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Meeting Mashup

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by Deb Vanasse, IBPA Independent staff reporter

Deb Vanasse

IBPA INDEPENDENT staff reporter Deb Vanasse reached out to the IBPA membership to hear their thoughts on conventions and meetings. We received many great responses, some of which can be found here. Thank you to everyone who responded to our query.

Elizabeth Crowens

“It’s important that I get on a panel—preferably multiple panels—and also have an official way to sell my books, either through the Broad Universe table (nonprofit organization of women writers supporting women) or an indie vendor in the dealer’s room.”

— Elizabeth Crowens, Author


Ester Lopez Grubb

“The most positive thing that came out of a conference was the RWA [Romance Writers of America] conference in Atlanta. I learned a lot about self-publishing, which got the ball rolling for me to publish my book. They also have workshops recorded so that we can purchase the tapes. These tapes are also helpful when someone cannot attend the conference; they are available for sale after the conference to non-attendees.”

— Ester Lopez Grubb, Publisher, Writing & Photographic Services LLC

“I attend a lot of teleconferences put together by the Guild, AWP [Association of Writers & Writing Programs], and PEN American Center. I also attend local events that are held by local book stores as well as book clubs and other author-related seminars.”

— Roy A. Teel Jr., Author, Narroway Publishing LLC/ Imprint: Narroway Press

Kathi Dunn

“There are many positive experiences that have come from attending conferences—most of them revolve around meeting new clients who we’ve been able to help through the maze of manuscript to finished book and to become successful with a strong brand. Many of those have become long-term friends, as well.”

— Kathi Dunn, Senior Designer and President, DUNN+ASSOCIATES


Roy M. Carlisle

“My decisions [on what conferences to attend] are based on my professional needs as an acquisitions editor and my sense of whether I need to attend a conference to promote a certain book. As an acquisitions editor, this year I will attend the Southern Economic Association conference in Washington, D.C., to search for projects suitable to my think tank book publishing program. But I will also attend the American Academy of Religion/Society of Biblical Literature joint conference to search for appropriate religious manuscripts.”

— Roy M. Carlisle, Acquisitions Director, Independent Institute

Kathryn Kemp Guylay

“I am a new fan of virtual conferences. This year, I attended the Non Fiction Writers Conference, Podcast Movement, the Virtual Podcast Success Summit, and the Women’s Virtual Success Summit (as a speaker).”

— Kathryn Kemp Guylay, Principal, Healthy Solutions of Sun Valley


Vivian Owens

“Positive experience at IBPA conference: I met Peter Goodman of Stone Bridge Press. He gave me insight into how to make decisions about selling book rights. He did not say ‘do this’ or ‘do that.’ Instead, he led me into queries about what I wanted. He helped me to focus on the merits or qualities of books that Eschar Publications has published. In short, he helped me to create a map for travel down the road of rights.”

— Vivian Owens, Owner, Eschar Publications LLC


Vivian Dubrovin

“Usually the negative conference experiences’ turn into positive experiences when I use them for ideas for something that is needed. For example, the negative experience one conference attendee had with a beautiful picture book that was too mature a theme for the picture-book audience gave me the idea for an upcoming workshop. I began lecturing and writing columns on Beyond the Picture Book: Exploring the Best Opportunities for Independent Publishers in Children’s Books.”

— Vivian Dubrovin, Managing Director, Storycraft Publishing

Marti Melville

“Sales is a big benefit of conferences, but the group association and bonding that goes on between authors is huge! When authors are supportive of one another, sales and promotions outside of the event rise.”

— Marti Melville, CEO/Owner, Doce Blant Publishing


Rana DiOrio

“We are active members of a global community and, as such, we believe that attending international book fairs, the Bologna Children’s Book Fair in particular, remains important for several reasons. They help us to: 1) perceive and be empathic to others, which is central to our mission of fostering kindness in young people, 2) gain an understanding of what media children need, 3) learn and share best practices, 4) stay abreast of global industry developments, 5) meet and collaborate with authors, illustrators, publishers, and other partners from all over the world, 6) identify new sales and distribution opportunities, and, of course, 7) sell rights to our stories and acquire rights to others.”

— Rana DiOrio, Founder and CEO, Little Pickle Press

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