Wednesday, February 10, 2016

BEING IN THE SERVICE OF THE WELL-WRITTEN WORD

After the Denver Broncos won the Super Bowl, I was struck by Peyton Manning’s comment about how fortunate he was to be part of this team. He took no credit for himself, and it made me think about how fortunate I am to be part of a team as well, without whom little would be possible.  

Besides my co-publishers, Judy Shepard and Chris Knopf, our staff here in the office, Cathy Suter and Brian Skulnik who take care of all sorts of matters administrative and keeping The Permanent Press web-site up-to-date, and to Felix Gonzales who keeps up with orders, shipping and returns, and off campus personnel: Barbara Anderson who does copy-editing, Susan Ahlquist who does our typesetting (and reminds me to keep up-to date on scheduling), and finally to Lon Kirschner, our cover artist. Not only are all of them incredibly talented, but also they are a joy to work with. The same holds true for our foreign agents, most of whom have been with us for a decade or two, and their success selling translation rights abroad (if you want to see their names they are listed on the last page of  The Permanent Press’s electronic catalog). Without all of them as teammates, we would be hard placed to succeed as well as we have.

Of course, we could never succeed without our writers, who keep writing because the process is most important to them, though the income they receive seldom matches the hours and hours and hours they put into their work, nor do reviews necessarily follow, nor the acclaim they would wish for. Other creators who follow their muse, be they actors, painters, sculptors, musicians, and dancers face the same conditions, as do we as publishers.

But the thrill for us is discovering talented writers and publishing their books. Winning awards for their work is flattering and holds hope for more future success for these authors. We know that we can give voice to exceptional, if often relatively unknown novelists, in an age that finds people reading less and less, twittering more and more, and watching television at the end of a hard day rather than reading quality fiction. Every time good things happen for one of the 16 yearly books that we’ve been publishing since starting out in 1978, it gives us joy. How fortunate we are to find that we can keep going forward, working at something we love: being in the service of the well written word. 


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Judy and I are off to Virgin Gorda for two weeks, returning on the 25th of February. In the interim Chris Knopf might be posting a blog or two. But, fate wiling, there will be more coming from me on May 2nd. 

2 comments:

  1. You have a great team! Now have a great trip.

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  2. This may seem a bit creepy coming from a Permanent Press author, but I don't see any point piddling about waiting for people to die before you say nice things about them. Quite apart from anything else, Marty and Judy will probably outlive me. So before I pop off, I'd just like to say that they cannot be bettered as publishers. They are gracious, generous, dedicated, hard-working, and conduct business with a refreshing lack of egoism. And, of course, they have immaculate good taste! I have even entertained a Mittyesque fantasy in which a Big Publisher sidles up to me wafting bundles of dollars about the place (as if), whereupon I can dismiss him with a mirthless laugh and the words: "I've already got a publisher." I wouldn't mind betting that a good number of Permanent Press authors know that Marty and Judy serve their interests far better than a major house would. Books aren't real estate and it's not about the numbers.

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