Chronicle Books Heads to Alt Summit

Last week, my colleague Kate and I were lucky enough to attend the third annual Altitude Design Summit in Salt Lake City. The 3-day conference is a mecca for design and lifestyle bloggers, and the speaker roster was amazing. Many of our favorites were there, from well-established voices like Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan (Apartment Therapy), Pilar Guzmán (Martha Stewart Living), and Deborah Needleman (former editor in chief of domino magazine) to blogger celebrities like Grace Bonney (Design Sponge), Erin Loechner (Design for Mankind), and Heather Armstrong (Dooce).

Bloggers at Alt rocking our Rifle Paper Co Botanical notebooks. Michelle Henderson @SecondStEast, Carrie Kiefer @ampersandstudio, and @tobe_reed from Because It’s Awesome.

I was thrilled to have the chance to meet so many bloggers at Alt. As the voice behind @ChronicleBooks, my job involves spending much of my day conversing with readers, authors, and fans online. I’ve developed great friendships with people I’ve never met in real life, and finally putting a face to everyone’s Twitter handle was a treat. Throughout the conference it felt like I was reuniting with long lost friends, and I can’t count the number of new friends I met, both on Twitter and in person. I think anyone who says you can’t forge meaningful relationships through social media just isn’t doing it right.

L to R: Julia Rothman, Kate Woodrow, Grace Bonney, Amy Butler, Lia Ronnen. Photo by Justin Hackworth.

We were excited (and proud!) to see how many Chronicle authors were in the speaker line-up this year. Maxwell and Pilar gave a keynote on the relationship between traditional and new media, Lisa Congdon offered advice on kickstarting your next creative project, and Amy Butler and Julia Rothman joined Grace Bonney, Lia Ronnen of Artisan Books, and our fabulous editor (and my Alt Summit roomie) Kate Woodrow, to share how a blog becomes a book.

Julia Rothman wins the “Best-designed slides at Alt” award.

A packed house for the Blog to Book panel.

Even without my Chronicle bias, the From Blog to Book panel was a highlight of the conference, and one of the most informative sessions I attended. The panelists were honest and candid about the pros and cons of book publishing, and they gave rock solid advice for each stage of the process, from coming up with a killer idea to the pitch, the contract, the schedule, and the sell-through. Kate posted a full recap of the panel here, so I’ll leave the details to her. Suffice to say, it’s a must-read for anyone who dreams of getting published someday.

Our Alt Summit posse: Kate, Kristin Appenbrink of Real Simple, and me (probably reading #altsummit tweets) during one of the panels. Photo by Brooke Dennis.

There’s so much more I could write about—the drive-by shooting at dinner, this beautiful packaging from Cargoh, the gorgeous business cards I collected from all of the brilliant, creative people I met—but what will stick with me most from Alt Summit was the keynote by Ben Silbermann, co-founder of Pinterest.

Chatting with Pinterest co-founder Ben Silbermann. Photo by Justin Hackworth.

We’re huge Pinterest fans here at Chronicle and after meeting their team last year, we’ve collaborated on a few projects. This was the first chance I’d had to chat with Ben at length and hear him speak about the vision behind Pinterest, and it was so inspiring. Despite the fact that they’re a technology company, their mission is not to get you to spend more time online; rather, it’s to inspire you to go out and do the things you love. He likened the user experience to browsing a bookstore and discovering things you’d never search for because you didn’t know they existed. And as if I couldn’t love Pinterest any more, he clinched his speech with this line, to a standing ovation: “Because discovering things about the world helps you discover who you are.”

Me and Kate, decked out for the Winter Wonderland party. Photo by Moss + Isaac.

I can’t wait to return next year.

Guinevere de la Mare
Community Manager

Guinevere de la Mare

Guinevere de la Mare

Guinevere de la Mare is a writer, book lover, and the founder of Silent Book Club. She lives in San Francisco. She also was the senior community manager at Chronicle Books from 2009-2014.
Guinevere de la Mare

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