplaces
  • Metadata, metadata, and more metadata
  • Innovative business models
  • Selling into the global marketplace
  • The implications of mobile
  • Industry case studies
  • Developing digital content across a wide variety of devices and platforms
  • Understanding and addressing digital piracy
  • Direct-to-consumer sales
  • The growing importance of strong branding in a global digital world
  • Authoring and editing tools
  • New revenue models – advertising, subscription-based, etc.
  • Ebook pricing
  • UX design for screen-based books
  • Search
  • Cloud storage
  • ePub
  • Ecommerce
  • HTML5 for publishers
  • Open Publishing
  • Digital financial models that work
  • Accessibility
  • Games as books; books as games
  • Digitization tools

How to Submit a Successful Proposal

We’re looking for presentations and sessions that will help our attendees:

  • Get up-to-date info on new technologies
  • Understand the latest developments in publishing, including how their businesses may be affected
  • Develop and improve their technical skills

Tips for a good proposal:

  • Tell a unique story. What lessons can only you share? What insights are you uniquely qualified to explain? We’re far more interested in your experience and ideas than your credentials.
  • Provide a clear description of what attendees will learn. Whether your proposed session seeks to explain an emerging trend or teach a critical skill, you must provide a direct, concise description of what attendees will learn.
  • Focus on lessons learned, NOT the benefits of your product or service. Product pitches are automatic rejects. Lessons learned from building or running your product, however, can be invaluable.
  • Skip the jargon. The more buzzwords you use, the less we think you have something interesting to say. Proposals about “branded content engagement platforms” are automatic rejects.
  • Include people we don’t see often enough at tech conferences. Does your presentation have the participation of a woman, person of color, or a member of another group often under-represented at tech conferences? As we seek to broaden our speaker roster, diversity is one of the factors we seriously consider when reviewing proposals. We also very much want to hear from voices that are new or relatively unknown in the technology and publishing communities.
  • Propose it yourself. The vast majority of proposals we accept are submitted by the presenters, not by PR firms. We’re not looking to discriminate against flacks, but the data is clear: most of the lowest-rated proposals we get come from PR firms, which makes us skeptical when we see that the proposer is not a presenter. If you’re a PR person, improve your chances by working closely with the presenter(s) to write a jargon-free proposal that’s got clear value for attendees.

NEW Requirement for 2012: Video Clip of the proposed speaker(s) “In Action”

Submitting a video clip of the speaker or speakers with your proposal is mandatory this year. Proposals that don’t include a link to a video clip of the speaker giving a talk or somehow showing us what their presenting skills are like will not be considered. If you don’t have video of the speaker(s) in action at an event, please create a very short clip (2-3 minutes) of the presenter(s) proposing his/hers/their session. We don’t care at all about the quality of the video; we care about the quality of the speakers. Feel free to use your phone or Flipcam to take the video, and don’t worry about editing it in any way. If your video isn’t already online, post it to a third-party site (YouTube is fine), and then share the link with us.

Session Formats

We’d love to see proposals that go beyond “talking heads” panels and speech-style presentations with slide decks. Tell us how you plan to organize and present your information; keep in mind we are especially interested in presentations with a conversational or interactive format.

We are currently accepting submissions for:

  • 45 minute session – these can be solo presentations, interview style discussion between two speakers, DIY/“Maker” type presentations (think: “build a book”) or a panel discussion with more than two presenters.
  • 3 hour tutorial – these extended format classes are designed to give participants hands-on, practical, in-depth guidance in using new technologies that are critical for publishing in the 21st century.
  • 90 minute workshops – workshops goal of informing and supporting participants to grasp and apply innovative principles and practices.
  • Keynote presentations – These are high level talks that frame the visions of publishing’s future into a meaningful picture.

Ignite & Startup Showcase Information

We’ll be doing a separate call for Ignite talks and Startup Showcase companies later this year. Make sure you are following us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and are signed up for the TOC email bulletin to be notified when they open.

A limited number of speaking opportunities are also available through conference sponsorship. Contact Sharon Cordesse at (707) 827-7065 or for more information.

Other Resources for Writing Your Proposal

The submission deadline for all proposals is August 29. Submit a proposal today!

Important Dates

Proposals due: August 29 extended until September 8
Proposers Notified of acceptance by: November 1
Registration Opens: October

  • Publishers Weekly
  • Ingram Content Group
  • codeMantra
  • Impelsys Inc.
  • SPi Global
  • Baker & Taylor
  • Blackboard
  • Bowker
  • Hewlett Packard
  • Innodata
  • Jouve North America
  • MarkLogic
  • Newgen KnowledgeWorks
  • Océ North America
  • Temis
  • Aptara
  • Atex
  • LibreDigital
  • Media Services Group
  • MarkLogic
  • Smashwords, Inc.

For information on exhibition and sponsorship opportunities at the conference, contact Sharon Cordesse at

View a complete list of TOC contacts