Category: PubWest Announcements

Best Practices Survey

We are excited to present you with an updated PubWest Best Practices Survey! This is not your typical publishing industry survey. For starters, we’re interested in capturing data about PubWest’s base-that is, small- and medium-sized book publishers. We’ve also created a survey that won’t require you to look up any spreadsheets or add up any figures. Instead, we believe the most useful information in any survey of the publishing industry is found in the responses to open-ended questions.
A link to the survey is provided here; please complete the form online and submit it by November 16, 2017.
All survey responses will be anonymous, and the information you provide will not be shared outside of this survey. You can opt out of any question. When we share the results, we will use your answers about net sales and the categories in which you publish, for example, to inform our analysis of different parts of our complex industry. We will also share verbatim responses to many open-ended questions, which we hope will stimulate new ideas among PubWest publisher members. We also look forward to sharing with you the data we gather on such topics as average salaries for various job titles.
Thanks in advance for the time you take out of your busy day to complete this survey. Next year it will be even more efficient, because we’ll reissue the survey with this year’s responses in place-making it easy for you to update your answers as necessary-along with a new section for more specific, timely inquiries. We hope the PubWest Best Practices Survey will become a regular and valued part of the services PubWest offers its publisher members.


Portland State University and Ooligan Press will be the third-party collector and analyzer of the PubWest Best Practices Survey. Data from the survey will be analyzed and then released back to PubWest members to further gauge and inform publishing practice.

Jack W. Swanson Scholarship Next Generation Campaign

PubWest launches GoFundMe campaign to support the next generation of publishing professionals

PubWest announced today that it is launching a GoFundMe “Next Generation Campaign” to raise money for the Jack W. Swanson Scholarship to help aspiring publishers thrive in the publishing industry. The “Next Generation Campaign” GoFundMe site is now live and can be accessed at PubWest’s goal is to raise enough funds for the Jack W. Swanson Scholarship to send five scholarship recipients to the annual Conference in Pasadena on February 15–17, 2018. Donations of any size are welcomed.

“PubWest firmly believes in the future of publishing, and as a long-standing trade association, one of our central roles is to promote publishing as a lifelong profession,” said Kent Watson, Executive Director of PubWest. Since 2013, PubWest has sponsored the Jack W. Swanson Scholarship, which is designed to bring book publishing interns or first- and second-year publishing-house employees, free of charge, to the PubWest annual Conference to network and learn from other publishing professionals and well-known keynote speakers. PubWest has named this year’s fundraising drive the Next Generation Campaign. “The career trajectory of past scholarship recipients has been incredible, and this year we decided to extend our fundraising outreach to all industry professionals who want to support the next publishing generation,” added Watson.

“In 2014 I transitioned from a career in nonprofit management and fundraising into a new line of work—publishing. I did everything I could to learn about publishing: I read books, took online classes, talked with people I knew in the business—and then I found PubWest,” said Sarah Gorecki from Sounds True. “As a Swanson Scholarship recipient, I was able to attend the annual conference and once there I made friends who were also holding down a one-person publishing shop. I met other publishing professionals who I could call on as mentors. I attended useful conference sessions, which helped me do my job better. In short, I found a community. I’m now working as a managing editor at a larger publishing company (Sounds True, Inc.) and running a small editorial freelance business (Outdoor Prose, LLC) in my spare time. PubWest—and the Jack W. Swanson scholarship—helped me to get here! I’m thrilled to now be a board member of PubWest and helping to raise funds so that other young publishers can benefit from the PubWest Conference.”

“I had been searching for an organization like PubWest for a long time, and being part of PubWest has made all the difference for me as an academic and the owner of a small publishing company,” said Rachel Noorda, co-founder and Editorial Director of ThunderStone Books. “Because of the Jack W. Swanson Scholarship, I forged academic connections that also led to being offered a full-time position as a Senior Instructor in book publishing at Portland State University. In PubWest, I found a community of book publishers who were willing and able to support each other, particularly in extending kindness and wisdom to the owner of a small, young company. From the inspiring and witty keynotes to the eye-opening and detail-oriented workshops, I came away from my inaugural PubWest conference with new ideas and relationships that continue to impact my company and academic career,” added Noorda.

