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DIRECTOR’S DESK: Everything in Perspective

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As I write this October
column, Katrina has just devastated New Orleans, LA; Biloxi and Gulfport, MS;
and other areas in their vicinity. Like a million other people, I’ve sat glued
to my television not believing my eyes.


Earlier in the week, I had become
incensed by a column in PW
that referred to a print-on-demand printer as a
self-publisher, and I had called some people at <span
style=’font-size:11.0pt’>Publishers Weekly
to voice my complaint
about this use of these terms. I wondered how a publication that is supposed to
be a voice of the book-publishing community could possibly equate a printer
with a self-publisher. If PW doesn’t know the difference, how will everyone else
realize that print-on-demand is a printing process?


To help the <span
understand the differences between publishing, self-publishing, and printing, I
even emailed a column that had appeared in PMA’s newsletter in January 2004
about the 10 steps that define being a publisher, and I suggested that they run
this in PW’s
Soapbox section to clarify some important points. However, I was informed that
people who read PW
would not be interested. I can only assume that this means that <span
class=95StoneSerifIt>PW editors
don’t want publishers, authors, or would-be publishers to read their trade


Then Katrina hit, making everything
else seem so petty in comparison. I began working with Pat Sabiston, executive
director of PMA’s affiliate Publishers Association of the South. She kept me up
to date on many of our members and others involved in the publishing community
in the area. We began sending information via e-blasts to our membership and
received many kind offers of help—housing, food, clothing, and many other
types of donations—which I sent to Pat, and which I hope she was able to
share with people in need. Also, I sent email to our members in the affected
areas and was overjoyed when I began receiving word back from them about their
safety. We e-blasted, answered phone calls, found out where to donate money,
and started thinking about what more we could do.


Right now, while Katrina is on
everyone’s mind and TV screen, we all sit here and wonder what we can do to
help. I remember a similar feeling four years ago. I arrived in New York City
for a meeting on the evening of September 10. Just as our meeting began the
next morning, the planes hit the Twin Towers. I remember standing in line with
hundreds of other people attempting to give blood to the Red Cross, only to be
told after standing there for three hours that no more blood was needed, since
they weren’t finding many people in need of it. We all felt so helpless. We
wanted to help, but there was nothing really to do.


In time, I know we will all get
involved in other things. It’s not that we’ll forget; it’s that we’ll get busy
with our own lives again. But I also know that four, six, and even 12 months
from now, help will be needed as much—if not more—than it is today.
How can we help? I don’t have an answer, but I’m hoping that some of you out
there will send me some suggestions (email <span
). Let’s see if somehow
we can develop ideas on ways to help an area of our country rebuild its


Am I still upset about the <span
Yes. But, I’m placing everything in perspective, and my friends in Louisiana,
Mississippi, and Alabama certainly take precedence today.



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