What IBPA Affiliates Can Do for You
by Francine L. Trevens
In these days of “me first” or even “me only,” it is refreshing and encouraging to see organizations such as IBPA’s 25 affiliate groups that serve a community. Each of these groups offers slightly different assistance and opportunities to its members, but all are dedicated to making the publishing life easier for those who participate in their programs and meetings.
With all the services IBPA provides, why does anyone join an affiliate as well? I contacted a number of affiliates around the country to ask this question. Their responses are as individual as independent presses themselves. Yet each affiliate offers a local connection, a person-to-person proximity.
Joining any of these groups gets you a discount on your IBPA membership fee, as well as the chance to win a scholarship to Publishing University and ways to mingle with other independent publishers, although where and how members mingle varies. Most affiliates use a restaurant or hotel or a venue such as a college classroom.
As you think about ways to make 2010 a good year for your publishing business, you may want to add “Join an affiliate” to your New Year’s resolutions. To find the group in your area, see the list on the back cover of every issue of the Independent or visit ibpa-online.org.
Selected Groups at a Glance
CIPA—Colorado Independent Publishers Association—has hundreds of members and dues of more than $100 a year, while GNYIPA—the Greater New York Independent Publishers Association—considers itself in good shape if it has more than 25 members each paying $35 in annual dues. Since IBPA gives a $25 deduction to members of all affiliates, this means that membership is virtually free in GNYIPA, as it is in several other affiliate groups with dues at about the same level.
Many affiliates meet monthly, as does NWABP—Northwest Association of Book Publishers—where roughly 40 of its 70 members attend meetings that run about two hours. Paul Gerhards, the president of this group, reports that the first hour features announcements followed by introductions of all present and a networking break. During the second hour, a speaker gives a presentation on some aspect of the publishing business. Like CIPA, NWABP holds board meetings directly after regular meetings.
BAIPA—Bay Area Independent Publishers Association—also meets monthly, from 9:00 until 12:30 on Saturdays, with a board meeting directly after, according to Lin A. Lacombe, currently this affiliate’s VP of marketing, and formerly its vice president.
By contrast, FLA—Florida Library Association—meets only twice a year, but meetings run for a full day and board meetings are frequent, generally by phone.
In New York City, GNYIPA’s board is more apt to meet via email. Like other affiliates, this one offers discounts on IBPA membership and potential scholarships to Publishing University.
Mara Purl reports that CIPA “transforms members with a publishing dream into professional publishers or professionally published authors.” The group’s immediate past president and current acting vice president, Purl says CIPA is “primarily an educational organization, so our College and programs are the core of what we offer.”
Specifics she provides include:
• CIPA College, one of the most extensive and professional annual programs in the
country; a three-day conference held each March
• monthly programs with professional speakers who focus on targeted topics
to help members succeed
• smaller monthly Armchair meetings, with attendance limited to 25 members, first
come, first served; these meetings tend to be more hands-on, more interactive
• networking and mentoring—very active throughout the entire group
• trade show participation at group rates
• a monthly newsletter
• a Web listing of member services
• the ability to apply for the EVVY Book Awards
For FLA members, a big plus is the chance to display their books at the Florida Library Association annual convention and the annual convention of Florida Association for Media in Education (FAME), which serves school librarians.
Betsy Wright-Lampe, the group’s association executive, mentions a number of other services:
• the FPA Sell More Books! Newsletter, published 10 times a year as a PDF
• a chance to get an IBPA-U Scholarship, IBPA stipend, and FPA stipend
• two main conferences, spring and fall, with out-of-town speakers, vendors, and more
• the opportunity to compete for President’s Book Awards, open to FPA members only,
for books published in the previous two years
• the ability to write, call, email or otherwise propose publishing questions to Betsy;
if she doesn’t know the answer, she’ll find someone who does
Paul Gerhards of NWABP feels, “Our most important services are educating and supporting our membership, through our speakers and networking opportunities.”
Lin Lacombe sums up what BAIP offers as “knowledge,” and she lists these specifics:
• the annual BAIPA Get Published! Institute
• monthly meetings with lively Q&A and networking (and snacks)
• a monthly newsletter with informative articles
• other networking opportunities
• speakers with industry expertise
• discounts on IBPA membership and conferences
• book exhibit opportunities at trade shows and conferences
GNYIPA, of which I am a founding member and now chair emeritus, was formed to assist independent publishers, and especially small publishers and self-publishers.
The group offers:
• help in understanding and meeting industry standards
• ways to exchange information, personal experiences, and advice
• promotion of publishing and our publishers through programs such as readings and
seminars open to the public
• underwriting of certain payments to help very small publishers participate
in book fairs
• opportunities for members to tell about their latest achievements, book sales,
publicity breaks, etc.
• occasional discounts for events at the New York Center for Independent Publishers,
which provides us with space to meet
Excellence as the End in View
“‘Independent’ does not mean every publisher doing things the way that person wants to do them,” Mara Purl says. “It means gathering independent resources to achieve excellence.”
Like leaders at other affiliates, Purl feels “it’s important to be aware of, teach, and adhere to industry standards,” and she observes that “we can meet industry standards only by being in constant dialogue within our own groups and with other affiliates through IBPA.
“Together, we’re a national force for excellence in publishing.”
Francine Trevens has been a freelance writer for more than 65 years, and a publisher of TnT Classic Books for more than 15. Her articles, stories, and poems have appeared in over 100 publications, and in online magazines. Her company continues to print the JH Press series of plays and recently inaugurated The Happy Task Series of adult and children’s literature.