Jack W. Swanson was passionate about publishing—and railroads. He and his wife, Doris, started their regional house Rail Ventures Publishing in 1982. Their lead title, also titled Rail Ventures, featured a mile-by-mile travelogue of every major passenger rail route in North America. Its seventh and last edition was published in 1996 by Travis Ilse Publishers. Swanson died in 1997.

The Jack W. Swanson Scholarship was originally funded in 2013 from the sale of rights from Rail Ventures and by private donations from PubWest members. The scholarship covers full conference tuition, travel, lodging, conference intensives, and other optional events. Mark Ouimet is a member of the PubWest Board of Directors who is spearheading the fundraising efforts. “I have been incredibly lucky to spend my entire working career in the book and publishing industry,” said Mark Ouimet, Vice President and General Manager of Ingram Publisher Services, Publishers Group West and Consortium Book Sales and Distribution, “and by serving on the PubWest Board of Directors and helping to promote the Jack W. Swanson ‘Next Generation Campaign’, I have a unique opportunity to support other aspiring publishers as they gain a foothold in this unique industry.”

Please donate now by clicking on this link

To learn more about the Jack W. Swanson scholarship, click here.

PubWest President’s Letter to Membership

Dear PubWest members,

The board of directors held its quarterly meeting in Denver on August 3, and I am pleased to send everyone an update on the activities of our organization.

First off, we’ve seen substantial infrastructure improvement. We recently bought Kent a new computer and a larger monitor, and he’s now a very happy executive director. We also upgraded our FileMaker software, allowing members to access their own directory listing online and make updates. This is a big change from the past, where many, many emails were exchanged and hours spent just so the printed directory could be made perfect (and it never was). Now, throughout the year, your company’s changes to staff or contact information can be instantly updated. The other big infrastructure change is that Amanda Broder was hired as our new administrative assistant. Sophie Aschwanden accepted a new full-time position as a designer at Pomegranate Communications. We have one other infrastructure expense coming up—extending our trademark registration for another five years. Put all of this together and it’s like we installed a new engine in our classic ’77 Corvette. Vroom, vroom!

The conference is less than six months away (February 15–17 in Pasadena, CA), and we are excited about the lineup of speakers and programs. The theme is “Raising Voices: Creating a Vibrant Publishing Future.” During the planning meetings, there has been a lot of talk about diversity and how we can incorporate it into the program. We want to bring in new ideas and stretch beyond our comfort zones.

The recipient(s) of this year’s Rittenhouse Award have been decided and will be announced soon. The winners of the Design Awards are being promoted. And we’re about to launch a crowdfunding campaign to fully fund the Jack W. Swanson Scholarship. Speaking of awards, if your company is the recipient of one, be sure to send Kent a note about it and we’ll include it in the weekly newsletter.

Pub501 is chugging along. The first online course (Title Profit & Loss, with Doug Pfeiffer) is in the final editing stages; it would have been done by now, but our volunteer chief production editor (Per Henningsgaard) moved to Australia to build a publishing program at Curtin University in Perth. Kent and a team of talented online instructors are working on scheduling and implementing courses two, three, and four.

In other news, we conducted one survey in the spring, and are getting ready to survey the membership again in the fall. We not only want to see how happy everyone is with PubWest, but we also need insight as to how better serve our members—and to see how our businesses are doing with a quick snapshot into the financial side of book publishing. There are also several happy hour gatherings, webinars, and roundtables being planned for the next four months.

Yes, a lot is going on. For some of you, it may have been a quiet post-conference period. But I suspect that you won’t feel that way during the next six months. Keep reading the email newsletter, because that is where we post all of the events—some for business, some for fun, but always engaging. And if I don’t see you before then, see you in Pasadena!


