“How do I define a successful title? Income is obviously important, but as an artist, what matters even more is when I’m stopped by a stranger at a conference or presentation and told –for years after publication–that my book has changed their lives.”
Why did you become a book publisher? Honeybee in the Garden publishes my original Hebrew/English illuminated manuscripts of beloved biblical and other Judaic texts. My books present a unique fusion of artwork and scholarship that goes beyond the niches of publishing companies that might focus on one or the other, but never both. So, after close involvement in the publication of my first two books by the eminent Jewish Publication Society, I struck out on my own to publish my subsequent books. "Arise! Arise! Deborah, Ruth and Hannah" was the first book that Honeybee published, in late 2012, the very exciting "Kabbalat Shabbat: the Grand Unification" will appear in April 2016, and more will come!
What do you like best about publishing? The Hebrew language has a poetic term for publishing, "bringing to light." I love the ability to be involved in every part of the process of bringing my book ideas to light, from research, artwork and writing, through book design, through managing all the business aspects and presenting each "new baby" to the public.
What do you publish? Honeybee in the Garden publishes my original bilingual Hebrew/English illuminated manuscripts of biblical and other texts of Judaic interest, including original commentaries by myself and leading scholars.
What is the most effective form of marketing for your press? The most effective marketing methods for my scholarly artwork include reviews, direct mail and e-blast announcements, and especially my engaging slide-discussions of the works, at venues as diverse as the Library of Congress, synagogues, Jewish community centers and museums, and Christian seminaries.
How do you define a successful title? How do I define a successful title? Income is obviously important, but as an artist, what matters even more is when I'm stopped by a stranger at a conference or presentation and told --for years after publication--that my book has changed their lives.
Tell us about one of your titles about which you are especially proud. I'm particularly excited about my forthcoming book, "Kabbalat Shabbat: the Grand Unification," which will appear in April 2016. The 80+ illuminated pages and commentaries feature my own paintings accompanied by explanations of their intricate symbolism, along with new translations and literary commentaries by the eminent scholar of medieval Hebrew poetry, Raymond P. Scheindlin, of the Jewish Theological Seminary. Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, a major international leader in Jewish life, has contributed a lovely foreword. My approach to the artwork fuses the traditional liturgy and customs with an entirely new way of relating to the mysticism embedded in them--through modern cosmology and biology. I'm already being told that the work glows intellectually and emotionally, as much as through its color and gold, and promises great enrichment for families as they pursue Jewish culture and ritual.
What has been your biggest challenge in achieving success? Acquiring effective distribution as a self-publishing artist has been the greatest challenge in the business side of Honeybee in the Garden. Meeting IPG at an academic conference in late 2014 solved this, and I'm looking forward to increasing visibility and sales...and having a sane, knowledgeable and committed partner in completing the process of bringing my books to light.
What advice do you have for newcomers to book publishing? As a relative newcomer myself I'm hardly in a position to give much advice, but the single word would be "courage!"
How will you and your company be positioned in five years? In five years I hope to have reintroduced my first self-published book, "Arise! Arise! Deborah, Ruth and Hannah" to the market through IPG, and gained much greater visibility and sales, to have broad distribution of "Kabbalat Shabbat: the Grand Unification." I hope to have e-book versions of "Arise! Arise!a' and perhaps another title or two out, Hopefully, in five years another work of biblical illuminations (not sure what yet, but I'm tossing around a couple of ideas) will also have just appeared.
When you're not fully immersed in publishing, what do you do for fun? As an artist, my painting and writing ARE fun. Learning about publishing IS fun. I'm passionate about my work! Apart from that, I love life in the Washington DC area, surrounded by my family and friends, my menagerie and garden, playing classical piano, and reveling in all of this with my new husband, Michael...a psychiatrist and poet whom I met because of my first book (published by JPS in 2005), "The Song of Songs: the Honeybee in the Garden."
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