by Florrie Binford Kichler
“Independe-pedia”—A Guide for New (and Not-So-New) Publishers
If Wikipedia is the people’s encyclopedia, then our very own Independent is the publishers’.
With “Independent Articles” at ibpa-online.org boasting well over 1,000 contributions from the best in the business on topics ranging from marketing plans to the environmental impact of e-book reading (that’s right, I said e-book), the Independent is a one-of-a-kind repository of publishing wisdom, consistently rated as the number-one benefit of IBPA membership.
But sometimes too much of a good thing can be too much.
As with Wikipedia and any other huge body of information, drilling down through the Independent archives to find the answer to a specific question can be a challenge. Technology has provided online indexing that works for general search topics much of the time, but it’s the remaining 10 percent of more-targeted searches that often requires human intervention.
If you are a beginning publisher, the Independent is the door to the basics of book publishing, but sometimes finding the key to that door is difficult. For example, the keywords “book marketing” are going to return hundreds of Independent articles, but knowing which ones apply to your particular situation—there’s the rub. Realistically, when faced with even 10 articles that look relevant, how many of us will have the time and patience to read each one?
And the reason I did was to plant the seeds of a project that a subset of your board of directors is working on, and that involves building the answers to a set of new-publishers’ FAQs. Whether the FAQs reside on the IBPA Web site, become an e-book or a p-book or some combination of the above, is yet to be determined. But in the meantime, if you’re just beginning your publishing venture and don’t know what you need to know, I hope the following Independent primer, courtesy of a human search engine, will help:
When You Want to Know . . .
What’s a distributor, what’s a wholesaler, and what’s the difference?
“Do You Need a Distributor?” by Davida Breier
“Ten Selling Tips: A Checklist from a Distributor” by Randall McKenzie
“Is Working with a Distributor Right for You?” by Jen Linck
How do I get my book printed and work effectively with a printer?
“Top Six Communications Tips for Working with Commercial Printers” by Margie Dana
“The Eco-Printer Route to Being Green” by Erin Johnson
“To Tour or Not to Tour (a Printing Plant): That Is the Question” by Margie Dana
How do I create and sell e-books?
“E-book Basics” by Joshua Tallent
“What’s Happening with E-books” IBPA Roundtable
“Doing Business with Digital Books” by Thomas Woll
How can I use social media to market my book?
“Do You Need a Social Media Makeover?” by Lori Dicker
“A Social Media Marketing Plan” by Dana Lynn Smith
“Streamlining Your Presence in the Social Web” by Deltina Hay
What’s the secret for getting reviews?
“Where to Get Book Reviews Today” by Patricia L. Fry
“Major Media Coverage: Independent Publishers Report on What Worked” by Linda Carlson
“Reflections on Bogus Blurbs, Unreal Reviews, and Manufactured Bestsellers” by Peter Bowerman
How do I market my book to bricks-and-mortar bookstores?
“Today’s Take on In-store Events” by Amy Collins MacGregor and Bethany Brown
“Pitching Books to Indie Stores and Libraries” by Linda Carlson
“What Makes Barnes and Noble Decide to Buy a Book?” by Marcella Smith (Note: although this article was written in 2001, the advice it contains is timeless and just as relevant today.)
How do I sell to libraries?
“Marketing to Libraries” by Bob Schatz
“A Librarian Talks About Choosing Books to Buy” by Abigail Goben
“Distribution Partners for Library Sales” by Brian Jud
What are some techniques for selling online?
“Use Google Alerts for Your Business (and to Improve Search Results)” by Stephanie Chandler
“How to Optimize Your Amazon Page” by Tanya Hall
“Simple Ways to Promote Online” by Penny Sansevieri
How do I get, keep, spend, invest money to run my publishing company?
The “Building a Better Budget” series by Marion Gropen
“How to Create Marketing Plans” by Tom Woll
“Controlling Returns, Part 3” IBPA Roundtable
What are some effective ways to promote my books?
“Using the Web to Get Traditional Publicity” by Reid Goldsborough
“How to Hire a Publicist” by Kate Siegel Bandos
“Promotions That Pay Off” by Linda Carlson
Help—I’m overwhelmed! Where can I get some inspiration?
“Why I Believe in ‘Gifting’ Books to the World” by Steve Viglione
“Members in the Spotlight” by Linda Carlson (any issue)
“Thank You, Jan” by Florrie Binford Kichler
Only in the Independent
Certainly these are not the only questions a new publisher has. The FAQs here are a work in progress, the goal of which is to get new publishers started on the publishing journey.
Nor is the Independent the only source of information on the book business. (You might even consult Wikipedia if you have a few hours on your hands.) Periodicals and books about the industry abound, and as a beginner, you will find that education is your best offense as you navigate the sometimes bewildering (and sometimes shark-infested) waters of publishing.
What sets the Independent apart from all other resources is that the practical advice contained within its pages is offered by publishers at all levels to publishers at all levels so we can help each other succeed. Whether it’s how to get started in the industry, how to strengthen an established publishing company, or how to ensure that it survives you, you can count on guidance that will help you grow your business.
Follow Florrie and IBPA on Twitter at twitter.com/ibpa, and on IBPA’s blog at ibpablog.wordpress.com. Join Independent Book Publishers Association–IBPA group on Linked In (linkedin.com).