Recently, I was privileged to attend the PubWest 2020 conference in Portland, Oregon along with other book publishers from Western United States and Canada. The conference was educational in focus and participatory, with many opportunities to connect with and hear other publishers' ideas, concerns, and successes.
At an awards luncheon, Malcolm Margolin of California was honoured as the recipient of the Jack D. Rittenhouse Award for important contributions to publishing in the West.
Malcolm began his book publishing career in Berkeley in the 1970s, about 30 years before I wandered into this business. I found his speech inspiring.
|Malcolm Margolin addressing PubWest 2020|
He told his fellow publishers that the goal of publishing should be "to serve the underserved."
I'm paraphrasing here, but he also said we should not find purpose and fulfilment from our inbox. That's an important reminder to people in all industries and lines of work.
"Tell the stories of the people - the good people, the activists, and the world changers," he said.
When a manuscript came in, Malcolm would tell his staff, "Don't look for the faults. Look for the strengths and build around the strengths. The faults will take care of themselves."
This last piece of advice is the way I always approach new manuscripts that come to my publishing house in Saskatchewan and I know other colleagues who do the same. Still, it's good to remember this concept, whether we're in publishing or some other industry. Or maybe even when we are just walking down the street.
Look for the strengths. And help build on those.