Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Small Press, Big Author, A BEA Story

For more commentary on Publishing University and BEA, go to or attend the BPNW meeting at Scott’s Bookstore in Mt. Vernon on June 15 at 4 pm.

Margaret Doyle, Port Gamble Publishing, submitted the following article. Doyle founded Port Gamble Publishing in 2004. She was the 2006 PMA Publishing University scholarship recipient, represented BPNW at Pub U this year, and will be the speaker at our June 15 meeting at Scott's Bookstore. More information on the meeting can be found in the newsletter. Click on the link on the right to download a PDF copy of the newsletter.

From Doyle:

One of the most inspiring conversations I heard was the lunchtime interview by Jan Nathan, Director of PMA, of Paul Coates, Publisher of Black Classic Press, and Walter Mosley, author of 19 books, among them, the “Easy Rawlins” mysteries.

Paul Coates related how he heard Walter Mosley challenge the mainstream publishing industry as being dominated by white men, racist in fact if not in intention. Coates went to a Walter Mosley reading to thank him for his brave comments to publishers, and Mosley told him he was looking for a small black press to publish his next work. Coates related that he’d identified himself for so long as a black press, that to think of his publishing company as a small, independent press, required a mental adjustment.

But Coates came to match Mosley’s integrity with his own courage in taking on a major author, whose print run would be in the hundreds of thousands. Coates’ second challenge came in figuring out the finances of publishing a well-known author and a large print run.

Where would Black Classic Press get the money for printing, staffing, and promotion of a Walter Mosley publication? When meeting with Mosley’s previous publishers, they made an offer of financial assistance, and Coates thought they should take it. But Mosley wanted the integrity of truly publishing through an independent press, so he refused their offer. Paul described it as a unique experience “of saying no to someone who’s larger than me.”

Nathan questioned, “What should an author expect, or not expect from an independent publisher?” Coates replied that the author can’t expect of lot of money up front.

From the author’s standpoint, the publisher needs to keep author “informed of everything you do,” Mosley said. “Writers don’t know anything about publishing,” and “it behooves the publishing industry to inform writers into the reality of their world,” he added. Authors must understand returns, royalties, and other intricacies of this complex industry.

When Nathan asked Coates if he’d repeat the experience with another best-selling author, his honest answer surprised me: “Probably not, the stress is not worth it. There’s millions in, millions out, and nobody’s getting paid.”

“If you want to make a lot of money, go into real estate,” Coates concluded, which is ironic for me as my day job providing internet and marketing services to a small real estate company provides the ongoing budget in support of my publishing ventures.

However, Coates described the close friendship and respect that developed between Mosley and himself; a friendship that goes beyond royalties and best-seller lists. Coates did publish Mosley’s next book, What Next, a collection of social and political essays. Mosley felt that going with a major publisher would limit his freedom to express himself, so he again chose to work with Black Classic Press in 2003.

When Mosley was asked if he was disappointed that other successful black authors didn’t choose to support smaller black publishers; his response brought applause: “I’m disappointed in the same way I’m disappointed with the United States being in Iraq.” He clarified his statement by adding that we as a nation are experiencing two ideas at war: democracy and capitalism.

I can’t remember if it was Mosley or Coates who said, “If something is true and you know it’s true, you have to take an action.” But I do know that it’s an ideal that publishers as a class aspire to communicate; and that the brotherhood that Coates and Mosley found in their publishing relationship is one that I’ve seen played out over and over as members of the publishing profession help each other achieve and succeed.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Franca's Story Receives Two Awards at BEA

Franca's Story: Survival in World War II Italy won the Publishers Marketing Association’s Benjamin Franklin gold award for best interior design of a book using 1-2 colors. Seattle designers Peggy Zafarana and Lautaro Gabriel Gonda worked with author Diane Kinman on the book, published by Wimer Publishing Company of Mercer Island, WA.

The book also received ForeWord Magazine’s Silver Award: 2005 Book of the Year for Autobiography/Memoir. Kinman's debut memoir is based on the true story of her friend, Mercer Island artist Franca Mercati Martin, who helped her family and 300 elderly citizens live through the trauma of WWII in northern Italy. It provides a window into a fascinating time and an intriguing family determined to survive amidst increasing devastation and loss.

Librarians and booksellers across the U.S. selected ForeWord’s winners from 1,500 entries and 613 finalists. “The books were all wonderful,” said librarian Angela O’Kane. “It was hard to narrow it down.” Entries were judged on criteria including originality, writing and production quality, and patron/customer interest in the subject matter. Award announcements were made during ceremonies at the Book Expo of America held May 18-21, 2006, at the Washington, D.C., Convention Center. Book Expo of America is the largest trade show for the book industry in the U.S.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Pioneer Distribution: Nonprofit Fulfillment Service

Looking for local fulfillment help?

At a recent BPNW meeting, Kent Sturgis of Epicenter Press (“Alaska Book Adventures”) recommended a warehouse/fulfillment center for publishers large and small. Sturgis said he likes doing business with the Pioneer Distribution Center at 606 S.Othello St. for three reasons.

First, Pioneer is a division of Pioneer Human Services, founded in 1963, a not-for-profit company that puts to work people from what a spokesman called “the fringes of society,” including reformed alcoholics and drug addicts, parolees, and others who want to turn their lives around.

Second, Sturgis said the prices are very competitive. “I don’t believe we could find this level of service anywhere else for the price,” he said.

Third, the company strongly emphasizes quality control, with an error rate under 1%. Sturgis found out about Pioneer from Sasquatch, which has warehoused and shipped books from Pioneer for several years. Pioneer is interested in serving publishers ranging from the Sasquatch and Epicenter size down to the “one pallet” publishers.

For more information, contact David Lawson at (206)768-5151 or email the company at For more information about Pioneer Human Services, visit

PNBA Wants Author Proposals For Fall Trade Show

Dear Publishers, Publicists and Reps:

It’s time to send PNBA your author proposals for the fall show, which will be October 12-14 at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland.

Our shows are a terrific opportunity to introduce, or reintroduce,your books and authors to hundreds of booksellers from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Alaska and Montana.

Authors who appear at our shows get invited to speak and sign in NW bookstores, win PNBA awards, and find their books on the Book Sense Picks lists and the Pacific NW Indie Bestseller lists.

Deadline for proposals is June 30.


Please request author proposal forms from:
Jamie Passaro
PNBA Executive Assistant
317 W. Broadway, Ste. 214
Eugene, OR 97401
Tel: 541-683-4363, Fax: 541-683-3910
2006 Fall Show: Thursday - Saturday, October 12-14,
Oregon Convention Center, Portland

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

May 18 Meeting: Printing Outside United States

Is it cheaper to print in the United States, Canada, or Asia? Learn how the decision depends on the job and the best ways to save money on a project. Representatives from Amica (with printing plants in Asia) and Richard Thomas of Hemlock (based in Canada) discuss how to handle international printing projects with local book publishers.

The meeting takes place on May 18 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Good Shepherd Center, 4649 Sunnyside N., Room 221. For more information, see or e-mail (voice mail # 941-6514).

This session is FREE for 2006 BPNW Members (membership is counted by company so more than one person from a company is welcome to attend for free). Nonmembers are welcome. There will be a nonmember fee of $15 per person for this session.

CALL FOR BOOKS: Have you printed a project outside the United States in the last year? Bring your book to this meeting and share your story. A display of books printed outside the United States will be set up for this meeting.