Judith Appelbaum, whose more than 50 years in the book world began soon after her graduation from Vassar, died on Wednesday. She was 78.
During her career, Appelbaum was the managing editor of Publishers Weekly, an editor of Harper’s magazine and Harper’s Weekly. She later served as the long-time editor of the the IBPA’s monthly magazine The Independent.
But Applebaum is perhaps best known as the author of How to Get Happily Published. Released in 1998, the book was one of the first works to show would-be authors the publishing ropes, offering ideas on how to publish, and market, their books. The book went through five editions, sold well over 500,000 copies, and was the genesis of her firm, Sensible Solutions, which she ran with her partner, Florence Janovic.
The target marketing solutions Applebaum and Janovic taught writers and publishers allowed them to bring their books to readers in innovative, direct and commonsense ways, years before the self-publishing industry established similar practices for would-be authors everywhere.
Appelbaum, who won the Publishers Marketing (now the Independent Book Publishers) Association Lifetime Achievement Award and the Book Industry Study Group Lifetime Service Award, also wrote the “New and Noteworthy” column for the New York Times Book Review. She was also on the faculty of the Publishing Institute at the University of Denver.
She served on the board of the BISG, chaired its marketing committee and co-chaired its rights committee. She was also a member of the Authors Guild, PEN, Poets and Writers, and the Women’s Media Group.
“Going to work every day with Judy meant you would be challenged, provoked and supported. There was never a petty, gossipy or cruel word. Her calm, clear-eyed vision of the world was nothing short of inspiring,” Janovic said.