Bookbuilders Northcoast - Real Estate Magazine

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14 Jan 2009 ... We've had two BBW presidents attend networking salons, and our members have been encouraged to attend the BBW Crash. Course in Book ...

Real Estate Magazine Editorial 503 for Printing

Bookbuilders Northcoast: Creating Local Community for Book Industry Professionals Story by Margi Gomez How does an idea for a book become a reality? How many people must work together to create a book? Once a competent and inspired writer produces a certain number of words on a particular subject, to whom do they turn to make sure their thoughts will reach their public? These are the questions that the founders of the Mendocino chapter of Bookbuilders Northcoast, or BBNC, sought to explore when they began meeting less than two years ago. Medea Minnich, who had been working as a freelance indexer, abridger, and editor for some years, had felt the need for an association of book industry professionals for some time. “I’d been traveling back and forth to the Bay Area to do all my networking. I felt that if I was having to communicate with colleagues primarily through e-mail and long-distance driving, there were probably other freelancers doing the same.” Medea enlisted the help of her friend Annette Jarvie, who had done a variety of proofreading, editing, and production work in the past, and together they came up with a list of local graphic designers, illustrators, proofreaders, publishers, and writers who they guessed might respond to their idea. The two friends arranged their first meeting in May of 2004 at the Inn at Schoolhouse Creek’s breakfast room, billing it as “an opportunity to meet professionals in your industry, to participate in the early stages of forming a local networking group, to discuss future events, and enjoy light refreshments.” Annette says, “It was really Medea’s idea, but I’ve been involved with her in planning from the start.” They were delighted with the turnout, and Bookbuilders Northcoast, or BBNC, was born. Medea says, “We had over twenty-five people come to that first meeting, and there was a lot of enthusiasm from the folks who came out. The next step was to seek affiliation with Bookbuilders West. Bookbuilders West, a San Francisco non-profit, is an educational and professional resource for members in the western United States, providing a wide variety of programs and networking opportunities. BBNC’s association with Bookbuilders West has been a fruitful one, helping to keep coast residents in touch with the wider world of book professionals, and offering a chance for participation in Bay Area seminars, an annual book show, and Bookbuilders West’s popular ‘Crash Course in Book Production.’” Medea explains, “Bookbuilders West has consistently supported us through sending out email announcements, posting our events on their Website, and underwriting event costs from time to time. We’ve had two BBW presidents attend networking salons, and our members have been encouraged to attend the BBW Crash Course in Book Publishing, and to enter their book into the annual BBW book show.” BBNC’s first networking salon took place in February of 2005. BBNC networking salons attract local and Bay Area book-industry professionals. Attendees are given ample time to network with their colleagues before and after the main event. Most of these meetings have been held at Preston Hall, behind the Presbyterian Church in Mendocino. Authors, copyeditors, proofreaders, indexers, graphic designers, illustrators, book producers, publishers, distributors, and printers come together to talk about what they do, find out what their newly-found colleagues specialize in, learn from each other, and trade job leads and industry news. The February 2005 networking salon featured presentations by Cynthia Frank, publisher of Cypress House Press; Medea Minnich, back-of-the-book indexer; Charlotte Gullick, creative writing instructor at the College of the Redwoods in Fort Bragg, California, and newly-appointed director to the Mendocino Coast Writers Conference; and last but not least, Ramona Beville, president of Bookbuilders West. Medea notes, “This was the first Bookbuilders Northcoast public event, and over forty people attended the kick-off. The enthusiasm for future events really resounded. It confirmed the need for this type of gathering for local publishing professionals here on the coast.” Dreux Carpenter and Michael Rossetti, two local writers, assisted Annette and Medea in file:///Users/chuckhathaway/Documents/WebSites/real%20estate%20mendocino/editorial_503print.htm (1 of 3) [1/14/09 12:12:34 PM]

