Bob Baker's Book Promotion Blog

Jan Nathan: A Wonderful Life

Jan Nathan, who served as the Executive Director of PMA (the Independent Book Publishers Association) since its beginning in 1983, died June 17 after a year-long battle with cancer. She was 68.

I never had the pleasure of meeting Jan, but I'd heard her name so many times over the years related to PMA and independent book publishing, I felt as if I did know her. All self-published authors and indie publishers owe her a huge debt of gratitude.

Jonathan Kirsch, Legal Counsel for PMA, said, "It is not overstating to say that Jan Nathan is among the most crucial and decisive figures in the media revolution that turned independent publishing into the thriving industry that it is today. Over her long and accomplished career in publishing, she proved herself to be both a visionary and a practical problem-solver, a ubiquitous and beloved figure at every venue where the publishing industry gathered."

Don Tubesing, President of PMA from 2002 to 2004, remarked, "Jan's enthusiasm and warmth, her patience with answering the most basic publishing questions over and over again, and her consistent focus on encouraging us all to produce books of the highest quality, made her an unmatched force in the growth of independent book publishing. The thousands of publishers and exquisite books produced by PMA members remain as her tribute. The current health of independent publishing remains as her legacy."

I'm serving my third term as president of the St. Louis Publishers Association (one of PMA's regional affiliate groups). While the organization is thriving today, I've been told that in its early days, it struggled and that Jan was instrumental in keeping our little nonprofit organization alive.

Jan Nathan touched so many lives during her time on Earth. What an awesome legacy and a great example to follow.


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