Roy M. Carlisle, on Launching PageMill Press
The twelve years I spent at Harper were life-changing. My mentor, Clayton E. Carlson, the director, was a role model who affected everything I did and learned. He helped me to understand how to work with smart and creative writers. His lessons informed who I became as an editor and everything I did during my subsequent 44 years in the book publishing industry. I made many mistakes during those Harper years, of course, but when I left Harper in 1988, I was ready to tackle a new challenge.
With one of my authors, Dr. James Hagan, we established the first incarnation of PageMill Press. Although short lived that experience did provide a foundation for the next phase of my publishing career, the founding of another new publishing house, with two imprints, Wildcat Canyon Press and PageMill Press. And a partnership with Tamara Traeder, Esq., and Julienne Bennett. We had great fun and some delicious success until my co-owners were ready for a change after the 9/11 disruption.
My next gig, still in 2001, was with The Crossroad Publishing Company in New York which broadened my religious editorial and publishing experience into the Catholic world. One unexpected high point of that excursion was working on two books with Robert D. Frager, a writer and thinker who not only impressed me but inspired me. But my role as the director of an imprint, Crossroad/Carlisle Books, was not particularly successful and that plus other factors led to my leaving Crossroad for a think tank gig. After working in marketing for a couple of years I moved into managing an award-winning academic book program that also taught me about the ins and outs of scholarly book publishing. Think tank book publishing is actually quite different in significant ways from all other areas of book publishing but instructive still. On the side during those years I served on the Board of Directors of the Independent Book Publishers Association and consulted with Rana D’Orio, a friend from the Board, on her children’s book press.
These multi-faceted experiences meant that I had worked in all five areas of a publishing house: administration, financial, editorial, production, marketing/sales, and I had years of experience with the channels of book distribution. When Dr. Frager approached me in March of 2019 about starting a new publishing house that would work within his transpersonal psychology network, I was fully prepared to see this as a rare opportunity. And working with him, professionally and personally, was a gift that I was excited to accept. Dr. Frager and I had enjoyed our working relationship as author/editor but we found out that we enjoyed our co-ownership of PageMill Press even more.
At the heart of my work there is one other dimension that must be overtly expressed. The relationships with writers and creatives that Dr. Frager and I initiate and support does provide the joy, fulfillment, and intellectual stimulus that makes our separate vocations as teacher and editor a sublime enterprise.
Creating outstanding books is what has to be done to build a publishing house. But it is my relationships with writers such as Robert D. Frager, Janet Horvath, Dr. Shanon Sterringer, Barry Moser, Dr. J. Walker Smith, Katie Teesdale, McKenna Lloyd, Heather Waite, Margot Borden, Dr. James Hagan, Dr. Sayoko Yoshimura, Rev. Carrie Ives, Dr. Janice Strength, Dr. Tanya Wilkinson, Dr. Linda Lawrence Hunt, Dr. Margot Duxler, Carolyn Braddock, Clayton E. Carlson, Dr. Dorothea Halbe and future PageMill Press writers and authors which makes it worth investing my life, energy, creativity, and passion.