Director’s Desk: Ignorance Is a Long Way from Bliss

March 2004
by Jan Nathan, Executive Director, PMA

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IBPA founder, Jan NathanThere’s a question that clicks into my brain so many times when I’m speaking with people on the phone each day. Whether I’m offering advice or hearing about problems for which I have no solutions, what I want to ask them is, What did you do to prepare to enter the profession of publishing, and how many years did you study? Followed by, What did you do to prepare to enter the career you previously chose, and how many years did you study for that?

Each day, we speak with teachers, doctors, lawyers, accountants, psychologists, and other professionals who are thinking about starting a new career in publishing, or about beginning to publish while they keep their day jobs, in the hope that one day they’ll be able to move from their current careers and become full-time publishers with lines of books and great backlist. And each day, I’m amazed to find out that many of them leap into publishing after simply reading an article or a book or just purchasing a computer and some software. Then, voilà, they think, “I’m a publisher!”

Can you imagine becoming a teacher or doctor this way? While a few people may be able to enter any career they wish with minimal study, most of us require more intensive preparation.

Misconceptions Can Be Minefields

Today, for example, I received an e-mail from a PMA member who was upset at Amazon.com and referred to this company as a distributor. After I explained that Amazon…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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