Déjà Vu/Looking Forward
by Florrie Binford Kichler
“I love you, Stephen!” yelled the 50-something, tattooed woman sitting on the grass to my right.
To her, and indeed to the entire audience of aging boomers, many of whom had last seen David Crosby, Graham Nash, and Stephen Stills in concert in the ’60s, it seemed that nothing had changed. Sure, the band was older, grayer, and a little heavier (aren’t we all?), but we still remembered the lyrics from “Déjà Vu” (and we still felt we’d know just what to do if we’d ever been here before), and by the end of “Suite Judy Blue Eyes,” I loved Stephen too.
Not because he hadn’t changed, though. Because he had. Sure, Mr. Stills and his bandmates sang the old favorites, but they also included a few from a new album they are currently recording—four decades after Déjà Vu was released. No band survives 40 years without constantly reinventing itself, while at the same time retaining the core of what made the music unique at the start.
Neither does a publishing association.
To reinvent means “to create again but in a new and different way.” Those of you who remember Jan Nathan’s role in this association will recognize similarities between it and my recently announced and newly defined role as president. Those of you who knew and loved Jan Nathan and benefited from her wise counsel will agree with me that her contributions to the independent publishing industry and IBPA were immeasurable.
I was fortunate to work with Jan and learn from the best. Integrating what I learned from her with the knowledge I’ve gained in the past seven years working with the IBPA board, with members and staff, and through my experience as an independent publisher is how I’m reinventing myself to meet the challenges of both expanding our association’s presence and influence in the industry at large and working with Terry Nathan to strengthen our support and programs for you, our members.
So what does that mean, and what’s in it for you?
I’ll be your voice, eyes, and ears on the outside looking in, working at industry trade shows, representing IBPA as the voice of independent publishing on industry boards and at events, identifying partnerships that will bring IBPA’s members new educational, marketing, and social opportunities, and advocating for your rights in an industry that changes faster than the latest e-book reader.
On the inside looking out, Terry and I will be working together—with each other and with the board of directors—to grow and extend IBPA’s services and benefits for you and to set our association’s course for the future. I am grateful for the benefit of Terry’s experience, hard work, and devotion to IBPA, as I am for the wisdom and guidance provided by Carlene Sippola, our new board chair.
Making It Personal
In an era when contact is just a keystroke away and friends are counted by clicks, face-to-face interaction is becoming increasingly rare. When IBPA started 26 years ago, it was a small community of publishers in southern California who learned from, supported, and educated one another. Now we’re a large community in all 50 states and beyond, but the need to learn, support, and educate each other has not changed—if anything, it’s become more critical.
As has the value of a personal meeting. My priority in the next year is to concentrate on building our IBPA community in two ways—by providing online networking opportunities for you to “meet” each other, and by getting to know you offline—at an IBPA educational conference, an IBPA affiliate meeting, a book festival, an industry event. I’m looking forward to learning from you what IBPA can do to better serve your needs.
Looking Forward . . .
. . . was the title of Crosby, Stills, Nash (and Young)’s album released 30 years after Déjà Vu. The two titles symbolize the key to the band’s success—the ability of the musicians to constantly reinvent themselves by simultaneously keeping an eye on the future, respecting their past, connecting with fans, and honoring the musical vision that launched them in 1969.
Classic rock bands and trade associations have much in common. As IBPA proceeds through its second quarter-century of service to independent publishers, our mission remains the same as at our founding—to provide support, education, and advocacy for the independent publishing community.
What will always be a work in process is how we fulfill that mission. Your IBPA board and staff have been, are now, and will constantly be looking for ways to adjust and change our programs to help you work better and smarter, and to enable all of us to connect with and learn from one another, both personally and professionally.
I invite and encourage you to get in touch with me to share your thoughts, ideas, and advice on how IBPA can serve you—make it personal!
I look forward to meeting you.
Make it personal! Please let me know how IBPA can serve you better. Call me at 317/577-1321, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or introduce yourself when you see me.—Florrie Kichler