Millikin Publishing House Begins
by Valerie Wells, H&R Staff Writer
Herald & Review • November 6, 2006
DECATUR - Today, some students at Millikin University will have to pass an interview process to take a class. The class, "The Art of Publishing," was new last semester and is the heart of a new student-run publishing company, Bronze Man Books. The company already has accepted and published its first book, "Ants in the Band Room," by alumna Laura Podeschi, who was in the class last semester.
"Ants" is a children's book for primary grades, though the bright drawings and lighthearted mood could appeal to a wide range. Although the class is open to any Millikin student, the interview process is to ensure prospective members of the company are up to the task, explained production manager Brian Blankenship. This isn't a class one sleeps through. "I think the whole aura around (the company) holds up a certain professionalism," Blankenship said. "It requires a certain amount of discipline, a certain amount of
devotion to the project and the class," he said. The board - other students - hold the interviews and make their recommendations to Randy Brooks, chairman of the English department, and Ed Walker, chairman of the art department.
The company, however, is student-run. Brooks and Walker guide and advise, but the students do the work. Leah Hurt and Bethany Tabb are co-senior editors, and have already rejected some submissions for not being up to their standards. Tabb was an intern at a Nashville publishing house during the summer and brought that experience back to Millikin. Bronze Man will accept submissions from anyone on any topic but, as Brooks says, the editorial team is "tough." They are looking for good writers, and they also want strong graphic potential.
"We have all these graphic artists, and they're dying to get their hands on something," Hurt said.
The company is named for the Bronze Man statue on Millikin's campus, so realistic that some students joke they forget he's not real and speak to him. Seated on a bench, the man appears to be absorbed in a book, and seemed a perfect choice to represent Millikin's student publisher, Blankenship said. A silhouette of the statue's head is the company logo.
"Ants in the Band Room" will make its debut Dec. 8 at the Blue Connection on campus, and at the Decatur Public Library on Dec. 12, said Carrie Meyrick, who is co-marketing manager with Brady Rhoades. Work is under way with Millikin's student-run recording studio, First Step Records, to record a "talking book" version of "Ants," with background music by Millikin student musicians. Eventually, Bronze Man Books will be available in bookstores and on the Internet through sites such as Amazon.com, Brooks said.
News Story. "Millikin Publishing House Begins." Herald & Review, (Decatur, IL), November 6, 2006.