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by Florrie Kichler

Independent but Not Alone: Building Community, Providing Value

Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, working together is success.—Henry Ford

I recently received the following email from a beginning publisher. Many of you may recognize yourselves in his words (reproduced with his permission):

I’m looking, now, for real ways to boost sales for my indy press. My novel is its first effort, to be followed by all the rest of mine, and then, other writers’ works, if I have the stomach for that.

My grassroots plan is working, with good local sales. Barnes & Noble stores, locally, for example, want the book, and advise that I pitch their corporate folks to deal with me for distribution rather than Ingram/Lightning Source. I can offer returns that way, and break into their system. That is one of my many efforts, and I sure could use strong, real help to flesh out the rest and adopt new ideas from you.

Please tell me, beyond what I will read on the site, how and why you believe in IBPA and have become el Presidente.

Thanks for your thoughts.


As you read this, your association is beginning an outreach unprecedented in scope to offer our marketing programs, educational opportunities, benefits, and advocacy to independent publishers from coast to coast—and beyond. We will be working closely with our regional affiliates to help them reach the publishers in their areas, not just to make them aware of the services and support offered by their local and national associations, but to communicate the very real advantage of the affiliate as a place to network face-to-face with their fellow publishers.

At all times, but particularly as we all struggle with the current economic conditions, your trade association’s goal is to help you, as publisher and member, not just survive but thrive and grow. We know that you need us most when times are tough. As we move forward in our effort to expand our services to help you succeed, we’ll be asking each one of you to join us in reaching out to your fellow publishers to offer the kind of help they can only find in the IBPA family—watch for details coming soon.

Charles’s email made me think—after all, in addition to being president of IBPA, I’m also an independent publisher just like you who pays my dues—why do I believe in IBPA?

Two words—value and community.

Warren Buffett said, “Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.” As members, you are all familiar with the thousands of dollars worth of benefits, the 70-plus marketing programs, the educational opportunities including Publishing University, Publishing University Online, and the Regional Universities, and IBPA as your advocate and voice in the publishing industry. And those are just the high points.

As part of the IBPA publishing community, you have access to the knowledge of nearly 4,000 colleagues—in the monthly Independent articles, in the more than 100 teachers at Publishing University, in the 25 affiliate groups around the country. Your board of directors, with a combined total of more than 100 years of experience in publishing, is constantly working on your behalf to improve our services and support to you, our members. And our dedicated staff headed by Terry Nathan is always available to answer your questions and provide solutions.

Why I Believe in IBPA

Here’s what I told Charles:

Ten years ago I was a publisher with a dream but without a company, and not the first idea how to start one. That was the year I attended my first then-PMA Publishing University and got more than ideas—I carried back a blueprint for starting and thriving at the business of publishing. I now have 14 books in print, 10 books in audiobook format, and 14 e-books. Our Young Patriots series has won 10 national awards for excellence.

Thanks to IBPA’s Trade Distribution program, my first book was accepted by distributor IPG, which has widened the net on book sales in the United States and beyond. Thanks to IBPA’s marketing programs, I was able to reach libraries and bookstores cost-effectively through cooperative mailings, and display my books in IBPA’s cooperative booths at the major book trade shows. Thanks to IBPA, I have an advocate in the industry looking out for my best interests as an independent publisher. Thanks to IBPA, I receive a monthly newsletter that is widely touted as a master’s program in publishing. Thanks to IBPA’s publishing education programs, I’ve learned both what to do and what not to do to survive and grow in the sometimes chaotic and ever-changing world of publishing.

And most important, thanks to IBPA, I have had the opportunity to network with and learn from my fellow publisher members whose challenges are similar to what I’m facing.

I invite you to give us a try and urge you to participate to the extent that you can—we have more than 25 affiliates all over the country, and if there is one in your area, that will give you yet another opportunity to “pick the brains” of your fellow publishers as you move forward in your business.

I can’t promise your membership will bring you success—that will be up to you. But what your membership will bring you is access to marketing tools, education, and the experience of your fellow members. That will save you a lot of time and money in your publishing business—and isn’t that what value is all about?

Thanks for asking!


My virtual door is always open. Please share your comments, thoughts, and ideas by emailing me at fkichler@patriapress.com.



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