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A Closer Look at IBPA Executive Director, Angela Bole
(Post 4 of 4 in “Publishing University Delivers”)

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This is the fourth blog post describing Marly’s fruitful experience attending the IBPA Publishing University conference in April 2013.

Mary Cornell-IBPABy Marly Cornell, LightaLight Publications, an IBPA Publishing University scholarship recipient

[Originally published at Midwest Independent Publishers Association.]

Angela Bole, IBPA Executive DirectorPrior to becoming IBPA’s new executive director, Angela Bole (photo right) served as deputy executive director (since 2009) of the Book Industry Study Group (BISG), which “fosters conversation and consensus across all sectors of the book business.” Before that, Bole served for two years as BISG’s associate director and two years as its marketing and communications manager, “furthering the BISG mission of creating a more informed, empowered, and efficient book industry supply chain for physical and digital products.”

Hired by BISG straight out of graduate school (NYU master’s program in book publishing), Bole worked her way up in the company. She refers to her seven years at BISG as a great primer for learning about publishing from every angle. BISG generates standards for the book industry, such as BISAC Subject Headings, creating efficiency, structure, and electronic data formats.

Bringing Angela Bole to IBPA struck me as a visionary move. I made it a point to meet Angela after her Publishing University talk to welcome her to IBPA and engage in some follow-up conversation. Bole takes the place of the retiring Florrie Binford Kichler. The transition brought Bole from New York City in July 2013 to the IBPA offices in Manhattan Beach, California, for three months to “learn more about the IBPA culture” on site.

However, Bole said, “I have been interacting with IBPA for years. I knew Jan Nathan [IBPA founder]. I watched her enter meetings with the Big 6 publishers years ago—she advocated for and represented independent publishing almost by herself back then. It was obvious by her presentation that she believed her members were just as important as any of the big publishers.” Now, Bole is grateful for the mentoring and support from Florrie Binford Kichler—a hardworking and strong leader. “Florrie was just what IBPA needed. She laid a wonderful foundation for me.”

Bole appreciates that IPBA already has a solid platform and a 30-year legacy in the publishing world—a boots-on-the-ground foundation. At the same time, IBPA is open to embracing the rapid changes occurring in publishing. According to Bole, IBPA has always risen to challenges and is “willing to pivot—to throw all the pieces on the table and assemble them in different ways. What an opportunity!” Now that technology has brought so many more people to the table, Bole wants to assist in finding ways to make the business of publishing easier to understand for the growing number of self-published authors and independent publishers bringing their books to market. She remains open to the exciting changes. “I love publishing; I love literature. The goal is to produce and distribute quality work.”

Bole’s undergraduate degrees are in English literature and gender studies (Indiana University Bloomington). She is active in Women’s Media Group (WMG), a nonprofit New York-based association of women prominent in media fields. She described meeting and mingling with some “truly amazing women doing cutting-edge work.” Bole is inspired by the visionary Dominique Raccah, founder of Sourcebooks (the largest women-owned trade publisher in US) who was chair of the board of BISG for many years. Bole felt inspired also by the humor, beauty, bravery, and vibrancy of author Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail. “I like women who are strange, cool, interesting.”

Inner City OutingsBole served for five years as chair of Inner City Outings in New York City (photo right), a Sierra Club community outreach program that provides opportunities for urban kids to explore the natural world. Bole described how taking these kids out into the wilderness provides them with a “visual perspective” you can’t get in the inner city where the only visual perspective is the view down the block. “Seeing the vast space in the wild changes your brain chemistry, expands your concept of what is possible. The kids bring that back to the rest of their life. That connectedness to nature makes it easier to connect with people—break down barriers. The experience helps kids expand the same way that reading expands a person. It’s again about stories. I want to be part of that same kind of process at IBPA in a collaborative way.” For the past year, Bole has led weekend wilderness trips with Discover Outdoors (www.discoveroutdoors.com). She is a certified Wilderness First Responder and licensed New York State Wilderness Guide.

When the IBPA Board hired Bole, they did not require that she move to California. She will return to NYC in November and possibly travel back and forth as needed. When asked if she will eventually move to California, Bole said, “We’ll see. Life is long, and things change.”

Bole is aware of an East Coast/West Coast dynamic to publishing. The East is the epicenter of publishing historically. The West is more open, with a “new vibe” in terms of how one might get stories out. She offers an online example [www.cowbird.com] of new ways to get stories out, some which combine formats—multimedia, text, photos, video, audio, etc. She likes it when people are thoughtful about what’s happening—that “bodes well for positive evolution.”

Though e-books may be overtaking print books, Bole’s preference is print books. “I was raised on books with paper between covers, but my 18-year-old sister reads her books on a Kindle. More important to me than the format is keeping long-form immersive content, the full argument. I don’t want only sound bites. Putting content online is not the same as publishing. I want to stay immersed in the story—the 200-300-page story that teaches us about life—that takes some time to read and creates empathy in readers and offers meaning. I treasure that. We can chop up and serve stories differently perhaps; those hybrid choices are fine, but we should never lose long-form immersive content.”

For a taste of Angela Bole’s sense of humor, check out her current favorite YouTube video:

Thanks, Angela!

Read the full Publishing University Delivers blog series:
Blog #1: Discoverability: Reach Readers and Sell More Books
Blog #2: Reaching Unique Audiences
Blog #3: The Latest on eBooks
Blog #4: A Closer Look at IBPA’s New Executive Director, Angela Bole

Mary Cornell-IBPAAbout the Author: As a writer, freelance editor, and artist, Marly Cornell’s expertise includes writing, ghostwriting, developmental, and substantive editing for author manuscripts as well as copyediting and proofreading for books, articles, newsletters, and promotional materials. Subjects of prime interest are healthcare, human behavior and psychology, ethics, philosophy, social justice, art, animal issues, spirituality, and faith.

She is the author of The Able Life of Cody Jane (LightaLight Publications, 2011), which was published with the support of the Spina Bifida Association (see www.theablelife.com), and coauthor, with Don Warner, of the award-winning book, Walks on the Beach With Angie (North Star Press of St Cloud, 2008).

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