Thank you, Mr. Friedlander

Award-winning book designer, blogger, and author Joel Friedlander passed away on May 7, 2021. Mr. Friedlander was a guiding light for self-published authors, and he was a great friend to Indies Unlimited. His popular website TheBookDesigner.com reposted scores of blogs that were first published on Indies Unlimited, graciously opening up our article writers to a whole new audience.

In his memory, we’d like to recall some moments that we’re thankful for.

I was teaching a one-day self-pubbing seminar several years ago. I was doing the whole day solo, and I was nervous as hell. I got to the venue early and on my phone, I checked out whether any of the blogs I’d submitted had been accepted to Joel’s Book Designer website. As many of you know, it’s a super popular blog for indie authors. My blog was featured that day. Joel Friedlander to the rescue. Just in case I needed any extra credibility, I was able to brag myself up to the students in my class by showing them what a big deal I was on the Book Designer site. I’m so thankful for all the information I learned from that site over the years and any time I had a question, Joel was always available to shoot me an answer back. Thank you for all that you did for the self-publishing industry, Joel. You made a difference.
– Martin Crosbie, Author

While I never personally knew Joel Friedlander, his Bookdesigner.com site was like a good friend. It provided a font of information, and I found myself often harkening back to it in order to reference so many of the tidbits he shared. The copyright page samples, while so simple, were the type of nitty gritty, just-in-time data that was not glitzy but necessary for authors to know. When creating layouts for my print and ebooks, I referenced the Book Designer site often, glad to have the information handy and easily accessible. Joel’s willingness to share and collate so much information on his site and ask nothing in return is evidence of his kindness and giving spirit. While those who knew and loved him best will miss him most, the indie publishing community has also lost an important and impactful voice.
– RJ Crayton, Author

I think the thing I most appreciated about Joel is that he didn’t discount indie authors. He believed that we could create books that looked just as good, or even better, than those sold by traditional publishers. He will be sorely missed in the indie community. Plus Joel was the very first person to agree to a LynneQuisition interview, and for that I’ll always be grateful.
– Lynn Cantwell, Author

I’m greatly saddened by this news. Joel was very generous, not just with authors, but also with sharing his site with others, like IU. It was an honor and a pleasure being on top resource lists next to The Book Designer. Joel was always classy and that was one of the things that made him special. The Book Designer was a finalist in the Indies Unlimited Excellence Awards a number of times, and it was well deserved. Whenever I teach self-publishing, I always list The Book Designer as a resource site for my students. The industry has lost a leader and an advocate. Rest in peace, Mr. Friedlander.
– K.S. Brooks, Author & Executive Director of Indies Unlimited

Online relationships are tricky. Sometimes you get a false sense of who someone is. With Joel, this was never the case. He wouldn’t hesitate to give advice, but always tempered it with encouragement. We were honored to be associated with him. On behalf of Indies Unlimited and self-published authors everywhere, thank you, Mr. Friedlander.

In Memory of Lou

author lou silvestri
This is the photo Lou provided for his IU Anthology bio.

Normally, we don’t post things like this on Indies Unlimited, because, sadly, we lose so many friends over the years, and  their families know best how to share their memory and their legacy. In this case, however, as best as I can tell, Indies Unlimited was Lou Silvestri’s family.

There isn’t a lot of information about Lou out there. We’re not certain where he was born – New York City is a good guess, though. We have learned that he passed away in December at the age of 90, in Phoenix, Arizona.

What we do know about Lou is that he was a sweet, wonderful, thoughtful, funny man who, even at age 90, was competing in our weekly Flash Fiction Challenges – and he was having fun doing it. As I went back through our many emails to find quotes or anything I could use in this post, it brought me great happiness. He was always so grateful to IU for giving him the platform to write, and even made friends with some of the other flash fiction contestants who also encouraged him to publish his stories in books. And that he did – in 2017 he self-published two collections. So if you hear someone say “I’m too old to self-publish,” Lou proved them wrong.

 

 

 

 

 

If there was a week when Lou didn’t post a story, the IU staff would notice. Nearly all his stories had some element of humor in them, and many times he won Editors’ Choice honors and was included in the Anthology at year’s end. And in his honor, the 2020 Anthology will be dedicated to him.

Lou was so sweet. He sent us his very first royalty check. Here’s a snippet from that email:

Received a check for $5.76 (Yippee!!!)  from On Demand Publishing (Amazon???) for  4 “royalties”??? dating back to February 12, 2017 from the only two books I ever (self) published. Get a load of me, a very first time PAID author.  Dose that finally make me a professional???  🙂  Hey, I’m gonna be 90 next Thursday, 3/28.

I couldn’t bring myself to cash it, and I still have it to this day as a memento.

Lou, you will be greatly missed. We already miss your presence during the flash fiction challenge. Please know you are in our thoughts, and our hearts.

One of many lovely holiday greetings made by Lou for IU staff and the other Flash Fiction contestants.
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