Foreword Reviews

April 2021 Publisher's Note

Fresh Starts

Ramadan. Earth Day. Easter. Arbor Day. Anzac Day (like Memorial Day for our Aussie and New Zealand family and friends). Holocaust Remembrance Day. A Pink Moon. April is a spiritual month, and also one for fresh starts.

Yesterday, April Fool’s Day, Foreword celebrated its 23rd trip around the sun. My fresh start happened all those years ago with the help of two wonderful women editors, a chance encounter with a world class designer, a truly generous family, and a mentor I’ll never forget, Eugene Schwartz. It’s really rather incredible the way the years seem to have flown by, but when I think back to those first few, time didn’t seem to move fast enough.

If you have the time, our StarterStory can be found here, but I thought some tips on surviving your first years—shared near the end of the interview—might be interesting as you consider your own fresh start.

  • Visualization of your endgame is important. The paths to get there will evolve, but if you don’t have this clarity, it will be hard to stay focused during tough times.

  • Customers first, until they become unreasonable/unstable.

  • Passion/enthusiasm will not pay the bills. Have a sustainable plan.

  • My employees are the most important asset. I make sure they know it. And I try to hire well.

  • If possible, do it without a partner/partners.

  • Transparency is a gift, but don’t be too generous with bad news. In darker moments, the staff knows things are tough, but sharing too many details they can’t help with stresses them unfairly.

  • Give your team space and tools they need to perform and walk away. Hovering does not help them grow.

  • Listen. You don’t always have the best ideas.

  • Be generous with time off. Today’s workforce appreciates that more than money (as long as they are making a living wage).

  • A diverse team makes a stronger product.

  • Love your job, it makes everything much easier. I feel so blessed to be working with books along with some pretty fun and smart people.

Foreword Reviews May/June 2021 cover
Today, our company may look much different than it did in 1998—especially after the pandemic year from hell!—but easy things like hard work, integrity, and devotion to quality never change and are a reward in and of themselves. It is truly a gift to be able to do the work we love every day, with people we care for, and I hope your publishing story is as rewarding.

Think Spring and have a grand holiday weekend, whatever your faith,

Victoria Sutherland, Publisher

Victoria Sutherland

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