PUBLISHED JULY/AUGUST 2018
by Kristin Fields, Associate Editor, IBPA Independent magazine —
The world of independent book publishing is new to Imbrifex Books, but they’re quickly rising to the top.
Imbrifex Books is relatively new to the independent book publishing space. In fact, it was just last year, in 2017, that their first books were published. But the Las Vegas, Nevada-based publisher is no stranger to the world of writing and publishing at large. Long before Google Maps began guiding us at every turn, or Instagram inspired us to jet-set to exotic locales, Mark Sedenquist, publisher at Imbrifex Books, was writing and publishing book reviews and travel advice columns on RoadTripAmerica.com, which launched in 1996 and is one of the early travel sites on the web. With more than 22 years of experience writing for the site, in addition to freelance articles for national magazines, newspapers, and general interest websites, it’s no accident that Imbrifex Book’s recent ascent has been swift.
“Things started coming together when some established publishers we’d known for a long time began encouraging us to start a new press,” says Sedenquist, who also noted they had been publishing books by other publishers at the time and thought about writing a series of road trip guidebooks. Imbrifex Books is now distributed to the trade by Publisher’s Group West (PGW), publishing six to seven titles per year.
Imbrifex Books’ STRINGS; A LOVE STORY by Megan Edwards – an IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award Gold Winner
This year at the annual IBPA Awards Ceremony, Imbrifex Books walked away with IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards for four of their titles, claiming gold in three categories and silver in another. For a fledgling publisher, this achievement is not only impressive, but speaks to the extreme care the press takes with each of its selections. “It’s wonderful to be acknowledged for our first books, and it encourages us to keep choosing projects that we find compelling and well-crafted,” Sedenquist says.
Beyond the excitement of recognition, Sedenquist notes the incredible business advantages of winning these awards. “Awards create new opportunities for publicity, and they attract the attention of book festivals and book event organizers who seek award-winning authors for panels and presentations,” Sedenquist says. “They also help attract quality submissions, another big plus. We have also found that booksellers like to know about award-winning books they can share with their customers.”
Awards aside, the road ahead for Imbrifex Books is promising. The publisher has four separate series in the works, with three focusing on travel. “Providing written advice every day for more than 22 years to people planning road trips in North America gave us a solid background in road travel, as well as relationships with some wonderful writers,” Sedenquist remarks. But true to their pioneer spirit, Imbrifex Books is eagerly taking on other genres, forging into fiction and memoir.
For Sedenquist, it doesn’t matter if the book is a travel guide or a romance—as long as it takes them on a journey. “We are always on the lookout for authors to write books for [our current] series … and are willing to consider new ideas, too,” Sedenquist says, noting they accept submissions and proposals via Imbrifex.com. “We look for those writers whose work is so compelling it makes us late for our next meeting.”
Fully aware they are new to the space, Imbrifex acknowledges they have much to learn. “One thing we have learned already is that promoting books—and fiction titles in particular—is a gigantic and expensive challenge. Two years ago, we probably should have tripled how much start-up cash we thought would be required for PR and advertising,” Sedenquist notes. But, as with most new ventures, sometimes it’s better to learn along the way. “Had we realized then what it would take to compete, we might not have leapt into the fray,” Sedenquist says.
If dedicating the better part of their careers to travel writing has taught Imbrifex anything, it’s that the end destination is not where lessons are learned, and there is no one path to success. “Remember that the journey itself is rewarding, and the people you meet make life worthwhile,” Sedenquist says. “And, sometimes, you get a crystal trophy to put on your shelf that lets you know other people are rooting for you. That’s extra sweet!”
Kristin Fields is the associate editor of IBPA Independent magazine.