Bill Fessler

President, PubWest Board of Directors

Thank You, PubWest Conference Sponsors!

PubWest 2015 Conference logo

PubWest is grateful to the many publishing industry partners and Associate members who have generously sponsored the 2015 PubWest Conference:

Asia Pacific Offset
C-M Books
Edwards Brothers Malloy
Firebrand Technologies
The Fisher Company
Foreword Reviews
Jamison Design
MetaComet Systems
Phoenix Color
Total Printing Systems

all logos 2

Your company can become a PubWest Conference Sponsor!

Learn more at


PubWest 2015 Conference: Apply Now for the Jack W. Swanson Scholarship

PubWest 2015 Conference logo 400 x 500Swanson Legacy Makes the PubWest Conference Affordable for a Junior Staffer

The Jack W. Swanson Scholarship was established in 2013 to bring book publishing interns or first- or second-year publishing-house employees to a PubWest conference. The scholarship is funded from the sale of rights and by royalties from Rail Ventures and by private donations from PubWest members who wish to encourage the next generation of book publishers.

The scholarship covers full conference tuition travel, lodging, conference intensives, and other optional events. Only one applicant will be chosen for the scholarship each Conference. Other scholarships may be awarded, but recipients will need to cover their own travel, lodging, conference intensives, or other optional events.

To apply for the scholarship to PUBWEST 2015, send a letter of introduction explaining your professional/academic background and why you’re interested in a book-publishing career, along with a letter of support from one professional or academic reference.

Please send applications to: Scholarship Committee, PubWest, 17501 Hill Way, Lake Oswego, OR 97035.

Applications must be received by January 15, 2015.


Take a closer look at all the 2015 PubWest Conference programming, schedules, speakers, and pricing here.

REGISTER TODAY for the 2015 PubWest Conference!



Go West: PubWest Conference Travel Info

PubWest 2015 Conference logo 400 x 500Join us at the Westin in sunny Pasadena for the 2015 Conference!

Getting to the 2015 PubWest Conference is a snap! Here’s some info on transportation and lodging we hope you find helpful while planning your trip.


BURBANK AIRPORT (BUR) Major airlines serve the Burbank Airport, just thirteen miles from the Westin Pasadena, and rental cars are readily available.

LOS ANGELES INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (LAX) The Los Angeles International airport is just 27 miles from the Westin Pasadena.


Super Shuttle: Local LAX Reservations (310) 782-6600 (800) BLUE VAN (800-258-3826)

The Super Shuttle rate from Burbank Airport to The Westin Pasadena is $23.00 (one person) and $9.00 for each additional passenger. From Los Angeles International Airport to The Westin Pasadena it is $30.00 (one person) and $9.00 for each additional passenger Exclusive Super Shuttle Non-Stop Van Service $85.00 (one to seven passengers) Maximum number of passengers is seven for all Super Shuttle Vans


City Cab: Tel # 888-CITY CAB Yellow Cab: Tel # 877-733-3305

The average Taxi Cab rate from Burbank Airport to The Westin Pasadena is $45.00-$50.00 depending on traffic.

Los Angeles International to The Westin Pasadena is about $90.00 depending on traffic.

Black Car: Tel #818-707-1919

One way from Hotel to LAX $87.00 + 20% gratuity = $104.00.

One way from Hotel to BUR $57.00 + 20% gratuity = $68.00

This is provided for informational purposes only and pricing is not guaranteed. All rates are subject to change.


Enjoy some of the finest views of the San Gabriel Mountains and the Pasadena area from The Westin Pasadena, or step out to partake in the colorful spirit of downtown. Shoppers and food-lovers alike will revel in the remarkable range of options surrounding the hotel. Just a few minutes on foot, the Paseo Colorado features premier dining and retail outlets plus a cinema. Less than a mile away, historic Old Pasadena’s charming storefronts house 200 shops plus a wide array of restaurants and nightspots. Complimentary amenities include Wi-Fi throughout the hotel, a fitness center, an outdoor heated swimming pool, and a business center.


