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“The question isn’t which format the reader will choose, but if there will be readers in the first place,” wrote Rudy Shur, head of Square One Publishers, in the April 18 “Soapbox” column of Publishers Weekly.

You should worry more about teaching America’s children to read as entertainment rather than about whether you should be publishing digital or paper books, he says: “Without a vibrant and growing reading public to buy e-books or tree-books, who are we going to sell our titles to in the future?”


Deborah Robson of Nomad Press, one of the small publishers who also write for larger presses, is launching her 448-page, four-pound The Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook: More Than 200 Fibers, from Animal to Spun Yarn (co-authored with Carol Ekarius, and published by Storey Press) with appearances at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, an event that usually attracts as many as 100,000 people, and at the National Needlework Association. She’s also starting a blog tour June 15, and she’s working with The Spin Doctor, Reviews for Handspinners, which interviewed her for podcasts and is running a contest for an autographed copy of Sourcebook that will end June 30 to tie into the book launch.

In addition (whew!), Robson has placed several articles in the Interweave Knits, Spin-Off, and Piecework magazines published by IBPA member Interweave Press, and she’s teaching at its Spin-Off Autumn Retreat and promoting her new 120-minute DVD for Interweave, Handspinning Rare Wools.

Her “must spin” recommendations appear in such blogs as the one for Knitty Magazine, and last month she was interviewed for a podcast that will be available soon on Fiber Beat. Her own blog, Independent Stitch, started in 2006, has described the creation of The Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook and averages at least 100 visitors a day, even when there are no new posts; one recent day, Robson reports, it attracted more than 400.

Those of you interested in television appearances may want to read the detailed story of her appearance on prepping for Knitting Daily—seen on many PBS stations—on knittingdaily.com/blogs/tuned_in/archive/2011/03/16/fiber-guru-deb-robson-s-tips-win-unicorn-fibre-wash.aspx.


We have a choice, Martin Shepard reminds us: We can be proactive instead of radioactive. That’s one of the pitches he’s using to promote a free download of Karl Grossman’s updated Cover Up: What You Are Not Supposed to Know about Nuclear Power.

Shepard’s company, Permanent Press, is demonstrating how to be proactive with its promotion of a title first published more than 20 years ago and allowed to go out of print. Because Permanent Press couldn’t immediately interest a large house in issuing the updated book, it released the free download in April at PermanentPress.com.

Besides publicizing this on the company Web site and Facebook page, the press used Shepard’s blog, Grossman’s contacts with environmental Web sites, and an ad on the Publishers Weekly site. Grossman started the month doing as many as five radio interviews a day, including an appearance with Shepard on a Long Island NPR affiliate station that generated dozens of questions from listeners.

This followed a lengthy article by Grossman on HuffingtonPost.com in March that was tied to the earthquake, tsunami, and related nuclear plant calamities in Japan, and his op-ed piece in the Jerusalem Post about Israel’s decision not to pursue construction of a nuclear plant in the wake of the Fukushima disaster. Hoffman reports that his most unusual media interview was one with PressTV, a Tehran-based English-language station.

An Array of Awards

Three IBPA members won gold awards in the 27th annual book design awards program sponsored by the Publishers Association of the West (PubWest). Sourcebooks was honored in several categories and received the top award in both Short Stories/Poetry/Anthologies—for The 100 Best African-American Poems—and Children/Young Adult, Non Illustrated—for The Allegra Biscotti Collection. Parenting Press was honored in Children/Young Adult, Illustrated, for The Way I Act, and Getty Publications was honored in Academic/Non-trade for Conserving Outdoor Sculpture: The Stark Collection at the Getty Center.


Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever? from Basic Health Publications was ranked as high as 1,647 on Amazon.com after being selected as the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians’ Book of the Month for April. On the association Web site, Naturopathic.org, it was described as, “Introducing the planet’s powerful, amazing, and overlooked natural healing energy!”

Publisher Norm Goldfind reports that Earthing has stayed prominent in Amazon rankings since publication in 2010, always at least as high as 2,500.


