IPNE Member Blog

News - Members, feel free to contribute! Please make sure that your posts relate to independent publishing, writing, or other topics of educational interest to IPNE members. If you are unclear about what type of material to post, please contact our blog editor, Cynthia Hagan Kallai.
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  • 08 Dec 2017 5:45 PM | Charlotte Pierce (Administrator)

    Observations on Bookstore Marketing - NEIBA Report

    by Bonnie Kreitler, Rambling Dog Publications

    Volunteering for IPNE at September's New England Independent Booksellers Association (NEIBA) convention was a great way to meet people who love books. Those strolling the exhibit floor were bookstore buyers (and a few librarians) looking to discover the next best new books. Others (publishers like us IPNE members) were there to be discovered by buyers. So how did that work out?

    I went to learn more about book discovery, so during the afternoon of the exhibit day, I went on a walkabout to see what other publishers (most bigger most IPNE members) were doing to attract store buyers and to learn what a small publisher might duplicate. I also approach strolling store buyers to ask them directly to ask how they preferred learning about new books.

    Here are my notes:

    • Book buyers like access to advanced reader copies (ARCs) but have a preference for physical copies. Electronically, they like Edelweiss and give Netgalleys a pass.
    • Hearing about a book from a trusted source definitely gets points—a customer, another bookseller, a librarian, a book distributor’s rep, a trusted reviewer or book catalogs they trust to carry the kind of books they stock.
    • Reviews are important but book buyers want them to be CREDIBLE—from a trusted source (see above), starred reviews from trusted sources like Publishers Weekly, Library Journal. Reviews from paid review sources are ignored.
    • Some independent bookstores hold space for local authors. See if this might work for your book in some way.
    • NEVER say AMAZON to a bookstore buyer. Either to their face, on your website, in your marketing literature, etc., etc. One said that they don’t mind an Amazon buy button on a site as long as there’s at least a buy button for IndieBound above it.
    • Which brings me to rack cards. Rack cards at an exhibit from booksellers should give booksellers information they want and need to order: all basic metadata like publication date, number of pages, ISBNs of all formats, the name of the book’s distributor (if you have one) and the name of the wholesalers stocking the book (Ingram and Baker & Taylor are the big gorillas). If your rack card says get it from Amazon or has no way for them to order the book except directly from you, they will move on.
    • Book buyers also move on if a book’s cover or copyright page clearly indicates it is a self-published book, print-on-demand book. If they are interested enough to check out your web site, they are looking for signs and the only way to get the book is through Amazon or another POD distribution channel, they will move on.

    Fellow volunteers Charlotte Pierce, Lisa Cohen, and Donna Markussen made for great company. Our books are very different but, in between conversations with potential book buyers, we were able to share and explore marketing ideas with one another. Thanks, all! - Bonnie Kreitler

    Rambling Dog Publications LLC
    P.O. Box 547|Southport, CT 06890|203-254-9230 office
    www.ramblingdog.com
    www.facebook.com/ramblingdog
    New Fiction Release! I HEARD YOUR DOG DIED: Imaginings for Those Who Have Lost a Pet - ** 2017 IBPA Ben Franklin Book Awards Silver Medalist **


  • 14 Oct 2017 9:19 AM | Charlotte Pierce (Administrator)

    Don't miss this special opportunity to learn more about book design from IPNE member Cate Barr and other design leaders in Boston book publishing.

    • Location: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 6th Floor, 125 High Street, Boston
    • Date & Time: Tuesday, October 24, 6-8 pm

    Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a designer in book publishing? What makes a great cover? How does a book’s content affect its interior design—and vice versa? When a book is all words, does design really matter? For anyone interested in book design, publishing, or graphic design, Bookbuilders of Boston is thrilled to announce their upcoming Fall Forum on Book Design.

    Attendees will get an insider's look at book design across Boston’s publishing scene—trade books, children’s books, and textbooks—from professional designers including:

    • Louis Roe, Designer, Beacon Press
    • Mark Robinson, Art Director, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
    • Lisa Rudden, Designer, Candlewick Press
    • Cate Barr, Senior Art Director, Cengage Learning
    • Radoslav Mateev, Associate Art Director, Vista Higher Learning

    This event is free and open to the public; RSVP today.