A block of rooms at a deeply discounted price has been reserved for PubWest 2015 attendees. There are a limited number of rooms in the PubWest block, so make your reservations soon! Please support the association by staying at the show hotel. Not only will you be on site for all of our conference happenings, but you’ll also get a discount on your conference fees.


For Single or Double Occupancy, Traditional Rooms: $139 per night, plus tax. These special conference guest room rates will also apply three days before and three days after the official conference dates, based on availability, so you can combine business trips, take a little time for rest and relaxation, or get out and do some exploring in Pasadena at a reduced rate.

Westin Pasadena, 191 North Los Robles, Pasadena, California 91101


Call Westin Reservations line at 1-800-937-8461 (1-800-Westin1). Please be sure to specify that you are with PubWest to receive our rate. Reservations hours are Monday through Friday, 7:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. (Mountain); Saturday, 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. (Mountain); and Sunday, 9:00 a.m. Until 5:00 p.m. (Mountain).


Go to and click on the hotel reservation link.


Take a closer look at all the 2015 PubWest Conference programming, schedules, speakers, and pricing here.

REGISTER TODAY for the 2015 PubWest Conference!

Find travel info for the 2015 PubWest Conference here.



PubWest Conference 2015: Find Your Niche on Saturday Afternoon

PubWest 2015 Conference logo 400 x 500Finding Your Niche and a Variety of Renaissance Sessions

Luncheon Plenary: “Finding a Niche in the Book Business No One Knew Existed”

Presenter: Thatcher Wine, Founder Juniper Books

The book world is full of possibilities and there is no one “right” way to run a bookstore or sell books online. When Thatcher started out in the book business thirteen years ago, he didn’t have a master plan to do all the things Juniper Books does with books today. It’s been an evolution driven by a creative desire to do things that that world has never seen before combined with wanting to be successful and provide products that customers really want, need and are willing to pay for! Thatcher will talk about his experiences creating a variety of niche book products for non-traditional niche markets over the years and how overall success is all about being creative and listening to customers and the marketplace.

Afternoon Renaissance Sessions

These cross-training sessions give you a chance to explore information outside of your specialty. There are two sessions to choose from in each time slot.

The Self-Publishing Opportunity for Publishers

Bowker says self-published print and ebook titles have grown over 400% in the past 5 years, contributing 458,000 new titles in 2013. Most of these books won’t sell more than 250 copies, but this fertile ground of nascent authors and new ideas is rich with opportunity for nimble small publishers. This session will explore ways to hire self-published authors and turn their pet project into a discoverable, sellable title that can add to your established publishing program. An experience panel including an acquisitions editor, author agent, sales and marketing pro, a blogger, and an author will present each angle of this new source of authors and content. Just as the Big Houses have turned to recruiting self-published authors, smaller publishers can turn this industry shift into an opportunity instead of a threat to their business model.

New Ways to Sell to Your Readers

Selling your books directly to your consumers is a highly profitable sales channel that decreases your reliance on increasingly powerful retailers. By owning your own customer list, you can promote titles and authors based on customers’ interests. This panel discussion will feature three new DTC service providers that boast unique ways to reach consumers, raise revenue, increase profit, and build your customer list.

Hollywood Stars Game Showdown

Did you visit all of the PubWest 2015 exhibitors and collect your Hollywood Star stickers? Now compete for a chance to win a free PubWest 2016 conference registration, as well as many other prizes donated by the vendors!

Plenary: The Business of Creativity

Publishing is a highly creative business. We all work with creative authors and others to produce one of a kind original publishing projects. How can we find ways to reinvent, reconfigure, and redraw the creative process that can bring us to our best? From the first word, to editing, to design and production, to publicity, marketing, and sales…the ineffable must be conjured, and the artful transmission to bring a book to its moment of publication is to be regarded as a journey of dedication and triumph.

