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Director’s Desk: Welcome to the Operations & HR Issue!

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by Angela Bole, CEO, Independent Book Publishers Association

Angela Bole

I know, I know. Most of you didn’t enter the business of publishing because of a love for operations. You entered this business to share ideas, to reach people with the written word—perhaps to change the world. Mastering metadata and managing contractors wasn’t tops on your list.

Even so, anyone in this business for any length of time learns the value of operations. There are no guarantees, but one thing’s for sure: Solid attention to operational matters must certainly be in place if success is to be possible. In other words, and as noted in the subhead of this issue’s cover story, “having a good product is important, but if you don’t implement sound management practices, your business will flounder.”

To get you thinking along these lines, we’ve packed this issue with advice and anecdotes. I’ve already mentioned Deb Vanasse’s in-depth cover story, “Organizational Value” , where she discusses business structures, working relationships, accounting, royalties, and more. You’ll also find Helen Sedwick’s piece, “Navigating the Legal Landscape of Manuscript Reviews”, and a look at the state of ethnically diverse characters in children’s books in “Where Are the Ethnically Diverse Characters in Children’s Books?” by Paul Dixon.

For my part, I wanted to leave you with a short list of books that have contributed to my professional education over the past 15 years. I hope this list is helpful and that you’ll e-mail me at angela@ibpa-online.org with your additional suggestions. Together we help each other achieve and succeed!

Book Recommendations

The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses

by Eric Ries (ISBN 978-0307887894)
Why it’s great: Eric Ries defines a start-up as “an organization dedicated to creating something new under conditions of extreme uncertainty.” By this definition, every book published is a start-up that could benefit from leveraging creativity more effectively. This book helps you understand how.

Publishing for Profit: Successful Bottom-Line Management for Book Publishers (5th Edition)

by Thomas Woll (ISBN 978-1556529979)
Why it’s great:As Dominique Raccah, Publishers Weekly’s 2016 Person of the Year and Publisher at Sourcebooks, wrote, “[This book] is as close to an operations manual for a book publishing company as can be found.”


You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life

by Jen Sincero (ISBN 978-0762447695)
Why it’s great:This is just great fun. Although not specifically a business book, its ability to help you better understand your motivations will certainly apply to your business—especially if you’re self-employed.


The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It

by Michael E. Gerber (ISBN 978-0887307287)
Why it’s great:This has been one of my favorites for over a decade. In it, Gerber walks you through the steps in the life of a business from entrepreneurial infancy, through adolescent growing pains, to the mature entrepreneurial perspective, the “guiding light of all businesses that succeed.” A must-read for anyone looking to expand their business without knowing exactly how.


Just before Angela Bole became IBPA’s Chief Executive Officer, 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.

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