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 biog editor.
  • 29 Feb 2016 8:20 PM | Charlotte Pierce (Administrator)
    We need your help to make the 2016 New England Publishing Conference another smashing success!  
    • HINT: It's fun and easy, and there's something extra in it for you!

    So, here's the scenario: The IPNE 6th Annual Conference and 3rd Annual Book Awards is scheduled for October 21-22, 2016, in Portsmouth, NH. The theme of this year's event will be "Collaboration Is the New Competition," and there will be several exciting activities related to this theme.

    While we certainly hope that you will attend, right now we have a relatively easy ask: We'd love to hear your suggestions for keynote speakers, tracks, workshop leaders, panelists, and session topics for the Conference. Nominate yourself, a colleague, or someone you admire, and send it along as soon as possible, so we can reach out to these busy professionals and get their commitments in time. Keynote speakers should be well-known or leading experts in their area of focus. Don't be afraid to propose an unorthodox or out-of-the-box session topic!
    If your speaker nominee is offered and accepts a keynote* speaking invitation, we'll say "thanks" by giving you a two-for-one conference ticket so you can bring a spouse, partner, or colleague! 
    Thanks so much!

    Karen, Charlotte, Jenny, Elizabeth, Connie & Deidre
    IPNE Conference Team

    * Keynotes only; not valid for workshop and panel speaker nominations.

  • 24 Feb 2016 7:55 PM | Deleted user
    Bowker is starting a new program to give your potential readers a free sample chapter and a link to order your book. Bowker chose the Association of Publishers for Special Sales (APSS)  to be their initial partner, but they will extend the offer to IPNE members. This joint initiative will be released in March, and you can be the first to take part. There is no charge for you to display your book and you keep 100% of the revenue from sales.

    Bowker will feature a cover image of your book in the right-hand column on the home page of their website http://www.selfpublishedauthor.com. It will include a link to download a sample chapter as well as a link to place an order. Send this material to Andrew Kovacs at andrew.kovacs@proquest.com: 

    - pdf of sample chapter
    - cover image (jpg)
    - brief biographical information about the author
    - select link(s) we could feature (to author website, retailer, etc.)
  • 20 Feb 2016 11:46 AM | Charlotte Pierce (Administrator)

    What can LinkedIn do for you? For IPNE, it's a good member-attraction tool and resource for members. We have a group of more than 300 members there.

    You can help IPNE and learn a lot about how LinkedIn can benefit you by helping moderate the group. Let me know if you'd like access and I'll add you as a group moderator. It's really not a lot of work, just somebody has to visit regularly.

    Posting this, since I went on for the first time in a while and found a bunch of spam; link dumps and such. We want to stick to the publishing process; no book announcements or blog post notices that don't relate to the publishing process. Sometimes, we let one or two such posts go, with just a gentle reminder. Repeat offending posts are deleted and reminded; and chronic offenders are removed.

  • 03 Feb 2016 3:04 PM | Deleted user

    We are thrilled to interview book designer and new board member, Jenny Putnam of J. Putnam Design for this edition of Learn from Your Peers.

    1. When did you know you wanted to be in publishing as a book designer? What does a book designer do - what are their responsibilities?

    I think I always wanted to end up in publishing. I grew up in a family of bibliophiles - my dad is an editor and a writer, my grandfather was the law librarian at Harvard Law School for many years, and my great-grandfather was the head of the composing room at Riverside Press, so I guess you could say it's genetic. (laughs)

    A book designer brings a book from manuscript form to a fully-formatted, print (or eBook) ready file. Basically, we make a book look like a book, instead of a pile of typed pages. The responsibilities of an independent designer generally include cost estimating, creating and maintaining a production schedule, designing and creating templates for interior pages and covers, image research, creation and correction, 'pouring' a manuscript - that is, formatting the manuscript into the design templates, print buying, and print management.

    The following page samples are from the upcoming book, Cooking Through History by Claire Cabot.

    2. What does your designing process look like?

    I prefer to first meet with a prospective client in person, if possible, to discuss their vision of the finished book. We talk about trim size, the cover, how and where images will be placed, the design and printing process, some basic administrative issues, and I try to answer any questions the author may have. Next, I work up a detailed price quote based on our discussion.

    Once the quote has been accepted, I will create a formatted sample chapter for the author's review. It may take a  few iterations to get to exactly what the author envisions; once the design has been finalized I will format the rest of the manuscript and return a pdf for proofreading. Often I will also be finding and/or manipulating image files before adding them to the layout.

    Simultaneous to this process, if I am providing print management as well as design services, I will be gathering printer quotes for the author. Once a printer has been chosen and the book is ready to go, I will act as liaison between the author and the printer.

    3. Tell us about one of your projects. What does a typical timeline look like?

    I'm working on several projects right now that I'm really excited about. One is the memoir of a woman who married a man from another country and subsequently spent twenty-five years living and raising a family in a different culture. It's a fascinating story and I feel so privileged that she's trusted me to help her bring it out into the world.

    There really is no typical timeline. It very much depends upon an author's timeline and style. Each of the three authors I'm working with right now have very different ways of working: one is very methodical and prefers to receive a proof of each chapter separately, so that he can take his time over the proofreading, another is anxious to have her book printed as soon as possible, and the third is fairly laid back.