Speedy Spiels (plenary)

Expeditious expositions, brief brainstorms, the buzz in brief, spilling the beans, little low downs, lively low downs, short and to the point, short and sweet, in a nutshell, light bulbs and sparks, four-minute morsels. We’ve all heard the proverb that the best things come in small packages. It follows that thought-provoking viewpoints and shared experience can be the most valuable when presented concisely. “Speedy Spiels” is lively, engaging, and chock-full of useful information—not to mention a boatload of fun!

Chistopher Kenneally of Copyright Clearance Center will moderate this second edition PubWest session will feature nine speakers; each will have a maximum of four minutes to share something they’ve found helpful in their publishing experience. A range of subjects is bound to be explored: acquisitions, editing, design, marketing, sales, finance, and management. The topics might include such tidbits as a new trick that saves time when editing a manuscript online, a creative way to handle a challenging writer, a marketing campaign that had surprising results, or a personal story about a rewarding publishing career. If you would like to participate, please send your name and four-minute topic to Kent ( at PubWest by Friday January 2, 2014. Once all submissions are received, the conference committee will review the speakers and suggested topics. The committee will determine the speaker order and tell speakers when in the lineup they will present. A PowerPoint projector will be available, and each speaker can provide up to two PowerPoint slides for their four-minute spiel.

Annual PubWest Party

An evening to unwind and spend time sharing insights gained from the previous three days. Join us for a dinner buffet and live music by Brazilian guitarist Capital Guitar. Don’t miss this last chance to connect with fellow conference attendees and relax before returning to the office. We thank Ingram Content Group for sponsoring the party!


Take a closer look at all the 2015 PubWest Conference programming, schedules, speakers, and pricing here.

REGISTER TODAY for the 2015 PubWest Conference!



PubWest Conference 2015: Expand Your Worldview with The Addams Family!

PubWest 2015 Conference logo 400 x 500The Addams Family (really!) and Renaissance Sessions Will Expand Your Worldview

Plenary Session: “The Addams Family: An Evilution…in Publishing”

Speaker: Kevin Miserocchi, executive director of the Tee and Charles Addams Foundation

Writer and producer Kevin Miserocchi will discuss his own evolution in guiding the publication of books of Charles Addams’s cartoons. Starting out with one of the New York Big Five, Kevin found the experience frustrating and eventually found his way to a small publisher, where a strong and beneficial collaboration developed. Acutely aware of the important role publishing plays in sustaining the Addams legacy, Kevin also directs the Foundation in broadening the awareness of the artist’s life and work—on Broadway and in film, museum, and community events. Kevin Miserocchi is the executive director of the Tee and Charles Addams Foundation. As the guardian of the archives of Charles Addams’s inimitable cartoons (including but not limited to The Addams Family ), he has produced books, a Broadway musical, museum exhibitions, community events, and a film (currently in progress), furthering the work of Addams and the Foundation. His experience with expanding the “brand” of Addams includes foreign rights, contracts, working with “creatives,” and initiating all the various venue and media opportunities that keep Addams’s cartoons in the public consciousness.


Morning Renaissance Sessions

These cross-training sessions give you a chance to explore information outside of your specialty. There are two sessions to choose from in each time slot.

Libraries and Technology

Libraries are hubs of technology. Some have created their own solutions to overcome issues with restrictions placed around the lending of ebooks. These solutions use open source software, and apply DRM to titles that they purchase directly from publishers and lend out to participating libraries. It’s a huge change in how publishers work with libraries. Many smaller independent presses love the opportunity to sell directly to libraries, not having to work through a middleman. As a small to medium sized publisher this session will explain how to work closer with libraries and technology. Plus, you will learn how to court the library media trade and target academic libraries with your titles.