Rachel Y. Moon, co-author of a Parenting Press e-book on preventing sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), was quoted at length in a recent Wall Street Journal article, “When a Cuddly Crib Puts the Baby in Danger.” “There should be nothing in the crib but the baby,” said Moon, a doctor and the head of the American Academy of Pediatrics task force on SIDS.


Great Potential Press also got coverage recently in the Wall Street Journal. Its “Work & Family Mailbox” column called the press a helpful source of information about the needs of intellectually gifted children and recommended two of its titles.


Secretariat’s Meadow: The Land, the Family, the Legend, published last fall by Dementi Milestone Publishing and already in its third printing, was honored with an Irish crystal trophy and $1,000 as a finalist in the Dr. Tony Ryan Book Award, a national competition sponsored by Thoroughbred Times magazine and Castleton Lyons, a Kentucky Thoroughbred farm founded by Ryan.


Publishers interested in saving money on printing, binding, and postage are tempted today to offer digital review copies. Does that work? Yes—and no.

At Lerner Publishing Group, publicist Lindsay Matvick reports using e-galleys to supplement traditional review copies. “Most of the requests we receive for them are from bloggers, teachers, librarians, and freelance journalists,” she notes, adding that she’d love to be able to use e-galleys for trade publications, but “at this time they don’t fit into the review process for journals such as Publishers Weekly, Booklist, Horn Book, or School Library Journal.”

Lerner uses NetGalley (netgalley.com), which charges publishers a setup fee plus a monthly fee based on the number of titles available on its site. “Professional readers” can browse the list of available galleys and use NetGalley to ask publishers for access to the ones they want. Other publishers provide e-galleys by making PDFs or other digital editions available on their Web sites or sending them out in response to review requests.

Lin Pardey at Pardey Books says she’s spotted an e-galley trend: “Editors of sailing publications and everyone older than 30 to whom I sent a PDF of our new book either printed out copies or asked to see a galley. Two of the early readers, both younger than 30, said they read the entire 300-page memoir on their e-readers.” Pardey adds that her publicist, Maryglenn McComb, has had little luck with getting reviews from people who got electronic galleys.

At C & T Publishing, publicist Megan Scott notes that electronic galleys eliminate shipping time and problems for international publications; that this quilt and craft company’s opt-in consumer review program has been very successful with PDFs; and that an increasing number of magazines will accept them. However, Scott went on to say, as Matvick did, that “publications within the book trade have not been open to reviewing digital copies.”

Dan Poynter at Para Publishing says he believes traditional galleys are no longer relevant, and that sending PDFs to reviewers gets few results. Given that many publishing journals now charge for reviews, which often appear only in their online editions, he questions the value of traditional review publications.

Send a printed book instead, he advises, adding, “We promote online only. We send printed books to blogs, to people who contribute to forums, to relevant Web site owners, and to other opinion leaders.”

Members in the Spotlight is compiled by Linda Carlson (lindacarlson.com). She welcomes news of unusual special sales, licensing deals, significant media coups, and other achievements at linda@ibpa-online.org. Remember to submit news items promptly. The focus of this column is as much about how you accomplish something as what you accomplish, so details and specific how-to’s are important.

Please submit your information in the text of your email, and remember to include your name, title, and the name of your press. This column does not use news about nonmembers. It does not ordinarily use photos or other images. To ensure that you receive Linda’s emails, please check that her address has been added to the approved sender list in your email program—and that you have an updated email address on file with the IBPA office, ibpa-online.org.

Since information for Members in the Spotlight is needed at least six weeks in advance of the Independent’s issue date, news that you submit by June 15 can be considered for the August and later issues. News that is time-sensitive and misses the Spotlight deadline—awards, events, upcoming television and radio appearances, and co-opportunities—should be directed to Lisa Krebs in the IBPA office atlisa@ibpa-online.org for inclusion in the IBPA e-newsletter Independent Publishing Now.



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