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Double IBPA Good News! Member Vesuvian Media Group Acquires Member Black Spot Books

Thursday, October 17, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Christopher Locke
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Top left, Vesuvian Media Group founder Italia Gandolfo (center) is pictured with two Vesuvian authors, Mary Ting (left) and Alexandrea Weis (right), and bottom right is Black Spot Books founder Lindy Ryan.

IBPA is always happy to celebrate the big news that a member has either acquired another publisher or been acquired themselves, so we are doubly excited to share the news that IBPA member Vesuvian Media Group recently acquired IBPA member Black Spot Books.

We spoke to Vesuvian Media Group Co-Founder Italia Gandolfo and Black Spot Books Founder Lindy Ryan to get an inside look at the decision-making behind the acquisition.

IBPA: How did the acquisition of Black Spot Books by Vesuvian Media Group come about?

Lindy Ryan: Black Spot Books and Vesuvian Media Group have enjoyed a long-standing, informal relationship that, over the past year, has become increasingly more aligned to the same goals and visions for how we want to bring storytelling to market in the future. At some point, we felt that working together might be even more rewarding, and the acquisition of Black Spot Books as Vesuvian’s first imprint came about organically from there.

Italia Gandolfo: Creating our own multimedia ecosystem to stay ahead of the curve, we look to our partners to help source the best stories that will capture readers and be built-in viewers once we hand the baton to our film/TV partners to adapt. Lindy Ryan of Black Spot Books has a great eye for strong projects with crossover appeal—which is the paradigm of our infrastructure. The acquisition happened rather serendipitously. We were working together on a number of things and came to realize our common synergies would work even better under one banner.

IBPA: Now that the companies are merging together how will the separate staffs of both companies merge together?

Lindy: Both Black Spot Books and Vesuvian Media Group have offices worldwide—Vesuvian from Los Angeles to Zurich, and Black Spot Books from Anchorage to Canada and Bahrain. With the acquisition, we will increase our global footprint while retaining all current staffers on both sides to maximize our internal resources and talent.

IBPA: Vesuvian Media Group specializes in adapting books to film/television. Are you and your authors excited about the opportunity to have your books adapted into films and TV shows?

Black Spot Books' Preacher Sam by Cassondra Windwalker released this September

Lindy: Of course! In fact, two of our current titles—Cassondra Windwalker’s Preacher Sam and Matthew Binder’s The Absolved—are already on submission for television adaptation.

IBPA: Since Vesuvian Media Group specializes in adapting books to film/television, can you share tips for independent publishers about how they can go about getting their books adapted for films and TV shows?

Italia: As I have a background in the film/TV industry, it’s different for Vesuvian. Most of my contacts are in that side of the business. But, if a publisher is strong enough with bestselling books, I would try to get a film/TV agent to rep my properties, or, try to get in with a company who scouts for networks.

IBPA: Can you share some tips for other indie publishers who are planning to acquire another publisher/or looking to be acquired to make the process run smoothly?

Lindy: We suggest looking for opportunities to partner with acquiring firms that share your vision and have clearly identifiable areas where you can pool your talents and experiences to elevate each other. Having a thorough understanding of each other’s business and any partnerships, as well as potentially having similar audiences and platforms helps position both firms for the acquisition. Lastly, both sides of the acquisition should be positioned to elevate and expand, deepening established footprints as they come together to explore new markets and areas of opportunity.

IBPA: Can you list three key lessons you’ve learned about how one can succeed as an independent publisher?


  1. Strategic partnerships with distributors, publicity firms, and other external groups that can help you expand your footprint, build new relationships, and engage with an ever-expanding global book marketplace.

  2. Building community with organizations, like Independent Book Publishers Association, which provide education, opportunities, and networking between suppliers, publishers, and booksellers.

  3. Balancing traditional industry aspects, like trade reviews and industry events, with direct interaction and engagement with readers and independent book bloggers, reviewers, and the #bookstagram community.

IBPA: How has it been beneficial to you to be a member of Independent Book Publishers Association?

Italia: The discounts for advertising and discovering industry partners such as Total Printing are very useful. We do submit for the IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards. In 2019, Vesuvian author Mary Ting won the Science Fiction & Fantasy category for ISAN (International Sensory Assassin Network).

This year, authors Mary Ting and Alexandrea Weis—another of our award-winning authors-- attended IBPA Publishing University on Vesuvian’s behalf.

Vesuvian Media Group's The Night Weaver by Monique Snyman published on October 15

Lindy: We love being IBPA members! We’ve taken advantage of opportunities to market our titles (bookstore catalogs and media eblasts), and have enjoyed contributing to open discussions in the community. This year we are submitting our first nominations for the IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards.

IBPA: Do you have any new books coming out soon?

Italia: Our 2019 Fall list includes:

  • The Year I Left by Christine Brae (September 3) (Brae is a pen name—Anna Gomez is CFO of Leo Burnett Worldwide)

  • Helix (International Sensory Assassin Network, #2) by Mary Ting, (September 10)

  • Speak No Evil by Nautilus Award-winning author Liana Gardner (October 1)

  • Bram Stoker Awards nominee, The Night Weaver, by Monique Snyman (October 15)

Lindy: In September, we released Preacher Sam by Cassondra Windwalker, the first book in her new series. Coming November 5, 2019 is Black Spot Books’ first anthology, A Midnight Clear, featuring six holiday-themed fantasy and horror stories by our current authors.

IBPA: Thank you, Italia and Lindy, for sharing your expertise and story with the IBPA community! We wish you all the best with the merging of your two companies!

Click here to learn more about Vesuvian Media Group and their new imprint Black Spot Books!

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