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PRESIDENT’S REPORT
To Support…To Represent…To Improve… Looking Ahead

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PRESIDENT’S REPORT

 

Florrie Binford Kichler

 

To Support . . .

To Represent . . .

To Improve . . .

Looking Ahead

 

Handwritten in indelible
marker on poster paper taped to a conference room wall:

 

<span
style=’font-size:11.0pt’>The mission of PMA, the Independent Book Publishers
Association, is to support and represent a thriving book-publishing community
and to improve the standards of independent publishing.

 

While your new board of directors
met for a day and a half in August to determine focus areas and a work plan for
our association in the upcoming 12 months, those words on the wall reminded us
of the goals to use in assessing all programs, benefits, and activities.

 

Here is a summary of the areas in
which your volunteer board will be working to support you through innovative
programs and benefits, represent and advocate for you in the industry, and
provide you with education to improve both your publications and your business
practices.

 

Focus: Membership Programs
and Benefits

 

Marketing Programs

 

Most of you have taken advantage
of the many cooperative marketing programs PMA offers, including Direct Mail,
Target Marketing, and Trade Show Exhibits. The goal for 2006–2007 is to
improve and refine current offerings, and begin developing new ones. The plan
of action is to:

 

·      Examine current marketing programs

·      Determine what is and what is not
working effectively

·      Survey members as to which
programs are being used (or not)

·      Develop an ongoing process for
review

 

Steve Carlson of Upper Access,
Inc., is chair of the Marketing Programs Committee.

 

Member Benefits

 

Our member benefits now number
more than 20 and save our members thousands of dollars each year. The goal for
2006–2007 is to continue exploring new opportunities and reviewing
current benefits for renegotiation. The plan of action is to:

 

·      Survey members regarding benefit
use

·      Develop a procedure for review of
benefits on a revolving basis

·      Keep members informed of current
benefits through monthly email

·      Identify new benefits to pursue
and vet those that are offered

 

Rudy Shur of Square One Publishers
is chair of the Benefits Committee.

 

Special Interest Groups
(SIGs)

 

Special Interest Groups serve as
virtual affiliates, giving members the ability to organize and communicate by
genre rather than region. The Academic and Educational SIG is up and running.
The goal for 2006–2007 is to encourage the formation of new SIGs and
provide support for those in place. The plan of action is to:

 

·      Develop guidelines for SIG
membership

·      Identify and cultivate at least
one new SIG

 

Kassahun Checole of Africa World
Press is chair of the SIG Committee.

 

<span
style=’font-size:11.0pt’>Affiliates

 

PMA supports 28 regional
publishing organizations, offering members networking and educational
opportunities close to home. The goals for 2006–2007 are to continue
providing counsel, guidance, and education for our affiliates and to assist in
the development of new groups. The plan of action is to:

 

<span
style=’font-size:11.0pt;font-family:Symbol’>·      
Hold
the second annual Affiliate Leadership Retreat in spring 2007 to provide
education, training, and networking for affiliate directors

<span
style=’font-size:11.0pt;font-family:Symbol’>·      
Review
the executive director grant program to improve and increase effectiveness

<span
style=’font-size:11.0pt;font-family:Symbol’>·      
Improve
communication by initiating monthly informational email from the home office to
affiliates

 

Carlene Sippola of Whole Person
Associates is chair of the Affiliates Committee.

 

Focus: Education

 

Publishing University

 

Thousands of publishers and book
industry professionals have taken advantage of the professional knowledge and
networking this event offers. The goal for 2006–2007 is to evaluate the
future of the university, in terms of expansion, visibility, and structure,
among other things. The plan of action is to:

 

·      Investigate the competition and
determine how we can improve

·      Examine the future relationship of
the bricks-and-mortar university with Publishing University Online (see below)

·      Recommend general programming
direction

 

Rod Colvin of Addicus Books is
chair of the Publishing University Committee and will have help from board
members David Cole, Sally Neher, Marianne Bohr, Kassahun Checole, and Cevin
Bryerman.

 

Publishing University
Online

 

On September 20, more than 40
people participated in the premiere of your association’s online education
initiative from the comfort of their offices and/or homes and learned “How to
Build a Better Book Contract,” in a Webinar conducted by publishing—and
PMA—attorney Jonathan Kirsch and hosted by Terry Nathan. The first effort
to expand the boundaries of our educational offerings was an unqualified
success, and the goal for 2006–2007 is to build on that achievement. The
plan of action is to:

 

·      Develop a series of at least four
to six programs in the general areas of marketing, production, finance, and
technology

·      Make Publishing University Online
an ongoing component of the association’s educational mission

 

Frank Gromling of Ocean Publishing
is chair of Publishing University Online.