    Generally, however, the process, from initial meeting to the author having a bound book in their hands, will usually take from four to six months, depending on the complexity of the manuscript.

    4. How long have you been in the publishing industry? When and why did you decide to go off on your own?

    I've been in publishing for about 15 years - I've worked at large publishing houses like Houghton Mifflin, and tiny houses with less than 10 employees. I had been considering going out on my own for several years when, in late 2013, I was laid off from the last place I worked. I took it as a sign from the Universe that it was time to take the leap, so I got myself a business license and never looked back.

    5. How do you find your clients? And how do they find you?

    I talk to EVERYONE! (laughs) Word-of-mouth and networking are very important, but so are trade shows and conferences. I have a website, but use that mostly as an online portfolio. It's really about getting the word out there, so I just try to make myself as visible as possible, and people do find me.

    6. Are there organizations beside IPNE that have been helpful with networking?

    Bookbuilders of Boston is a fantastic networking resource. There's also the annual New England Author's Expo, presented by Pear Tree Publishing - I met the three authors that I'm currently working at this conference. The Newburyport Literary Festival is also a wonderful place to meet independent authors.

    7. How do you balance being a mom and an independent book designer?

    Obviously, any parent who works full time can find it difficult to balance home and work life. I'm lucky because I can make my own hours, up to a certain point. In my line of work there will always be deadlines - that's unavoidable - but I have some strict rules for myself to adhere to when I'm not on a deadline. I always stop work at 5 PM, no matter what I'm doing. The evening is devoted to my son - homework, dinner and spending time together. As a divorced mom, I have a bit more freedom, in that my son is with his dad every other weekend. This is great for me because I can work non-stop if necessary on the weekends when I don't have to be mom, and then dedicate the entire weekend to my kiddo when I do have him. The best of both worlds!

    8. What advice do you have for other independent book designers?

    Train your authors well!! (laughs) Seriously though, the more you can de-mystify the entire process for authors, the more likely they are to trust you with their precious work. Always remember that you are there to bring the author's vision to light.

  • 31 Jan 2016 11:16 AM | Deleted user
    You’ve heard, “Ask and you shall receive.” But you have to ask the right question to receive what you want. Google founders Page and Brin didn’t ask, “How can we create a search engine?” They asked, “How do we organize the entire world’s information and make it accessible and useful?” Don't ask, "How can I sell my book?" Ask, "How can I deliver a message that will help my readers transform their lives?"

  • 28 Jan 2016 9:01 PM | Deleted user

    Many publishers first create a book and then look for ways and places to sell it. A better strategy is to first research the conditions that are best for growth and then define the product.

    Before he launched Amazon, Jeff Bezos evaluated the opportunities for creating an Internet business. He believed that E-commerce was the natural solution for a fragmented market with an enormous number of SKUs, a small ship-able product and a stable supply chain characterized by many sellers served by a few, dominant middlemen. He was not an experienced publisher, but opted for books as the product for Amazon.com because they were the rational choice under those conditions. And the rest, as they say, is history!

    Apply this concept to your business. Do not simply choose a manuscript first, and then debate the form in which you will publish it: printed book or ebook and where it will be sold. Instead, evaluate the opportunity in five categories: market conditions, competitive activity, marketing opportunities, consumer needs and potential outcomes. Then make the choice of product form (pbook, ebook, audiobook, vbook, app) and where, when and how you will sell it.

  • 25 Jan 2016 9:26 PM | Deleted user

    This directory can help you find the right local event where you can exhibit books and reach new readers. 

    On the website (click image) you can choose your state from the left column. Basic access is free, but extended access requires a $50 annual subscription.

  • 20 Jan 2016 4:01 PM | Deleted user

    Book marketing is like an iceberg where bookstores are the visible tip, and special sales the unseen, larger opportunity. Sell your books in hidden markets to increase your sales, revenue and profits. 

    Review the recording from Jan 21 to talk about how you can take advantage of special sales!

  • 15 Jan 2016 3:05 PM | Deleted user
    There is a unique way to trap monkeys in the islands of the South Seas. The natives drill a small hole in a coconut, hollow it out and fill it with rice. Once a monkey puts its hand in the coconut to get the food, it cannot remove its clenched fist. Refusing to let go of their prize, the monkeys are unable to escape.


    Book publishers can get caught in a similar trap if they become conditioned to avoid risks and persist in using strategies that were successful in the past, without evaluating whether they are still relevant today. Their grasp on this comfortable feeling of security yields the same result as that of the island monkeys. Instead of duplicating past efforts, introduce new titles using a different game plan, like selling to non-bookstore buyers.

  • 05 Jan 2016 9:46 AM | Deleted user

    As you finalize your 2016 marketing plan, try writing your goals differently to find new ways to reach them. A goal to “Sell X0,000 books by December 31, 2016” places your focus on selling books. If you say “Reach net revenue of $X00,000” you expand your focus to profitably selling your content through books, booklets or other formats. And you could increase revenue through corporate sales, consulting and/or speaking.

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