Can-Do Technology: Solutions for Better Business Workflow

Even those of us who are doing a good job of organizing—projects, accounts, schedules, finances, you name it—might benefit from the experience of Jeff Stafford. Formerly the general manager of Communication Arts magazine for eight years—and its technology director for nine years prior—he’s well versed in the challenges that computers, employees, and communication can pose. In this session, Stafford will address such issues as:

  • Plan your company’s technical future: Publishers need a forward-thinking technical strategy to succeed. You
  • don’t need to be a techie to know what your IT needs are. Create a plan using simple methods to find solutions for your business objectives.
  • Utilize cloud-based services: From Google Drive to Dropbox, learn how to choose the right ones to meet your needs and budget. Know when it’s best to use online services instead of on-premise software and hardware.
  • Take a crowdsourcing approach to collaboration and productivity in-house: Keeping your staff organized and efficient takes time. Find out how to make the job easier. Create a collaborative environment where communications and information sharing grows organically.
  • Make your systems run better through policies and practices: The more variables there are, the harder it is to solve a problem. Why computer-use policies are needed and how unifying your technology systems can increase efficiency.

Jeff Stafford is a business and technology consultant in the San Francisco Bay Area. Formally the technology director and general manager of Communication Arts magazine, Jeff now helps small companies utilize technology to improve just about every aspect of their businesses. A son of a pressman, Jeff started his career as a pre-press consultant, helping publishers adapt to digital systems at the beginning of the desktop publishing era. He went on to co-found Smetts Stafford Media, a design firm specializing in interactive platforms. Jeff has worked with publishers such as Lonely Planet, Ten Speed Press, Yoga Journal and Pomegranate Communications.


Take a closer look at all the 2015 PubWest Conference programming, schedules, speakers, and pricing here.

REGISTER TODAY for the 2015 PubWest Conference!



PubWest Conference Roundtables and a New “WeNote, Not Keynote”

PubWest 2015 Conference logo 400 x 500The PubWest Conference Will Feature Our First-Ever “WeNote”

Friday Afternoon, February 6

The Annual Membership and Business Meeting and Lunch will include an informative lunch seminar and the presentation of the Jack D. Rittenhouse Award, PubWest’s highest recognition of service to the book culture of the West.


Meet with your publishing peers and discuss issues and topics that are important to you. Build on discussions started in the morning sessions, share ideas, and tackle problems with new people. Roundtables run concurrently and are led by PubWest members. This year’s moderators are:

Editorial: Michael Greer, Pearson, Development by Design

Sales/Marketing: Patty O’Sullivan, Prospect Park Books

Production/Design: Tim Hewitt, Friesens Corporation

Financial/Administrative: Brad Farmer, Gibbs Smith Publisher


WeNote, not Keynote : An Open Discussion about Publishing Challenges in the Marketplace (plenary)

Join your colleagues in a unique plenary discussion on such driving issues as:


  • The Big A: Do you see Amazon as a destructive predator or a helpful partner? Has your relationship with Amazon changed in recent months? What steps are you taking to maximize benefits from selling (or not selling) to Amazon?
  • The Big B&N: Is Barnes & Noble’s business crucial to yours? Has the overhaul of their stores affected you in positive or negative ways? Are buyers’ communication channels open to you?
  • The Big Discounters: Wal-Mart, Costco, Target, Kmart—are these stores desirable partners for independent publishers?
  • Returns: Are they increasing, decreasing, staying level? How can we minimize them?
  • The Independents: How can we better partner with independent retailers?
  • Why We Publish: With retailers and writers adopting the function of publishers, what can we do to educate our customers and our communities about the vital function we publishers provide?
  • Anything Else! Find the form in your registration packet for submitting other topics for discussion.


Moderated by a panel of board members—Dave Trendler, Katie Burke, and Derek Lawrence—this WeNote session offers a unique opportunity to share information and ideas.


Happy Hour in the Exhibit Hall will be followed by a free evening at your leisure!

Enjoy a stroll through the streets of Pasadena. Visit the art galleries, dine with colleagues, or simply enjoy some downtime with this event-free evening. For more local details, see the registration desk or visit the concierge at the Westin Pasadena.


Take a closer look at all the 2015 PubWest Conference programming, schedules, speakers, and pricing here.

REGISTER TODAY for the 2015 PubWest Conference!