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PubU Online: You Can Do It, Too: Going From Nothing To National In Five Years
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PubU Online: You Can Do It, Too: Going From Nothing To National In Five Years

When: Wednesday, September 13, 2017
10:00 AM to 11:00 AM Pacific
Where: Online via WebEx
United States
Contact: Lee Wind

Online registration is closed.
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About the Program:

As an independent press, it’s important to know where you want to go—and how to get there. Publisher Laura Stanfill will explore how she transitioned from selling books out of the back of her minivan to earning national distribution and recognition within five years.

What worked for Laura isn’t a one-size-fits-all strategy, but she will share tips on how she adjusted her business model as she learned more about the industry, as well as plenty of inspirational stories to help you decide when—and how—to grow your publishing company.

“You Can Do It Too” is a webinar version of the popular presentation Laura gave at Publishing University 2017 in Portland, Oregon, and she welcomes participants to bring their own questions to enrich the conversation. Topics include:

• How to build community around your publishing company—and why it’s important.

• Making the leap from short runs and print on demand to national distribution.

• How working with a distributor increases opportunities—and risks.

• The benefits of regional outreach, including building strong indie bookstore relationships.

• Being open to changing your tagline and updating your brand as your tastes and goals evolve.


Attend live to get your questions answered, vote in our polls, and enter a drawing to win one of three great prizes; (2) IBPA swag packs and (1) one-hour mentoring consultation with Laura. We hope you'll join us!...

Can’t attend this webinar? Sign up anyway and watch the prerecorded session at a time suitable to you.

About the Presenter:


Laura Stanfill is a 2017 Publishers Weekly Star Watch Awards honoree and the publisher of Forest Avenue Press, which celebrates its fifth anniversary this year.

The founder of the Main Street Writers Movement, Laura serves on the PubWest Board of Directors, and her fiction is represented by Laurie Fox of the Linda Chester Literary Agency.

As a community newspaper editor, Laura earned numerous statewide awards for writing and editorial work, including the Consumer Issues Reporting Award from the Oregon Trial Lawyers Association for a series on contractor fraud.

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Thought Leadership: Publisher Laura Stanfill on "Answer These Three Questions Before Changing Your Distribution Model"

If you are an independent publisher thinking about transitioning to full-service distribution, you’ll want to be really clear on your brand and mission statement; whether you can afford offset print runs, delayed payments, and a higher return rate; and whether your per-title output is the right size for your top distribution candidates. But you’ll also want to consider these three things:

1. Do you have the time and energy to undertake a huge learning curve? Understanding industry standards, creating effective metadata, and figuring out how to read sales reports will take up a significant chunk of time, as will getting to know the staff and recognizing what’s expected of a client publisher. The more you learn, and are willing to adapt to this new business model, the more effective and successful your relationship with your distributor will be. But it’s not all intuitive, and you’ll have to take the time to learn new systems.

2. Are you ready to take advice from sales reps? This is one of my favorite parts about having full-service distribution: advice. It can be unnerving to go from doing what you think is best for every book to receiving feedback from a team of industry professionals. You’ll have to be ready to change a cover on deadline, or get new blurbs, or consider any idea the sales team suggests. You may need to steel yourself for hard conversations with your design staff and authors.

3. Can you afford to lose money and traction as you learn and make mistakes? Chances are, with distribution, you’ll have books that underperform, or overperform and trigger the need for spending money on an immediate additional print run, and they’ll all be in higher quantities than what you’re doing now, which means more risk. You’ll probably miss opportunities from not knowing they exist because you haven’t been in this position before. It’ll get easier, but be sure to get clear about how much you’re willing to invest—and what you can afford to lose if a decision ends up being the wrong one for a certain title or print run.

My distributor, Legato Publishers Group, has nurtured me as a publisher, pushed my titles into stores one at a time, and helped me not overextend or send an ineffective cover to market. I was recently recognized by Publishers Weekly as one of the 2017 Star Watch honorees for up-and-coming publishers, and it would never have happened without Legato helping me take my business to the next level. But it’s important to be ready, and aware of the risks and expectations, before making such a major leap. Because changing your distribution model changes a lot more than how your books reach consumers. It changes everything about your business. And you need to be ready to adapt and grow for the best chance of success.

Want to learn more about growing your publishing business? Laura will be presenting an IBPA PubU Online Webinar, “You Can Do It, Too: From Nothing To National In Five Years” on Wednesday September 14, 2017. Details and registration above!

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