Say Hello to Bronze Man Books
Millikin University Quarterly • October 31, 2006
Following in the footsteps of opening a successful student-operated record label and retail art gallery, Millikin has formed a student-owned and operated press, Bronze Man Books.
The new publishing company was founded through the course, “The Art of Publishing,” co-taught by Professor Ed Walker ’85, chair of the art department and Dr. Randy Brooks, chair of the English department, who has more than 30 years of publishing experience with his own company. All writing and design work for Bronze Man Books will take place in Millikin’s Media Arts Center.
The company will be composed of fi ve functional divisions including editorial, production, marketing, sales & operations and a community advisory board. Senior English major Leah Hurt of Evansville, Ind., and English major and December graduate Bethany Tabb of Knightstown, Ind., were the fi rst co-editors for Bronze Man Books. “I really wanted to be a part of beginning this company,” Hurt said. “I am learning how to publish a book and learning how to work with all of the areas involved to get that done.” Tabb has completed an internship with a publishing company and was co-editor-in-chief of Millikin’s student newspaper, the Decaturian. “Bronze Man Books is a really good experience that allows me to get my hands on the publishing process,” said Tabb. “By working with the authors in editing, I have gained a better feel for the entire process.”
Senior marketing major Carrie Meyrick of Middletown, Ill., directs the new company’s marketing efforts and developed a business plan, which modeled those used by Millikin’s student-run record label, First Step Records and Millikin’s student-operated retail art gallery, The Blue Connection. Paul Kloeckner of McHenry, Ill., a senior commercial art major, leads the Bronze Man Books design staff of
five students, who have created a logo, bookmarks, letterhead and business cards for the new company.
Bronze Man Books published its first book in November with the release of “Ants in the Band Room” by Laura Podeschi ’06. Podeschi graduated last May with a major in graphic design and a writing minor. Part of the editing process for her book included extensive testing of the book at children’s libraries, Decatur’s Baby TALK, and in test readings with kindergarten and first grade students. Once the book was published, Bronze Man Books promoted the book statewide and nationally, hosting publication events, working with the author to promote the book, sending out review copies of the book and marketing the book to bookstores and booksellers.
The student staff is planning future publications, including a photo history of the Vespers tradition at Millikin. They are also currently interviewing students who will take over the company when the current staff graduates. “The main draw for me is that it is really nice to be a part of something that is truly student run,” said Production Manager Brian Blankenship, a junior English-writing major from Evergreen Park, Ill. “I feel like my voice is really heard. We feel like we have creative input on the products that we are building.”
“This is a part of Millikin’s history,” said Walker. “These students are making the first stab at running a student-run press at Millikin.” Hurt adds, “When we graduate, we will have something to come back to and always be a part of. It will give us a real connection to Millikin.” Bronze Man Books is named in honor of “Mr. B.B.,” the statue that sits in the heart of campus. For more information, visit www.bronzemanbooks.com.
Feature Story. "Millikin University Forms Bronze Man Books." Millikin University Quarterly, (Decatur, IL), October 31, 2006.