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