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Director’s Desk: Latch On to the IBPA Affiliate Advantage

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by Angela Bole, CEO, Independent Book Publishers Association

Angela Bole

Did you know that IBPA, as the largest national association of publishers, supports 24 regional affiliates that may be of benefit to you? This December, as you think about ways to make the next year a successful one for your publishing business, perhaps you could add “Join an IBPA affiliate” to your list of resolutions.

To find a group in your area, see the list on the first page of every issue of the Independent or visit ibpa-online.org/resources/affiliates.

IBPA’s mission is to lead and serve the independent publishing community by providing advocacy, education, and tools for success. Adhering to this mission helps create a world where every independent publisher has the tools and knowledge needed to professionally engage with all aspects of the publishing industry.

But we can’t do it alone. IBPA’s affiliate associations play an important part in helping achieve all the above.

While IBPA is large enough to support marketing and educational programs at a national level, each one of our affiliate associations offers person-to-person proximity that can bridge you with colleagues at a local level. Affiliate associations often meet monthly, and when you join one you receive a discount on your IBPA membership and a chance to win a scholarship to Publishing University.

Exuberant attendees at the Flordia Authors and Publishers Association's (FAPA's) APA Spring 2015 Conference

Exuberant attendees at the Flordia Authors and Publishers Association’s (FAPA’s) APA Spring 2015 Conference.

The book industry doesn’t discriminate against independently published books or even self-published books. It penalizes poor quality and, in the case of our downstream trading partners, limits access at multiple points of distribution in an overcrowded market. At a bare minimum, IBPA members must produce high-quality books, differentiated in the market by professional reviews, strong comparables, and documented author credentials, and distributed via trusted, widely used distribution platforms.

Literary Attorney Jean Makene packed the house at a St. Louis Publishers Association (SLPA)  meeting in November.

Literary Attorney Jean Makene packed the house at a St. Louis Publishers Association (SLPA) meeting in November.

Of course, it is IBPA’s privilege to provide education, marketing, and networking resources that help members reach the standard of excellence described above. Still, local markets can be a strong factor in an indie publisher’s success, and your regional affiliate is your connection to all things local.

For example, here are a few things happening at affiliate associations (perhaps) near you:

  • The Independent Publishers of New England (IPNE) can display your book at the New England Library Association (NELA) Annual Conference.
  • You won’t miss a beat with the Midwest Independent Publishers Association (MIPA). Because it covers 12 states, it now records its monthly member meetings and provides these recordings free to members who can’t attend in person.
  • In 2016, the Northern California Publishers Association (NCPA) will host its first conference since 2010. Volunteers welcome!
  • The Publishers Association of Los Angeles (PALA) can be counted on for its monthly in-person program series covering everything from book design to distribution options.
  • The Texas Authors Association (TAA) will host an Authors Marketing Conference on April 30 and May 1, 2016, in Austin. Again, volunteers welcome!

This list gives you just a small taste of what awaits you as an active member of an IBPA affiliate association. I hope you will consider joining one and then taking advantage of your IBPA member discount, as well—two birds with one stone!

Just before Angela Bole became IBPA’s Executive Director, she was Deputy Executive Director of the Book Industry Study Group, Inc. (BISG), which fosters conversation and consensus across all sectors of the book business. Before that, Angela served for two years as BISG’s Associate Director and two years as its Marketing and Communications Manager. Angela also serves as Treasurer on the Board of Directors of IDPF, the International Digital Publishing Forum.

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