Director’s Desk: New Tools for Generating Sales and Reviews

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January 2015
by Angela Bole

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When IBPA began more than 30 years ago, it was built on a foundation of cooperative marketing programs. In 1983, a group of 15 Southern California independent publishers who couldn’t afford to attend the annual American Booksellers Association convention decided to pool their funds and send Jan Nathan to represent them and their books. Jan returned from the show excited about sales possibilities, and the first iteration of what would become IBPA was born, with Jan as its executive director.

In their early meetings, the members of IBPA quickly saw that national marketing was one of the greatest challenges facing independent publishers, so programs for cooperative marketing became the backbone of the association. As the association grew, the cooperative marketing programs grew, as well. Today, IBPA offers more than a dozen cooperative marketing programs along with roughly four dozen other membership benefits.

As executive director of IBPA, I find nothing more fulfilling than hearing members say an IBPA benefit helped them move their businesses forward. Recently, we’ve heard the following:

“Because of displaying my Shelburne Escape Line book with IBPA at BookExpo America, Pen & Sword Books in the UK and I signed a contract to have them publish a hard-back copy of Shelburne in April 2015. They have been very nice to deal with and I’m quite excited about it. ”
— Réanne Hemingway-Douglass, Cave Art Press

“IBPA is always coming up with innovative and useful programs for its members. The NetGalley member benefit opportunity is just one of the ways IBPAmembers are able to get their books in front of a larger audience. ”
— Georgia McBride, Georgia McBride Media Group

“I want to share our amazing experience at IBPA’s Cooperative Booth during BEA 2014. We decided to participate in a session at the author signing table, but being that we’re such a small publisher (and this was our first book) we weren’t sure if anyone would show up. Let me say we were absolutely amazed to see the number of folks who lined up for a copy of Bubblegum Princess. We drew such a big crowd we ran out of books (and we brought 50)! We were thrilled at the response and wish to let all members know how important it is to participate at the IBPA booth during BEA! ”
— Julie Gribble, NY Media Works

For more member testimonials, see www.ibpa-online.org/about/testimonials.

What’s New

I’m incredibly proud of the services IBPA provides for our growing group of indie publishers, and I continually challenge myself and my colleagues in the IBPA office to pressure- test everything so we can be sure our services are meeting the mark.

As a team we endorse Scott McKain’s observation in Create Distinction: What to Do When “Great” Isn’t Enough to Grow Your Business: “If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’re going to receive less than you have in the past. Your competition is tougher, and the marketplace is changing,”

That’s why I’m so excited to introduce the newest versions of two stalwart IBPA cooperative marketing programs: fully overhauled Bookstore and Books for Review Cooperative Catalogs. If you haven’t explored our direct mail programs recently, you’re in for a happy surprise.

IBPA’s Bookstore Catalog has been a staple on our menu of services, starting in the early 1990s. Since that time, for $230, an IBPA member can add a book, along with relevant metadata, to a quarterly catalog that is mailed to 3,500 book buyers. Inclusion in IBPA’s Bookstore Catalog demonstrates to the professional buyers who receive it that you’re engaged with a community of indie publishers committed to producing quality work that would do well on their bookstore shelves.

Upgrades for the 2015 Bookstore Catalogs include:

  •  A new size and design. Instead of a 5-page flyer, we are now sending a 20-page catalog through a special arrangement with Ingram’s Lightning Source
  •  The option to purchase a full page in the catalog, where you can display 1, 2, 3, or 4 books for buyers’ consideration
  •  Dedicated space in several listings for marketing notes and author photos and bios
  •  A fresh mailing list of current book buyers, including 1,100 American Bookseller Association IndieBound bookstores and 2,400 buyers working in other retail outlets
  •  An affordable upgrade option for also getting your book into Edelweiss, our industry’s online, interactive, cross-publisher catalog that supplements traditional hardcopy publisher catalogs

These are pretty big changes for our Bookstore Catalog, and we hope you like them. Not to be outdone, however, our Books for Review Catalog boasts changes, too.

Now, in addition to including a book in the hardcopy version of the Books for Review Catalog, you can add it to a ride-along e-blast version. All leads generated for your book by the e-blast will be yours to keep. You can use them to start—or continue—building your marketing database.

When you order, you can choose inclusion in the hardcopy Books for Review version, the e-blast version, or both. It’s up to you. Just be assured that the information about your book or books will be sent to currently employed media people who focus on publishing; we’ve purchased an annual subscription to Meltwater News’s public relations softwareas- a-service to ensure better targeted media outreach.

As you can tell, I’m enthusiastic about the new cooperative catalogs for 2015. I hope you’ll take advantage of the enhanced opportunities. If you do, please e-mail me at angela@ibpa-online.org with comments and feedback.


About the Author:

Bole,Angela(HeadShot1)Just before Angela Bole 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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