  • 07 Oct 2017 8:33 AM | Charlotte Pierce (Administrator)

    The New Hampshire Writers Project presents a webinar with James Patrick Kelly on: "Hooking Your Readers: The Critical First 250 Words of Your Story," on Monday, Oct. 9.

    According to the NHWP: "You only get one chance to introduce yourself and your characters. In this webinar we will look at the craft of starting a story or a novel. Let’s talk about dos and don’ts of welcoming readers to your fiction. Join James Patrick Kelly, the award-winning author of Mother Go, online for this webinar on Monday, October 9th, from 7 to 8 pm."

    James Patrick Kelly has won the Hugo, Nebula, and Locus awards. He has published five novels and over a hundred and thirty short stories. He teaches Popular Fiction at the Stonecoast Creative Writing MFA program at the University of Southern Maine.

    COST: $10 for NHWP members, $25 for nonmembers.

    To register to attend, and for more information about this and other NHWP Workshops and Webinars, go to the NHWP website.


  • 20 Sep 2017 1:22 PM | Charlotte Pierce (Administrator)

    As we progress through the fall book shows like NEIBA, NELA, and the Boston Book Festival, please watch the IPNE website for registrations to come online, and make sure your IPNE profile is updated with current name, address, and book images and metadata. 

    Registration for these events is online only and is open to full vendor and publisher members. Exhibitors also need to complete the Curation Checklist (needed to exhibit at NEIBA, NELA, and BBF) linked on the left-hand column at IPNE.org/Events.

  • 07 Sep 2017 6:31 PM | Charlotte Pierce (Administrator)

    With apologies for the Sept. 1 snafu, we've rescheduled the September meetup to Sat. September 16, at Arlington (MA) Town Day. You're invited to visit Glenn Koenig and Charlotte Pierce at their booth at Art on the Green between Robbins Library and Town Hall (700-730 Mass. Ave). 

    You'll find other authors and publishers in the area to visit with and learn from, and lots of other fun goings-on. 

    PLEASE NOTE: Our member group address is metro-boston-publishers@googlegroups.com; just email that address if you're already a member. To join the group, send a message to metro-boston-publishers-subscribe@googlegroups.com. Feel free to post messages and requests on the group.

    Here's the schedule and locations for our next few gatherings. You can register for these and other IPNE events ahttp://ipne.org/event-2535318.

    • Sep 16 2017, 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM - Please join us at Arlington Town Day, Art on the Green (between library and town hall). Stay tuned for rain date.
    • Nov 04 2017, 12:00-04:00 PM - Please join us in the Robbins Library Community Room, for the IPNE 4th Annual Book Awards! 700 Mass Ave., Arlington 02476. RSVP required.
    • Jan 06 2018, 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM - St. John's, 74 Pleasant St., Arlington
    • Mar 03 2018, 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM - St. John's, 74 Pleasant St., Arlington
    • May 05 2018, 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM - St. John's, 74 Pleasant St., Arlington
  • 09 Jul 2017 9:56 PM | Glenn Koenig (Administrator)

    At the last meeting of the Metro Boston Publishers (IPNE regional branch) in Arlington, MA, we reviewed a number of best practices for publishing websites, talked about the Espresso Book Machine at the Harvard Book Store, and discussed how to use web site builders (Weebly for example, although we discussed WordPress also), how to reserve a domain name and use it in setting up your own web site, what a QR code is and how to read one (it turns out it's extremely simple, just download the free app "QR Reader" and click on it!).

    We also covered how to work with book designers and editors using what I have to come to call the ‘a la carte’ publishing method (you as author do what you want to do yourself, then contract out to others for the things you can’t do or don’t have time to do). I like that better than the term ’self publishing’ because it gives a better idea of what we really do. The old "major publisher" way is kind of like a six course meal delivered to your table, all preset (Random House, Penguin, Simon & Schuster). Our method is to pick & choose the services you need from various professionals, as you see fit. Like a buffet table. That's why IPNE is so valuable - you can find references to some of them here on this site.

