PRESIDENT’S REPORT – Waiting Hopefully, Nervously for a New Title to Get Legs (or Not)

May 2005
by Kent Sturgis

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This is a publishing adventure story about content, strategy, patience, some missed opportunities, risk-taking, good luck, and fresh evidence that timing is everything. It is about a new title released with much ado this spring at Epicenter Press.

It is a story of reaching an unsung but major milestone in the life of every book.

Six years ago an unsolicited proposal came to Epicenter for a book about the cataclysmic eruption of Mount St. Helens that took place in May 1980, killing 57 people and destroying hundreds of square miles of forests, lakes, and streams and much wildlife in southwest Washington. The sample chapters described a crew of tree-thinners scalded by waves of hot ash 13 miles from the volcano, and the men’s desperate struggle to save themselves. It was an incredible account, vividly written, and I was hooked.

The author, Frank Parchman, was an award-winning ex-journalist and former PR director at Emanuel Hospital in Portland, OR, which had treated many people injured and burned in the eruption. He envisioned a book written from the perspective of patients and staff at the hospital. I persuaded him to broaden the concept, to tell the story through the lives of a wider cross-section of ordinary people–including the loggers–all of whose fates were dramatically altered.

Fast forward to 2004, 24 years after the big eruption. On September 21, after five years of research, two contract extensions, a rewrite, and seven months…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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