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President’s Post: What’s New? A Trio from IBPA

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by Florrie Binford Kichler, Executive Director, Independent Book Publishers Association —

Florrie Binford Kichler

Florrie Binford Kichler

Cynics say that there’s nothing new under the sun, but I invite those cynics to take a look at IBPA, where the joint’s jumpin’ with new ways to increase the value of your membership. Right now—from the folks who in the last 12 months brought you (to name a few benefits) cost-effective entrée to the NetGalley book review service, a massive Website redesign to improve your access to IBPA education and resources, Ask the Experts online, and a slew of new money-saving discounts on goods and services—here come three more initiatives to warm up your winter.

No new venture goes anywhere without the supporters and believers to drive it forward, and all the people mentioned below are true champions of these latest programs.

The Benjamin Franklin Digital Awards

“The Benjamin Franklin Digital Awards honor innovation in electronic book publishing by individuals and organizations of all sizes, including publishers, software developers, designers, manufacturers, institutions, and technology leaders. The definition of ‘book’ continues to expand, and the Independent Book Publishers Association wishes to honor and encourage the field’s innovators with a marquee, rolling awards program”—from the BFDA Website.

Joining older sibling Benjamin Franklin Awards for print, this new addition to IBPA’s educational programming provides the opportunity for publishers and technology innovators to gain visibility for their e-books/products while at the same time (like publishers applying for Benjamin Franklin Awards) learning how to improve via feedback directly from judges.

BFDA are rolling awards, meaning that the Gold and Silver awards are continually given all year round. In addition, entrants are competing not against one another but against a standard of excellence judges use to evaluate them. Judges are selected from experienced and knowledgeable experts in the industry.

All honorees will receive certificates and an award graphic for use in covers, Websites, social media outlets, and otherwise. Honorees will also be showcased and promoted to the book trade industry on the IBPA Website and through the IBPA social media platforms, newsletters, and media releases. And honorees will be listed in a house ad in the Independent, the official print publication of IBPA, and will be recognized at a gala event at the IBPA Publishing University, held each spring. Visit ibpa-bfda.org for the most up-to-date information on this exciting new program from IBPA.

Special thanks go to past board member Dave Marx for his foresight, to current IBPA board member Christopher Robbins for his vision and energy in driving this project forward, to the members of the BFDA steering committee for their support, and to Arun Benty of Papertrell who donated his services in creating the BFDA Website.

The Book Publishers Toolkit

After three decades of helping thousands of people publish their books, IBPA has now dipped its own toe into the publishing waters. The Book Publishers Toolkit: 10 Practical Pointers for Independent and Self-Publishers is the first in what

will be a series of collections of articles from your Independent magazine covering all aspects of publishing. As you read this, the book is available for the Kindle, with plans to expand distribution to make it widely available to all.

As you know from your own efforts, it takes a village to publish a book, and IBPA’s first title is no exception. A huge thank-you to the contributors to this inaugural offering for their generosity in donating any proceeds to IBPA to help uscontinue improving educational and marketing programs for members.

These respected publishing professionals are: Kate Bandos, Kimberly Edwards, Joel Friedlander, Steve Gillen, Abigail Goben, Tanya Hall, Brian Jud, Stacey Miller, Kathleen Welton, and David Wogahn. Thanks also go to Independent editor Judith Appelbaum; board chair Stephen Blake Mettee of The Write Thought; Dan Snow of Unlimited Publishing; Janice Schnell of Ingram; Tom Doherty of Cardinal Publishing; and the IBPA board of directors and staff for their help and support.

Publishing University: “Discovering” Chicago

“Discoverability: How to Reach Your Reader and Sell More Books” is the theme of this year’s IBPA Publishing University. In keeping with IBPA’s mission to bring education to publishers throughout the country, Publishing University is on the road again to a new location—the Windy City in 2013—with new programming, new speakers, new vision, and a keynote address from e-visionary Dominique Raccah, CEO of Sourcebooks, who started her publishing company 31 years ago in her upstairs bedroom with one title (sound familiar?) and built it into the largest woman-owned publishing company in the country.

Dominique is a pioneer in both the e-book and book app arenas, and joining her will be futurist and Sourcebooks author David Houle (The Shift Age), part of the executive team that launched MTV, Nickelodeon, VH1, and CNN Headline News. David has 20 years of media and entertainment experience and will give attendees a glimpse of publishing’s future as well as a look at how he created his book using the Agile Publishing Model, featuring a partnership between authors and their reader communities.

The return of IBPA’s one-on-one consulting sessions, Ask the Experts; more than 20 breakout sessions featuring practical tools for success you can use right now; access to more than 40 experienced publishing industry instructors who generously share their knowledge; and much more will combine to make Chicago’s IBPA Publishing University 2013 the event you won’t want to miss. Don’t take my word for it—visit ibpapublishinguniversity.com for all the details.

Three very different offerings from IBPA, but there is one thing they have in common. Neither these nor any other initiative would be possible without the help, support, time, and energy from you—our members—and the commitment of so many industry experts who understand the importance of nurturing, strengthening, and educating the independent publishing community.

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