Gateway: Living

Publishing company gets writers and readers on the same page

Jan Walker’s new book draws on her experience teaching in prisons.
Jan Walker’s new book draws on her experience teaching in prisons. Courtesy

Jan Walker is a writer, teacher and, when it comes to books, a well-versed businesswoman.

Walker runs Plicata Press, which has published 21 books since 2010. It has published books by notable Gig Harbor authors such as Colleen Slater, EC Murray and Walker herself.

The press was started by Walker, Slater, Kathleen O’Brein and Erne Lewis — all authors.

Walker’s latest book is “Unlocking Young Minds in Lockup: Prison Education Opens Doors.” Walker draws on her experience teaching incarcerated students in the 1980s and, in her retirement, volunteering inside a women’s re-entry prison.

While working as a teacher, Walker published her first book. It was a milestone in a lifelong commitment to her passion.

“I feel like I’ve always been writing,” she said.

Over the years, Walker has had nine books published.

Her role with Plicata is helping writers get their books out to stores and readers. Publishing can be difficult to navigate, so Walker signs contracts with writers and helps them through the publishing process.

“This business is tough and getting tougher,” she said.

The purpose of a business like Plicata is to give writers the necessary tools to get their books out into the world.

At a recent writer’s conference at Tacoma Community College’s Gig Harbor Campus, Walker presented as part of a session on publishing.

“I couldn’t even begin to cover (the topic) in 50 minutes,” she said.

Walker says that if writers have something to say and a desire to be published, they should go for it. After all, she loves writing and publishing, too. However, she said, be aware that writing isn’t a big money maker. But that doesn’t matter if there’s passion.

“For me, the money isn’t the thing,” she said.

The company has deep roots in the Pacific Northwest; it’s named for Thuja plicata, the red cedar that grows on the coast from Alaska to Northern California and all the way to the Rocky Mountains.

More information about Plicata Press can be found at