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The Gift that Keeps on Giving:
A report on a first journey through PMA U

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Attending Publishing University and BEA in Chicago last year was one of the greatest gifts I’ve given myself in my 20-year writing career.

I had always heard and read, “When your book goes out-of-print be sure to get all rights reverted back to you.” So, after learning that Prentice-Hall Inc. had decided to let my book Big Bulletin Boards: A CooperativeApproach go out-of-print, I immediately took action to secure all rights. The book had been in print for 10 years, selling more than 16,000 copies to teachers worldwide.

I successfully obtained all rights to my book and then asked, “What now?”


Full Speed Ahead
with a New Edition

Maybe, I thought, I should bring out a second edition. Only some minor changes were needed. I researched the marketplace for bulletin board books for teachers and still found none with the same unique concept. So I decided that it would be a new challenge to journey into the world of publishing. Without much more thought, I followed Mark Ortman’s book, A Simple Guide to Self-Publishing, and ordered my ISBN, LC, and barcode. I began getting price quotes from six different printers for a 3,000-copy print run. When I finished with the revisions and additions, I bravely chose Malloy Inc. as my printer, hired a graphic designer, and soon delivered camera-ready copy.

Then, again, I asked, “What now?”

I had never been a publisher, nor had I ever written $lumrketing or business plan. I was desperately in need of a crash course in publishing. Most amazingly, at my local Book Publishers Northwest meeting, I heard about Publishing University and PMA. I had joined BPNW earlier in the year just to learn about the possibility of publishing my own books. Now the members were telling me that Publishing University and PMA had helped hugely in launching their publishing careers.


Crazy about the Crash Courses

In just three short days at PMA U, I learned the dos and don’ts of publishing, marketing, writing business plans, publicity, using the Internet, book design, sales, editing, business laws, distribution, and more. I was inspired by so many successful, small publishers from across the nation, the superb speakers, and talented workshop leaders. Everyone exemplified the PMA motto, “Helping each other to achieve and succeed.” People genuinely expressed interest and gave their time and attention to help me.

It was difficult to select only one workshop for each session from the wide assortment of topics I wanted to learn about, but I got information about each one in the notebook all attendees receive. Nearly five inches thick, this notebook alone will help anyone launch a publishing career, advance a publishing business, and succeed.

What a gift this has been! I refer to the PMA notebook constantly. The contacts I made at Publishing University were incredible and all that I learned gives me a valuable foundation as I begin my new publishing company, Hide and Seek Press.


A Deal for Copies
Hot Off the Press

If you have never attended Publishing University, I encourage you to make plans to attend this year. Give yourself a great gift and be sure to join PMA and take advantage of the amazing benefits offered to you as a small publisher. I just received another gift last week when I shipped 1,526 copies of the brand-new second edition of Big Bulletin Boards: A Cooperative Approach to IPG for distribution and received a 58% discount from Consolidated Freight. Wow! What a savings!


“What Now?”

It’s back to my Publishing University notebook and following my marketing plan. I am going to present workshops to teachers, write articles for magazines, promote, publicize, and keep attending PMA events to network and learn from its wonderful members. My very own Web site www.hideandseekpress.com has just been launched. Check it out and share it with your teacher friends. I would never have had the courage to do what I’ve done without Publishing U and PMA.

Hope to see you at Publishing University this year!


Karen Robbins is a nationally published author, publisher, book designer, and speaker. She holds a master’s degree in education and is a former elementary teacher and college instructor. Robbins was also “Miss Karen” of Romper Room in Rochester, New York. She lives in Seattle, Washington.

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