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Spotlight: IBPA Member Achievements

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Imagine opening your Google Alerts and discovering that your book has been selected as a prize in Amazon.com’s 10-year anniversary sweepstakes. That was the holiday season surprise for Granite Peak Publications, which saw its Yellowstone Treasures: The Traveler’s Companion to the National Park in a gift basket with Canon photography equipment and a gift certificate for a trip to Yellowstone.

Although promoted by Amazon for only one week, the book’s sales hit a record high in December, reports author/publisher Janet Chapple. She credits the Amazon sweepstakes along with her work with publicist Kate Bandos earlier in the year for an increase in sales of 3,100 units in 2009, an uptick of more than 60 percent from 2008. 

NW Trillium Press has reaped the benefits of niche publications. Its revived Minnie Rose Lovgreen’s Recipe for Raising Chickens, a saddle-stitched guide first published in the 1970s, had a dramatic spike in sales after a feature story in the December/January issue of MaryJanesFarm, a magazine subtitled Simple Solutions for Everyday Organic that has a circulation of 125,000. Amazon.com sales took off, and by press time NW Trillium had sold 139 copies direct via PayPal, many to readers in the U.K. (the late Lovgreen’s birthplace).

MaryJanesFarm is considering NW Trillium’s new biography of Lovgreen for a review this spring, and the online publication Small Town Living (“A Simpler Life in Small Town America”) plans to review both books and explain how Lovgreen, when terminally ill, dictated her chicken advice to publisher Nancy Rekow.

Meanwhile, Rekow and partner Everett Thompson are planning their summer appearances, which will take them from Washington state’s Bainbridge Island (for the Tour d’ Coup henhouse tours) to Britain’s Hockvold Cum Wilton, site of Lovgreen’s childhood home and home of the descendants of her brothers and sisters. 

Raven Tree Press’s A Walk with Grandpa has been added to the Texas 2 × 2 Reading List, a project of the Children’s Round Table. The 2 × 2 Committee, a unit of the Texas Library Association, each year recommends 20 books for children age 2 to grade two. To nominate a title for consideration, see txla.org/groups/crt/2X2intro.htm.

“Perfect timing,” reports Jordan McAuley of Mega Niche Media, whose Celebrity Leverage: Insider Secrets to Getting Celebrity Endorsements, Instant Credibility and Star-Powered Publicity was released the same week the Tiger Woods scandal broke. As a result of news coverage about endorsements, Celebrity Leverage is scheduled for an April 22 feature in Investor’s Business Daily, and McAuley was interviewed for two summer episodes of Inside Hollywood, a documentary television series that airs in Canada and Europe.

IBPA members ReadHowYouWant and Independent Publishers Group are working together to create accessible formats of IPG titles. ReadHowYouWant will use its technology to convert printed books into such alternative formats as 16–24-point EasyRead® large print, Braille, e-books, synthesized audio MP3, and DAISY, a talking book format that produces audio along with the written text.  The new editions will be sold at readhowyouwant.com concurrently with the publication of print editions. 

Through May, Cruisin’ the Fossil Freeway: An Epoch Tale of a Scientist and an Artist on the Ultimate 5,000-Mile Paleo Road Trip (Fulcrum Books) is the focus of an exhibit featured at a museum on the University of Washington campus in Seattle. Titled (no surprise!) “Cruisin’ the Fossil Freeway,” the Burke Museum exhibit was organized in collaboration with book authors and self-proclaimed “paleo nerds” Ray Troll and Kirk Johnson. It combines visuals and stories from the book with real fossils from the Burke paleontology collection. There’s also a video about Troll’s artistic process. Johnson is a native of a Seattle suburb, and Troll earned his MFA at Washington State University. 

Publishers should do more to support smaller bookstores, Linda Carlson was quoted as saying in “The Future of the Industry: Whose Hands Is It In,” in the January/February issue of Book Business. Carlson cited such examples as running contests and offering promotional help in return for high-profile book placement in stores, strategies she has used at Parenting Press, where the “Fish Lips Face Photo Contest” (parentingpress.com/fishlips/index.html) inexpensively promotes a 2000 release, The Way I Feel, and its 2010 Spanish edition. 

Allworth Press publisher Tad Crawford is also the published author of fiction. His short story “Becoming One of Us” is online at The Café Irreal, which describes itself as a quarterly Webzine of “fantastic fiction.” You can read the story at cafeirreal.alicewhittenburg.com/crawford.htm.

Lori Hilliard, author and publisher of Sending Love: My “Different-Functional” Family, was invited to post the article “Just Who Will I Be? Author, Mother, Risk-Taker” to the 2009 Maria Shriver’s Women’s Conference Web site. To read it, go to womensconference.org/just-who-will-i-be.

Valerie Webster reports that the Kenneth G. Mills Foundation has been successful in increasing the number of reviews of its books on Amazon.com by posting review requests on Dan Poynter’s Publishing Poynters Marketplace Newsletter, freelancewriting.com/newsletters/publishing-poynters-marketplace.php. 

If you want to publish using print-on-demand and you don’t want to work through CreateSpace, your books can still be considered for direct sales on Amazon.com, thanks to the January resolution of the Booklocker lawsuit. It challenged Amazon’s early 2008 ultimatum that all POD titles be published either through its BookSurge unit (now CreateSpace) or sold through the Amazon Advantage program. 

A winter issue of Publishers Weekly included a survey report showing that 39 percent of publishers contacted have switched to online catalogs as a means of reducing marketing expenses. A random check of larger IBPA members’ Web sites shows that among those making the same change are Advance Publishing, Eckankar, Homa & Sekey, Illumination Arts, North Star Press, Sourcebooks, and Tilbury House. 

Members in the Spotlight is compiled by Linda Carlson, who welcomes news of unusual special sales, significant media coups, and other achievements at linda@ibpa-online.org. Please submit your information in the text of your email. This column does not use news about nonmembers or images.

Since information for Members in the Spotlight is needed at least six weeks in advance of an issue’s publication date, news you submit by April 15 can be considered for the June and later issues. Items that are time sensitive and miss the Spotlight deadline—awards, events, mentions on TV and radio, and co-opportunities—can be directed to Lisa@ibpa-online.org for the IBPA e-newsletter Independent Publishing Now.



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