Monday, November 25, 2013


I’ve led a blessed life despite my shortcomings. I had a father (whose illustrations grace our catalogs) who was the wisest, soft spoken, loving, funny and supportive parent a son could ever have. I found a wonderful life-partner in Judy, who brought her three kids to join my three 42 years ago after bad first marriages, enriching the family circle. We started living year-round in the Hampton 35 years ago, one of the most beautiful places in the world, still surrounded by farms and water, fresh air and wildlife. And so many things stemmed from all of this: not the least of which was starting a publishing company with Judy which, by fate or accident, managed to survive and grow. And grow and grow, while becoming friends with some amazing writers.

Very disappointing events that happened—as they must in everyone’s life—have wound up being transformed into better opportunities than we ever could have imagined. It may be a cliché to say this, but it’s been true for us that “Every door that closed allowed a new one to open.” Judy is six months younger than me, and we are both in good health, but it’s hard not to be aware that life does not go on forever and that the egg timer will eventually run out of sand. Using a football analogy, we are surely playing in the fourth quarter and hoping there will be a long overtime.

This has led me to think of what plans we can make for The Permanent Press to insure its continuation. Our German agent and good friend, Tom Schluck, has thought about this as well over the past several years, bringing in family members and others to continue his agency, and they have the taste and savvy to do just that, running things without a dropped beat while Tom comes in to have his say on a more limited basis. That, unfortunately, wouldn’t work here as none of our kids, bright as they are, have the experience to run a publishing business.

I suppose we could consider hiring a clever promoter or PR person in the book industry and try to pass on our nearly 450 in-print titles to one of the Big Five corporate Publishers. But I would never want to go down that path, since our success is directly related to the failure of the Big Five and their hundred odd imprints to encourage and find deserving writers and keep them in print. In short, they would destroy what Judy and I already have in stock as well as another 26 titles already signed up for 2014 and 2015.

There is, frankly, no greater joy I have than finding and promoting good books. Nor any need to sell our company to a firm or person ill-suited to run it. Working often past 10 at night, in my office, inside my house, is not unusual. And I like it, so it is not “WORK.”

I’ve always been a communitarian—once called a Hippie and I suppose there’s some truth in that—for I always placed joy over money and always pursued work that interested me rather than enriched me. The magic is that this has been another accidental blessing—working at something that gives us joy and has also been able to run at a profit.

Considering all these factors we've decided to give the company away,  slowly passing the baton on as a gift to a gifted person who is also well read, loves books, and has the proper business smarts to keep it going, just as Tom Schluck did with his agency in Germany. 

More about this in my next blog…

In the meantime, click on The Permanent Press's latest Newsletter.