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Director’s Desk: IBPA Publishing University — Keep the Thrills; Strengthen the Skills

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By Angela Bole, IBPA Executive Director —

[Originally published in the February 2014 edition of IBPA’s Independent.]

When you have a job like mine, you spend a lot of time looking at budget spreadsheets and discussing strategies and tactics and bottom lines. I don’t necessarily mind this. I have a strong attraction to order and rather enjoy seeing things line up in their proper places. It’s endearing. Or annoying. It depends.

Even so, this focus on the fiscal isn’t what I thought my work would look like when I began a career in publishing so many years ago. Wasn’t I promised long lunches with authors? Am I not supposed to be discussing “the problem of truth” while planning to partner on (or write!) the next great novel?

And, at the very least, shouldn’t I have time to read one of the literally hundreds of great books I’m surrounded by at any single moment of the day?

I’m sure Independent readers understand. Running your own operation is an all-consuming endeavor. In the course of learning new PR and finance tactics and how to build a foolproof book P&L (the greatest of oxymorons), the excitement that sparked your interest in getting into the book business in the first place can be lost. This is why networking and continuing education are so important. Nothing keeps the creative juices flowing like an inspirational exchange of ideas—face-to-face preferred.

To this end, I’m truly excited to introduce you to the general session faculty preparing presentations for IBPA’s Publishing University conference, scheduled for March 21–22, 2014, in San Francisco. These bright and inspiring educators are primed to provide you with insight into your own publishing activities as well as the tools you need to purposefully engage, or reengage, with the spirit of your work!

Inside Success Stories

Publishing UniversityIn her motivating keynote address, for example, author, publisher, and entrepreneur Ivory Madison (photo right) will tell stories of self-published authors and founders of small publishing houses who succeeded without compromising their values or vision. Along the way, she’ll walk you through identifying your personal values and vision, while exploding the fears and blocks that could keep you from achieving your goals.

Everyone will be invited to participate by writing their vision on a card that will be provided, and then posting the card, with their name or anonymously, on a shared “Vision Wall” for display throughout the conference.

In short, Ivory will provide you with a chance to really dig into why you’re inspired to do what you do, and then share this inspiration with others.

Publishing UniversityFollowing Ivory, Publishers Weekly’s Jim Milliot (photo left) will introduce you to a few of the newly crowned companies on PW’s 2013 list of fast-growing independent publishers. During this session, you’ll hear a lively discussion about the strategies these winners used to stay vibrant and keep profits rising in a fast-changing and challenging marketplace. Are e-books still king? Have apps found their day? What’s the latest with print on paper?

Publishing UniversityAnd, finally, never one to shy away from a debate, Christopher Kenneally from Copyright Clearance Center (photo right) will grab the bull by the horns in a general session titled “Taking Sides—Self-Published Authors: Amateurs or Professionals?” Certainly, the book-reading public has embraced “the selfie.” Indeed, they’ve made bestselling authors of writers who’ve boldly chosen to publish their own works. Amanda Hocking, Hugh Howey, and even E.L. James began their rise to fame as authors of self-published books (though each indulges in a “hybrid” publishing model today).

Is the contest between traditionally published books and self-published books real or imagined? Are “professionally” published books always better than those from self-publishers? Do readers view the products interchangeably, particularly in digital form, or do they recognize the difference? If so, does it matter? Those questions and more will be aired and answered.

A Preview of Other Attractions

In addition to these general sessions, Publishing University will host 20 breakout sessions, unconference discussion groups (programmed on the fly at the conference by the attendees themselves), a special cocktail hour sponsored by CreateSpace and Kindle Direct Publishing, and IBPA’s Annual Members Meeting Luncheon, sponsored by Ingram Spark.

Breakfast will be provided by Thomson-Shore and, as of early February, additional partners include Bookmasters, Color House Graphics, Cushing-Malloy Book Manufacturers, Dickinson Press, Hercules Truck & Trailer, Jostens, Kobo Writing Life, PartnerShip, Rose Printing Company, and Sheridan.

If you’d like to discuss joining these organizations as a sponsor of Publishing University, please contact Chris Kahn at chris@ibpa-online.org.

Download a PDF of the Publishing University 2014 Schedule.

Here’s to Hearing from You

Of course, my door is always open to your thoughts and feedback. Please feel free to email me any time at angela@ibpa-online.org. I look forward to taking my head out of the project plan de jour for a chat about what’s meaningful in your business today.

Angela Bole-Directors DeskAbout the Author: Just before Angela became IBPA’s Executive Director, 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.

Angela also serves as Treasurer on the Board of Directors of IDPF, the International Digital Publishing Forum.

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