    I brought some ARCs (Author Review Copies) of my book, a man wearing a dress, and Glenna brought a copy of her book, Book Design Made Simple. I showed how my book is posted as ‘for sale’ by two vendors on Amazon, even though it was not really for sale until September 14. It even said there was a ‘used’ copy for sale. How could that be? The folks at Ingram Spark assured me that only the cover and metadata went out to Amazon, so nobody can actually publish my book without my authorization.

    We had so much to talk about, we ran a little past noon! All hands pitched in to put away and clean up. Thanks to member Vicki Ford for bringing sumptuous snacks!

    This report by Glenn Koenig of Message Rain, Arlington, Massachusetts

  • 25 Apr 2017 10:57 PM | Nelson Suit (Administrator)

    Maung Nyeu, publisher of local language based culturally relevant children’s books and a speaker at the IPNE Fall 2016 Conference, sends us this piece of exciting news on one of the books he presented at the conference:

    Princess Monori, Award Winner!

    We are excited to report that Princess Monori is a bronze medalist in the IPPY 2017 award competition, and it’s also a finalist in the Colorado Author’s League 2017 award program! 

    2017 IPPY Award

    The annual Independent Publisher Book Award program (IPPY) honors the best of university and small presses, along with independently published books. The program began in 1996, and is one of the most prestigious of the independent award programs.  Princess Monori is one of the 5,500 entries in this year’s international competition. Awards are given in a number of categories—Princess Monori is a bronze medalist in the category of multicultural non-fiction for children and young adults. The awards ceremony is in NYC at the end of May.

    2017 CAL Award Finalist

    More good news -- Princess Monori is a finalist in the Colorado Authors’ League (CAL) award program in the category of children’s non-fiction, one of 13 categories in which awards are given. On behalf of Our Golden Hour, I and some of the other award finalists will begiving talks at the Tattered Cover bookstore in Littleton, Colorado, on April 30th at 2pm. I’ll be talking about Princess Monori and the work of Our Golden Hour.  For more about CAL, check out http://coloradoauthors.org/.

    Princess Monori is available for purchase through https://ourgoldenhour.org/product/princess-monori/. Every book you purchase sponsors the gift of one copy of the book to a child in the Chittagong Hill Tracts region of Bangladesh.


  • 29 Mar 2017 11:24 AM | Charlotte Pierce (Administrator)
    Photo is of member Jill Cofsky, voice actor for audio books.Here's how to book yourself to tell the world about your book or service on one of our live-streaming shows: Face The Book TV, Ask The Experts, and Office Hours. You'll be in good company - recent guests have included Victoria Sutherland of ForeWord Reviews; Angela Bole of IBPA, Michelle Ollie of the Center for Cartoon Studies; Steve Fischer of New England Independent Booksellers; and Michael Boezi of Control Mouse Media.


    Start by filling out the booking application form; please use a separate form for each show:

    • Face The Book TV is our new live-streaming online book-discovery show that brings the best of independently published books to the public through live-streaming and "bicycling" to community media stations. Interview-style format with authors and publishers about the books themselves.
    • Ask The Experts brings in experts on all aspects of the publishing process, as well as indie authors and publishers who wish to share their experience. Both shows are archived on YouTube at IPNELive. Focus is on production, marketing, publicity, design, editing, and other aspects of "making better books and selling more of them."
    • The discussion-format Office Hours is where IPNE.org members can ask questions and share best practices with each other. Think of it as your indie publishing coffee break! We schedule this show based on member requests. You may also sign up to host these sessions.

    After we receive your application form, we'll contact you regarding your availability, topic, and the best technical setup (don't worry, it's pretty basic - the top 5 items are 1) a good-quality webcam (HD external is best, or a good built-in), 2) headset/earbuds, 3) broadband internet; 4) front lighting, and 5) a quiet location.

    Please use the contact form at if you have any questions prior to filling out the application. We will not share the information from the form externally without your direct permission.