Real Estate Magazine Editorial 503 for Printing

planning and hosting this networking salon as well as the two that followed. In May 2005, salon attendees heard from Paula Goldstein, art director of Jossey-Bass, and Larry Bauman, publisher of Redwood Audiobooks. Their presentations sparked lively questions and answers. Some of the attendees made connections for freelance work, and there were many new faces in the crowd. In August of 2005, a BBNC networking salon was the featured event at the sixteenth annual Mendocino Coast Writers Conference. BBNC regulars had the opportunity to mix with conference attendees and presenters, including authors, publishers, and literary agents. Two independent authors/publishers gave brief overviews of their perspective of book publishing: Dan Imhoff, author of Paper or Plastic, and other books; and Taylor Lockwood, author, photographer, and publisher of Treasures from the Kingdom of Fungi, along with his new DVD, “The Mushroom Identification Trilogy.” The December 2005 salon featured Paul Wiley from the Four Eyed Frog bookstore in Gualala, and Bob Lorentzen of his company, Bored Feet Press, spoke about book distribution. Bob Lorentzen is the author of the acclaimed Hiker’s hip pocket Guides, who started his own publishing company in order to publish and distribute his own books, and who now distributes many titles by other authors. Paul Wiley shared his decades of experience working for a West Coast book distributor, explaining how the industry has changed during that time. An intimate glimpse into the inner workings of book distribution, this salon answered a lot of questions for attendees, and many good connections resulted. In February 2006, the Little River Inn donated the use of the Abalone Room to BBNC, and participants enjoyed a meal at the Little River Inn restaurant prior to the meeting, which featured Terri Leonard, executive managing editor of HarperSanFranciso, and Linda Jupiter, a book producer in Fort Bragg. Terri shared her experience as the editor of a major publishing house, and Linda spoke on her role as a book “packager,” who combines industry talent (often drawing from the local pool) to produce textbooks and trade books. Less formal third Thursday meetings have also been held regularly in the Mendocino Hotel lobby, from 4:00 p. m. to 6:00 p.m. Medea says that these casual get-togethers have fostered lively exchanges of information. “Folks typically come and have a drink, share what they are working on currently, and give each other suggestions and advice. It’s a lot of fun and coaxes us out of our respective offices and socialize!” May 2006 brought BBNC members together for a professional show-and-tell, during which local members were able to share current projects. Raven Deerwater, whose innovative textbook, Bridges to Mathematics was just released for use during the 2006–2007 school year, was there to chat with fellow BBNC members, who came from all corners of Mendocino County. Raven is enthusiastic about his association with Bookbuilders. “As a technical writer, I have little interaction with others. Through BBNC, I’ve learned about others’ projects and possible job opportunities. I’ve gained a specialized community for networking and sharing.” Other BBNC members echo this sentiment. Local book producer Linda Jupiter says, “I’ve been a member of Bookbuilders West for many years and was delighted when Medea and Annette had the brilliant idea, as well as the energy, to organize a Bookbuilders Northcoast chapter. For years I’ve used the Bookbuilders West directory (a print publication) to find the right freelancers to hire for a specific job. And from time to time, I check the Bookbuilders West Website to see which publishing companies are hiring (which often means they’re doing well financially). They list all the West Coast publishing openings. So many of us freelance, and Bookbuilders is a great way to connect with other folks doing similar work. It breaks the isolation.” Annette Jarvie adds, “If folks live here and work in the publishing industry, they probably work from home. BBNC gives us a chance to compare notes, going rates in the business, and generally communicate. BBNC has allowed me to get serious about becoming part of the publishing industry.” Maggie Watson, who has attended many BBNC functions, agrees. “A Graceful Farewell was just an idea when I attended my first networking meeting. I met publishers, editors, graphic designers at those meetings, and was able to pick their brains and get clarification about what I wanted to do.” Maggie has been working in our area file:///Users/chuckhathaway/Documents/WebSites/real%20estate%20mendocino/editorial_503print.htm (2 of 3) [1/14/09 12:12:34 PM]

Real Estate Magazine Editorial 503 for Printing

for some time as a professional organizer. She had been offering much of the same information to her clients in workbook form before taking the leap into self-publishing. “BBNC has had some great presentations from inspiring book professionals, who gave me the insight I needed to go for it. The less formal third Thursday meetings are great, too.” Earlier this month, BBNC provided local members the opportunity to showcase their goods and services at the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association trade show in downtown Oakland. This gave a number of people new to the industry a chance to rub shoulders with high-level professionals from all over the country, as well as to give members an opportunity to promote their books at a premier venue for independent booksellers. On exhibit were: Maggie Watson, whose book A Graceful Farewell was just published by Cypress House; Steve Ryals, whose book Drunk With Wonder: Awakening to the God Within deals with inner wisdom and spirituality in everyday life; Taylor Lockwood, who published Treasures from the Kingdom of Fungi and recently produced a mushroom identification DVD, “The Mushroom Identification Trilogy”; Irene Thomas, who penned Olaf Palm: A Life in Art, and most recently with Larry Sawyer, The Temptation to Tango; and Steve Oliff, well-known cartoonist and author of The Early Days of Point Arena. Annette Jarvie and Medea Minnich also attended, networking with their fellows in the book industry to make connections for BBNC and for their respective proofreading and indexing businesses. Medea says that, as with all things Mendocino, community input has been crucial to getting BBNC off the ground. “We’ve had great support from the community. In addition to the use of the venues such as the Mendocino Hotel, Preston Hall, the Little River Inn, the College of the Redwoods, and the Inn at Schoolhouse Creek, we’ve had generous donations of refreshments from Thanksgiving Coffee and Corners of the Mouth.” BBNC has already begun to “give back” to the coastal community. A panel of BBNC members—which included indexer and editor Medea Minnich, Ann Walker from Apple Computers, Nancy Ellis-Bell, a literary agent, and Laura Lind, a graphics designer from Fort Bragg who specializes in books—spoke to two Fort Bragg High School AVID (Advancement via Individual Determination) classes on book-related careers. BBNC co-founder Annette Jarvie says that there is a great need for such input in our area schools. “We realized that as our kids face college and career choices, they might not be aware that it is possible to make a living within the book industry. It’s a good field for rural youth to consider, especially now as so much of this kind of work can be done long distance. You just need to have the skills and the connections.” Medea adds, “The high school panel was a really positive thing. The kids were so responsive and motivated.” She says that she and Annette hope to present another panel, possibly this winter, to students in the Mendocino Unified District. “We would welcome any invitations,” she smiles. BBNC is a pioneer organization offering networking opportunities to North Coast residents who are normally forced to work in relative solitude, with little contact with industry professional beyond their own geographical area. They regularly send out job listings, providing a chance for local people to access the wider book community and to earn a decent wage. As Medea Minnich points out, “BBNC is a wonderful bridge for folks living and working in our wild and beautiful, albeit isolated, coast. By drawing in folks from the outlying areas and through affiliation with a well-established Bay Area organization, we’ve given local freelance professionals, authors, publishers, printers, booksellers, and distributors a connection to each other, and the larger publishing world. I’d like to think that in our small way, BBNC is helping to sustain the legacy of living an artistic life in our community.” Are you a professional or aspiring book builder? Get on the BBNC mailing list, or attend one of BBNC’s quarterly networking salons (plans are in the works for an event in December) or one of their informal monthly get-togethers at the Mendocino Hotel. Contact Bookbuilders Northcoast to get on their mailing list and join the wider community, by e-mailing [email protected].

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