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High Marks for PubU 2016

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PUBLISHED FEBRUARY 2016

by Angela Bole, CEO, Independent Book Publishers Association


Angela Bole

IBPA’s 28th annual Publishing University, which took place April 8–9, 2016, in Salt Lake City, Utah, provided two days of keynotes, educational sessions, experiential learning, idea sharing, and networking. We managed to squeeze in a few cocktails and a lot of laughter as well.

Face-to-face conferences are ideal for taking stock of your business and finding inspiration to move forward. I believe our wisest and most motivating choices are those which identify most closely with our defined sense of purpose. If you want something, you have to know why you want it or else it’s all too easy to lose steam as you work to achieve it. In-person conferences help you connect with your “why” in a way that webinars, reading articles online, and talking to the same colleagues every day never could.

In addition to spending dedicated time reflecting on their personal publishing goals, the 230 attendees of Publishing University also experienced:

  • An inspiring keynote from Kwame Alexander, the 2015 Newbery Medal winner for the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children
  • More than 30 breakout sessions featuring practical guidance from industry experts
  • IBPA’s 28th annual Benjamin Franklin Book Awards ceremony, a gala dinner highlighting excellence in independent publishing
  • The opportunity to “Ask the Experts” in one-on-one consulting sessions
  • A chance to “put yourself in the picture” by filming a personal book trailer as part of a special experiential session called “Lights, Camera, YOU!”
  • IBPA’s Annual Meeting and membership luncheon where they received an IBPA update from Peter Goodman, chair of the IBPA Board of Directors and publisher of Stone Bridge Press
  • … and much more!

Because a picture speaks a thousand words, we’ve compiled some photos from the conference here—enjoy! And, in order to stave off “FOMO,” I hope you’ll save the date for IBPA’s 29th annual Publishing University, scheduled for April 7–8, 2017, in Portland, Oregon. Registration opens soon at publishinguniversity.org.


IBPA-SLC-2016-346Author and publisher Veda Stamps won a Gold Benjamin Franklin Award in the Best New Voice: Children’s/YA category. “Many buyers will only consider purchasing indie books that have great reviews and awards,” Stamps says. “Thus, IMO Books is honored to have earned gold for Flexible Wings, a contemporary look at military family life through the lens of a multiracial preteen girl.”


IBPA-SLC-2016-121From left to right: Sharon Castlen (founder, Integrated Book Marketing), Maggie Lichtenberg (publisher, Open Heart Press), and Jane Wood (author). Wood won a full scholarship to Publishing University from the Florida Authors & Publishers Association.

Photos courtesy of Jackson Veigel (www.jacksonveigel.com)


IBPA-SLC-2016-185From left to right: Joshua Tallent (director of outreach & education, Firebrand Technologies) and Jorge Cervantes (author) mingle before the Benjamin Franklin Awards ceremony. Cervantes won Gold in the Reference category for his book, The Cannabis Encyclopedia: The Definitive Guide to Cultivation & Consumption of Medical Marijuana, published by Van Patten Publishing.


IBPA-SLC-2016-381From left to right: Angela Bole (chief executive officer, IBPA) and Peter Goodman (publisher, Stone Bridge Press, and chair, IBPA Board of Directors) honor Rana DiOrio (chief executive pickle, Little Pickle Press, and secretary, IBPA Board of Directors) for four years of service on the board. Brenda Avadian (publisher, North Star Books) also closed out her service during the meeting.


IBPA-SLC-2016-171On the evening of Thursday, April 7, attendees meet for an informal cocktail reception called Literature & Libations.

By the time Publishing University kicked off in earnest on Friday, April 8, many attendees were already connected. Here Robin Cutler of IngramSpark (far right) chats with other Publishing University attendees.


IBPA-SLC-2016-255From left to right: Liliana Guia (design partner, Mad/Dash Press) and Florencia Palmaz (Palmaz Vineyards) address the audience after accepting a Gold Benjamin Franklin Award in the Cookbook category for their book, Palmaz Vineyards: At the Table & Around the Fire, published by Mad/Dash Press + Palmaz Vineyards.

Photos courtesy of Jackson Veigel (www.jacksonveigel.com)


Kwame-AlexanderKwame Alexander, 2015 Newbery Medal winner for the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children, recounts the road he took from a child working for his father’s publishing company to an award-winning children’s author.

Photo courtesy of Tracee Dunblazier, author of The Demon Slayer’s Handbook series

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