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The Optimism of the Independent Publisher

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Each day we receive at least 100 calls at the PMA office, and books constantly stream into the office, so I find it astounding that we still discover unique, exciting, fun, and informative books that truly cover subjects that haven’t been covered before.

Of course, each person who publishes a book thinks it’s a unique product. You’d better think that way or you shouldn’t be publishing. But I guarantee that if I fill a room with independent publishers, 80 percent of them will be optimists; 10 percent will be true believers; and the other 10 percent will waver between those categories.

Since March is Small Press Month, a celebration of independent presses in the United States, I encourage you all to share your optimism throughout the month with the retailers, media, and other publishers with whom you come in contact. Who knows what may happen!


Some of us love change (I’m one of those) and some can live with it but want it to occur slowly; then there are the others, those who like to let roots grow and always keep the status quo. It’s what makes our world such an interesting place in which to dwell and work.

As you can see, we have just changed our newsletter’s name. Now, how many of you had to turn back to the front cover to notice that change? I hope not many, since I think that Francie Droll and John Webster of Abacus Graphics did a spectacular job of keeping the old feel and giving us a new logo.

We ran a contest for the new name, and many members come up with variations on the one that was chosen, but the first person to enter the contest with Independent was, interestingly enough, from the Center for Innovative Language Learning in Washington, D.C., Stephen Thompson. So, to you, Stephen, PMA awards a prize–free attendance on all three days at this year’s Publishing University in New York City. We all look forward to meeting and applauding a person who helped PMA change!

While paging through the suggested name changes, I saw some that were serious (Practicum; The Colophon; I Publish: News for and by Independent Publishers) and many that were funny (Diminishing Returns; ROP or RIP; Literally Speaking; Hairline Rules). It wasn’t easy to select one that we could all agree upon. And, after reading 14 pages of suggestions, I now know why so many of you have chosen publishing as your life’s work. Creativity abounds.

Our chosen name says in one word what we are, Independent…in our publishing…in our thoughts…in our beliefs that there is definitely room in this ever-more-crowded universe for yet another book that will attract many readers.

So throughout this month, let’s all celebrate our uniqueness, our optimism, and our independent selves!

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