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IBPA Members Share Their “Scaaarrryyyy” Publishing Stories!

Thursday, October 31, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Christopher Locke
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Benjamin Franklin gets in the holiday spirit here in the IBPA offices! (Marble sculpture created for, and presented to, Jan Nathan as a Lifetime Achievement Benjamin Franklin Award honoring her at the 20th anniversary celebration of her founding of IBPA. Artist, Don Tubesing, Pfeifer-Hamilton Publishers and Past President of IBPA.)

Publishing books can be a rewarding and exciting experience, but as anyone who has ever published a book can attest, it can also be overwhelming and nerve-racking as you’re hit with unexpected issues and setbacks. So, in the spirit of Halloween, IBPA reached out to members to share their “scary” publishing stories. Enjoy!

Julie Schoerke

Julie Schoerke, Founder of JKS Communications, shared:

“At the Southern Festival of Books' major fundraising dinner in Nashville several years ago, our firm bought a table for 10. We hosted media influencers and asked our authors to join us as our guests. The theme of the evening was ‘Authors in the Round.’ Each table gets one well-known author to enjoy during dinner. One of our authors who was brand new at the time headed for the stage when the MC was introducing the 20 marquee authors. She walked with the other authors right on the stage before we could stop her. One by one they were introduced and walked down. I thought she'd figure out she didn't belong up there—but no. So, when there were four authors left on the stage, I had to sneak up under the stage, get her attention, and get her to walk off. Ugh!!!!!

“Funny part? This author today would be invited to be the keynote speaker and the most celebrated author at the whole event. She's now a #1 New York Times bestselling author and a household name.”

Brooke Warner

Brooke Warner, Publisher of She Writes Press and Spark Press, and current Chair of the IBPA Board of Directors, had this to share when asked about first starting out in publishing.

"The very first book you get back is your own. It looks horrible. When you open the pages, you can not believe you didn't print an advance copy, and that the interior design looks like something that you would have never put out for one of your own customers. Still, you're riding high, you get on the rocket anyway, and think, 'hey, I made a mistake, but I'll fix it.' So you're going about a hundred thousand miles an hour on this newfound success, but, inevitably, you hit a brick wall... On the other side of that wall was actually a pretty big mistake. It happens about two years in, a financial error that is, yes, recoverable, but one of the most embarrassing things that has ever happened to you in your life. It was a lot of money, let's put it that way."

How did she make it through these difficult experiences? "It takes time. That's the only way to get through mistakes... You start to go from I can't do this to maybe I can."

Click here to watch Brooke tell the whole story of some of these early mistakes during a presentation at IBPA Publishing University 2019.

Ian Lamont

Ian Lamont, Founder of i30 Media Corp. recalled:

“My scary moment in publishing was about two years ago when Amazon customers started reporting that a batch of one our ancillary stationery products was hole-punched on the wrong side of the page! I knew then to expect more complaints because we had just had the printer ship 200 units to the Amazon fulfillment center.

“We (and our printer) learned a lesson that day, but it's not an experience I want to repeat.”


Kelly Peterson

Kelly Peterson, Director of Digital Strategy at Independent Publishers Group and current IBPA Board Member, told this tale:

“A Young Adult publisher sent me an email that they had a strange reader review at NetGalley. Somehow, instead of their YA fantasy novel, they had reviewed a LGBT romance that had some explicit themes. Since it's all automated for us by ISBN, we still don't know what gremlin got into that process, but we quickly downloaded the correct file from our system, checked it (just to be sure it was correct) and manually uploaded the correct file to NetGalley. They processed the replacement, we tested to ensure the file was right, and then pulled down reporting and emailed the whole set of customers who had already downloaded the file letting them know they should re-download. Thanks to good reporting, we think the problem was only affecting a few people, and only one review.

“The funny part was that it was still a 4-star review! They just thought the description needed a little tweak.”

Thank you to all the IBPA members who shared their harrowing tales!

At the time of a crisis it can feel like the end of the world, but eventually it becomes a helpful lesson learned (and perhaps something to laugh about). From all of us at IBPA, have a safe and fun Halloween!

Share your own publishing news with the IBPA community! Send news about events or accomplishments to For more details about the types of stories we're seeking, click here.

Keep in mind that we reserve Spotlights for major news (such as, you published a book about space exploration and now it's being read in a live video feed by astronauts from the International Space Station), unique news (such as, you published a book about cycling and now the author is riding a bike across the U.S. for their book tour), or human interest stories (such as, you visit shelters every weekend to read books to the dogs and cats there).

Though launching a new book isn’t the focus of our Spotlights articles, IBPA is happy to share that exciting news on social media. Please contact with the launch date, your book cover, your book title, your book's genre, a link to where readers can learn more about your book, and your Twitter handle.

For good news in general about your publishing company (your book received a wonderful editorial review, you have an upcoming speaking engagement, etc.), use the hashtag #IBPAmemberGoodNews on Twitter and IBPA will amplify your good news!

Whether you have news or not, all of us at IBPA are cheering you on!

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