by Florrie Binford Kichler
Thank You, Jan
“Can I help you?”
Nearly 10 years ago, a wannabe
publisher from Indiana without a company but with a dream, I attended my first
Publishing University. Now that dream is a business, thanks to the
encouragement, guidance, and support of the lively woman with the broad smile
who greeted me with those words.
“Can I help you?” epitomized the
spirit of our extraordinary executive director, Jan Nathan, who, in her 24
years at the helm of PMA, the Independent Book Publishers Association, enabled
thousands of publishers to make their visions real.
In the process, she transformed an
“Can I help you?” was Jan’s
mantra, and her vision and leadership grew an organization from a handful of
publishers in 1983 to a strong, vibrant, and forward-thinking organization of
more than 4,000.
“Can I help you?” asked Jan, and
the marketing, educational, and advocacy programs that have benefited so many
continue to grow.
Jan Nathan’s contributions to
publishing are legion; you will learn more about her remarkable accomplishments
in both this issue of the Independent and the next one. The column that follows was
written before her passing, but I wanted to include it as a tribute because I
feel that it speaks to the heart of who Jan was as well as what she did.
“Helping each other achieve and
succeed” is the motto of our organization. Jan Nathan embodied that credo, and
those of us charged with carrying on her work can do no less.
Thank you, Jan, for your counsel,
for your inspiration, for your immense contribution to publishing, for your
leadership and vision, for your sense of humor, for your laughter, for touching
and enriching so many lives . . . and for helping a small Indiana publisher.
We will miss you.
The Heart of the Matter
style=’font-size:11.0pt’>Volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they just
have the heart.—Elizabeth Andrew
style=’font-size:11.0pt’>If you think you are too small to be effective, you
have never been in bed with a mosquito.—Betty Reese
As I write this, we are nearing the
end of our association’s fiscal year and my first year as your president;
2006–2007 has been a challenging, exhilarating, forward-moving, and
forward-thinking time for PMA. I will report specific accomplishments in a
State of the Association column.
But not this one.
This one isn’t about current
initiatives, upcoming programs, innovative strategic planning, or new ways to
market your books.
It’s about thank-you. Thank you to
the volunteers and others who willingly and unselfishly give their time to the
cause of independent publishing and the Independent Book Publishers
Association. This organization would not exist without the hundreds of
dedicated professionals who labor not for financial reward but to help us all
“achieve and succeed” in the sometimes frustrating, often challenging, but
always rewarding world of publishing.
To the gracious, selfless,
clear-thinking, hard-working board of directors, for whom no task is too large,
no detail too small, and no cow too sacred—thank you for your friendship and
loyalty, your unfailing senses of humor, and most of all for the privilege of
working with you. My hat is off to Peter Bannon, Sports Publishing, LLC;
Marianne Bohr, National Book Network; Cevin Bryerman, <span
Steve Carlson, Upper Access; Kassahun Checole, Africa World Press; David Cole,
Bay Tree Publishing; Rod Colvin, Addicus Books; Bob Goodman, Silvercat; Maggie
Lichtenberg, Open Heart Publishing; Sally Neher, Baker & Taylor; Rudy Shur,
Square One Publishing; Carlene Sippola, Whole Person Associates; and Kent
Sturgis, Epicenter Press and past president.
To the industry professionals who
have generously donated their expertise to Publishing University
Online—thanks to the following for giving time and support to this
exciting new program: Jonathan Kirsch, Brian Jud, Peggy Sansevieri, Kate
Bandos, Paulette Ensign, Robin Bartlett, Tom Woll, Mary Ellen Lepionka, Peter
Bowerman, Kathi Dunn, Marion Gropen, and Andy Norwood.
To the more than 140 organizers
and presenters of another informative and exhilarating Publishing University
that just wrapped up in New York—kudos to each and every one of you for
sharing your knowledge and experience with the hundreds of new and not-so-new
publishers who looked to you for answers, insights, and guidance. They were not
disappointed. The energy and creativity in the classrooms, the hallways and
special events were palpable—and it was your efforts that made it happen.
To the volunteer organizers and
presenters of the educational program for midsize publishers, Publishing
University “Graduate School,” that took place concurrently with Publishing
University—thank you for devoting your energy and skill to the successful
kickoff of what we anticipate will be many more programs and benefits for our
midsize members. A special thank-you to past president Don Tubesing for lending
his guidance to this event.
To all the past presidents of the
Independent Book Publishers Association—thank you for your previous
service and current participation. Your collective wisdom and institutional
memory are invaluable and critical components of our future.
To the staff of our association
who do whatever it takes to get the job done and then do more—thank you
to Executive Director Jan Nathan, whose inspiration, wisdom, and guidance were
unparalleled; and to Director Terry Nathan, whose support, energy, ability, and
devotion are second to none. Thank you to Lisa Krebs, Susan Nicoletti, Andrea
Nathan, and the others who work so hard on behalf of us all, including Judith
Appelbaum, Editor at Large; Robin Bartlett, PMA University Education Chair; and
Jonathan Kirsch, our association’s attorney. All these folks give far more than
Finally, my thanks to you, our
members, for your loyalty, your endless flow of original ideas, your
participation in the national and affiliate groups, and most of all for your
heart. Your willingness to ask one another, “Can I help you?” is the strength
of this organization and the legacy of its extraordinary founder. We will honor
Jan Nathan by continually strengthening and growing the organization she led so
ably and with such vision. And with your guidance, we look forward to an
exciting, productive, and profitable future.
My virtual door is always
open—I encourage you to share your comments, thoughts, and ideas by
emailing me at email@example.com.