Long-time BAIPA member Joel Friedlander died on May 7 after seven years of trying — successfully — to find ways to live productively with progressing cancer.
For many of us he was a mentor in many aspects of self-publishing, having gotten involved by publishing his own book Body Types: the Enneagram of Essence Types (compiled from studies with a Gurdjieff group) in 1993, when it was a struggle to find channels for production and marketing. This came of his caring to share his knowledge and his love of fonts, learned from his father who was a typesetter — a love he never outgrew.
His books include The Self-Publisher’s Ultimate Resource Guide (which he regularly updated), The Book Blueprint: Expert Advice for Creating Industry-Standard Print Books in 2018, and a number of practical short reference pieces that are essential for surviving in our industry.
Quiet, observant, experienced, and objective, Joel was an important contributor to the morning Q&A for many years, and was an ideal President with those qualities and a long career in self-publishing to bring balance and to call on those with specific expertise to contribute. He was particularly skilled at generating a sense of our community being its best resource during his years on the board and in meetings, and he attracted speakers of value from his broad participation in the publishing industry.
To those who knew Joel he was a generous, kind person who shared himself freely and lovingly.
He died while still working as a book designer, a publisher, and author.
Joel never found the time and energy towards the end of his life to publish his last fully edited and designed book. He completed the book on “creativity” and as with all creative people there is always the uncompleted project. I will reach out to a friend in the industry to have it available on Amazon.
The last 2 years he started buying old cast iron cookware and after restoring them he sold them on eBay. It was a lucrative little hobby and an amazing passion that helped Joel get up everyday and push through the cancer treatments to find joy.
Over his life Joel has always been a teacher and guide to students both in search of awakening and presence and publishing their own books. A loving dad to Max Friedlander, a 36-year marriage to me, Jill Friedlander. A great cook and baker. up to a week ago he was still preparing delicious sourdough waffles for breakfast using one of his restored cast iron waffle makers.
He treasured his years of mountain bike riding up Mt Tam in Marin county and the trails in China Camp.
Here’s an interview with Joel from 2017: Joel Friedlander’s Journey to Becoming Go-To Expert on Book Publishing, Cover Design, and More.
You are welcome to share remembrances of Joel in the comments.