    We gratefully recognize the help of Arlington Community Media (ACMi.TV) and our heroic crew, particularly Karen Einstein and Laura Williams. The editorial board at the Peeragogy Project (peeragogy.org) deserves credit for extensive support while we were learning the YouTube live-streaming platform, starting in 2012.

    All three shows are produced by Pierce Productions (PiercePress.com) with the collaboration of Independent Publishers of New England (IPNE.org). Members of IPNE.org get priority booking on all three shows. Face The Book and Ask the Experts are recorded and archived on YouTube at IPNELive; Office Hours is less formal and currently not recorded.

  • 04 Jan 2017 8:33 PM | Glenn Koenig (Administrator)

    Recently, I posted in my blog on the Message Rain web site.  Here is what I said:

    Well, the end is in sight!  So far, I have written over 200 pages of my first book, "a man wearing a dress."  I think I have about 10 more pages to write before editing and revisions begin in earnest.

    After that, the book itself will be done, but there will be a lot of work to do before I can say it's published.  At least I have designed the cover and the interior of the book already.  Once I have all that in final form, there are the 'middle tasks,' such as get a copyright, an ISBN, and a Library of Congress number.  I will I have to put that information on the back cover (the ISBN) and the other information on the back of the title page.  Then print a proof copy, just to make sure.

    Then comes the major work of a distribution plan, and a promotion plan.  With modern 'print on demand' services, at least I don't have to invest in a massive press run and risk ending up with a basement full of unsold copies if sales don't go well.  On the other hand, print on demand means that I earn less income per book sold.  Sure, I'm doing all this because I was inspired to write.  But at the same time, I have been living off savings, for the most part, over the past few years so I'd like to recoup some or all of my financial investment and have something left for retirement!  So if sales go well, I'll have to make the decision whether or not they will continue to go well, and whether or not a press run is worthwhile.  This is the delicate balancing act involved with any marketing effort.

    As for publicity, it's a whole new world compared to what it was when I was growing up.  In those days, publicity was hard because the means of getting the word out were expensive and time consuming (printing, mailing, long distance phone calls, etc.).  Now, it's hard for completely different reasons.  Now, with modern information networks, it's easier to send out the word, but much harder to get noticed precicely because it's that much easier for everyone else who wants to promote something!  Our Email boxes are full, our eyes are gazed over from an onslaught of ads and promotions - literally hundreds per day!

    So, how do I get noticed amidst all that noise?  The answer is to "work smarter, not harder."  As I have never done this before (this is my first book), I have a learning curve to go through and a practice: To follow my intuition! (practice, practice, practice!).  But overall, I'm optimistic.  As I've just written in the Topic Blog, I expect 2017 to go better than 2016 has.

  • 05 Oct 2016 5:52 AM | Charlotte Pierce (Administrator)

    The Frankfurt Book Fair is the world's largest and most important publishing event with 7,100 exhibitors from over 100 countries, 270,000 visitors + 9,300 journalists and bloggers in attendance last year.  Displaying your book at Foreword's Independent Press Collective Stand is a smart way to get it on the radar of foreign rights agents and publishers who will be meeting us for appointments and/or browsing titles on the show floor.  

    By exhibiting in the Foreword cooperative booth, your titles stand to generate rights interest from any number of publishers (typically, a foreign rights deal includes a non-refundable advance and a royalty rate of 7–8%). So, with no out of pocket expense—except for the exhibit fee to have your title displayed at the Foreword booth—you stand to earn an unexpected windfall.  Representatives from Foreword will direct visiting agents and reps to the appropriate shelves (books are arranged by genre) and collect business cards/contact information when interest in a certain title is expressed.  Foreword will then pass on the contact info to the corresponding publisher or author.  One of the additional benefits is a lifetime listing for your book in Foreword's online Rights Catalog, a valuable resource before and long after the show doors close.  

    The per title exhibit fee is usually $215 - we're inviting IPNE members to take $25 off, so $190.  As the buchmesse is in just two weeks, reservations are due ASAP and 1 copy of each title (plus three copies of your sell sheet) are due by October 12th at the latest.  Simply click here to register then paste this discount code in at checkout: ibpa25

    Please contact stacy@forewordreviews.com with any questions, or if you need help during the registration process.  

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