 

Midsize Publisher
Initiative

 

In line with positioning PMA, the
Independent Book Publishers Association, as an organization that supports both
beginning publishers and publishers with more mature companies, the goal for 2006–2007
is to expand educational programming and benefits to better serve our midsize
and more experienced members. The plan of action is to:

 

·      Plan and implement at least one
educational and networking event specifically for midsize members

·      Survey midsize and experienced
members to determine the content and format of events as well as general needs

 

Maggie Lichtenberg of Open Heart
Publishing is chair of the Midsize Publisher Initiative, assisted by Rudy Shur,
Marianne Bohr, Sally Neher, and Peter Bannon.

 

Regional Mini-Universities

 

For the past two years, the PMA
board has held at least one of its quarterly meetings in affiliates’ cities and
presented a day of educational seminars in partnership with the local
publishers group. As you read this, your board will be working with the St.
Louis Publishers Association to present a seminar there. The goal for
2006–2007 is to continue actively supporting our affiliates by taking
educational programs on the road. The plan of action is to:

 

·      Hold at least two Mini-Universities
per year

·      Develop a template of guidelines
for producing a Mini-University, and debriefing for continual refinement of the
events

 

Carlene Sippola, Affiliate chair,
and Bob Goodman will oversee the Regional Mini-University effort.

 

Focus: Advocacy

 

Your association’s task is not
only to support you from within but to also proactively protect your interests
in the larger universe of the publishing industry. The goal for 2006–2007
is for PMA to enhance recognition inside and outside the book publishing
industry as the voice of independent publishing and to influence change for the
benefit of our members. The plan of action is to:

 

·      Identify three to five key areas
in which to advocate for member interests

·      Determine methods for reaching
advocacy goals

 

Peter Bannon of Sagamore
Publishing Co. is chair of the Advocacy Committee.

 

Focus: Public Relations and
Marketing

 

To advocate effectively for our
members, our association must maintain visibility and credibility in the
publishing industry. The Benjamin Franklin Awards ceremony, sponsorship of
Small Press Month, and an ongoing campaign to communicate the wide variety of
PMA activities to the trade media are some examples of the avenues we pursue to
that end. Of course, it’s as important, if not more important, to ensure that
you, the members, are also aware of the efforts PMA is making on your behalf.
The goal for 2006–2007 is to continue improving efforts to communicate
PMA’s mission and accomplishments. The action plan is to:

 

·      Create a publicity plan that
addresses external (industry) and internal (membership) public relations

·      Assess the Benjamin Franklin
Awards ceremony with a view toward potential refinement, and determine ways to
get more media coverage for the program

·      Expand the subscription base of <span
class=95StoneSerifIt>PMA Independent

outside the association, especially to libraries

 

David Cole of Bay Tree Publishing
is chair of the Publicity Committee, assisted by Marianne Bohr, Rudy Shur, Lisa
Krebs, and Cevin Bryerman. Carlene Sippola and Rod Colvin are ad hoc members
concentrating on the Benjamin Franklin Awards ceremony.

 

Focus: Strategic Planning

 

In the rapidly changing world in
which we live and work, planning ahead is critical to avoid extinction. To
build on PMA’s 20-plus years of strength and ensure that the organization
continues supporting publishers for the next two decades and beyond, a
Strategic Planning Committee has accepted the challenge of creating a five-year
strategic plan by August 2007. The committee will include board members, past
presidents, and the executive director, and members will be announced soon. I
will chair the Strategic Planning Committee.

 

Focus: Finance

 

PMA remains financially healthy.
The goal for 2006–2007 is to maintain financial stability and steadily
increase the reserve fund. The plan of action is to:

 

·      Search for ways to increase
revenue in order to add programming that is affordable for members

·      Monitor and review the budget and
other financial matters on a quarterly basis

 

Peter Bannon is PMA’s treasurer.
The Finance Committee includes Peter, Jan Nathan, Terry Nathan, and me.

 

You and I are fortunate to have a
board of directors with the energy, creativity, and devotion to implement such
an ambitious agenda.

 

You and I and the board are
fortunate to have an association staff led by Jan Nathan that considers no
problem too small and no vision too large.

 

We are all fortunate to be members
of an association providing support, tools, and inspiration designed to
encourage a “thriving book publishing community” that strives not only to meet
but to exceed the standards of publishing excellence.

 

Watch for progress reports in this
column.

 

My virtual door is always
open—I encourage you to share your comments, thoughts, and ideas by
emailing me at fkichler@patriapress.com.

 

 

 

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