In March and April, the NetGalley team attended the Audio Publishers Association Conference (APAC), London Book Fair, Festival des Livres Paris (Paris Book Festival), Leipziger Buchmesse (Leipzig Book Fair), and the Book Industry Study Group (BISG) annual meeting. This month (May), we have attended the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) Publishing University and the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA) Leadership Summit. We look forward to Publishers Weekly’s U.S. Book Show next!
Independent Book Publishers Association Publishing University
Independent Book Publishers Association’s (IBPA) Publishing University is a vibrant gathering aimed at traditional and hybrid independent publishers, as well as author publishers, who gather to exchange knowledge, resources, strategies, solutions, and more. This year, the IBPA celebrated its 40th anniversary on Coronado Island in San Diego, with their nautical theme—”Navigate, Innovate, Elevate: Charting the Next 40 Years”.
In addition to the many conversations we had with the IBPA members at our table, and at our “Ask the Experts” sessions (where members sign up to speak to specific industry experts one-on one), the keynote programming was especially powerful this year. Friday’s keynote, “The Future is Independent – How Indie Publishers are Transforming the Industry” featured Rebekah “Bex” Borucki, founder of Row House Publishing, and Arthur Levine, founder of Levine Querido. Each of them shared their journey to founding their publishing houses, including challenges and wins. There was a lot of discussion about finding your community, filling a niche that larger publishers may not be focused on, and uplifting innovated voices. Both of the panelists emphasized that independent publishers have the books with this kind of targeted focus, which distributors may be missing from other large publishers. In many cases, getting a meeting with a distributor may be as simple writing an email to them.
Saturday’s keynote, “Legends of Black Independent Publishing: Learning from the Best”, was a wealth of knowledge. The panelists, Dr. Haki Madhubuti (Third World Press), W. Paul Coates (Black Classic Press), Kassahun Checole (Africa World Press/The Red Sea Press), and Wade and Cheryl Hudson (Just Us Books), and hosted by Troy Johnson (African American Literature Book Club), mentioned that they had about a hundred years of experience combined. Much of the focus of this panel was on the power of community—uplifting one another, coming together in support when, for example, an entire basement full of books is flooded, and unapologetically serving the needs of readers in their communities. From acquiring, to editing, to printing and distributing, these powerhouses of indie publishing shared their experiences and strategies with a roomful of rapt IBPA members.
In addition to the amazing keynotes, panels, and conversations, the IBPA also celebrated NetGalley’s own VP of Business Growth, Kristina Radke, who has now completed two terms on the IBPA Board of Directors. Congratulations, Kristina!
Upcoming conferences, panels, webinars, and networking opportunities
There is always a wide variety of programming available to help publishing professionals connect with one another, grow their skill-sets, and stay abreast of changing trends and emerging strategies. On NetGalley Insights, we share the events we’re most excited for on a monthly basis.
As soon as fall starts, publishing kicks into high gear again. That means a month full of events about the big picture – digital and technological innovation, broad overviews of a book’s lifecycle, inside looks at publishing houses, and events that bring together readers, authors, and industry professionals.
“During IBPA’s monthly “Ask an IBPA Board Member” speaker series, IBPA members meet and discuss book industry trends with a member of IBPA’s Board of Directors. The series features a different IBPA Board member each month, ensuring that IBPA members receive a unique point of view each time they join. Robin Cutler is committed to helping independent publishers easily get their content into the hands of readers around the globe. To help make this happen, Robin Cutler leads the development of IngramSpark and continues to support and refine the platform to better serve independent publishers around the world. Robin has broad knowledge of indie, academic and trade publishing and is an expert in content creation and distribution, on-demand models, marketing and author strategies. Robin is a leader in the independent publishing space, and when not developing new programs and services for IngramSpark, she can often be found sharing her expertise at industry events around the world.”
“Book Publishing: From Concept to Consumer” serves entry-level and mid-level professionals working across the book publishing supply chain. This career-development opportunity provides anyone interested in book publishing with a broader look at the life cycle of a book, from conception, development, and manufacturing to retailing and libraries. With detailed sessions on acquisition, editorial, production and design, distribution, returns, retailing, and libraries, this full-day event will build your understanding of book publishing as a whole. Topics covered will be more ‘how-to’ than ‘what-if,’ with practical advice and instruction provided by industry veterans.” [Check out our recap of last year’s Book Publishing from Concept to Customer].
Open to all, “the Brooklyn Book Festival is one of America’s premier book festivals and the largest free literary event in New York City. Presenting an array of national and international literary stars and emerging authors, the Festival includes a week of Bookend Events throughout New York City, a lively Children’s Day and a celebratory Festival Day with more than 300 authors plus 250 booksellers.”
“Are you just dipping your toes in the publishing world, or are you here for the long haul? What does a career in publishing mean in 2019, now that the digital transformation has finally taken hold? Wondering how to find the best fit for your background and skill-set? Join us to hear from an exciting slate of publishing professionals about the highlights, challenges, and responsibilities of their own roles, as well as the routes they took to get there – in just a few minutes each. A Q&A segment will follow the lightning presentations.”
Manuscripts, Editing and Design: the first steps in “making a book”
Prepress: what you need to do to get ready for press, including a look at color, color management and proofing
Paper: all you need to know about paper
P&Ls: an overview
Printing and Binding
Digital Printing: a primer on the process
There will be guest speakers for each step in the process. This program is absolutely free and is sponsored by the Book Industry Guild of New York. For more information or to sign up, please contact: Steve Bedney / 516-650-5251 / email@example.com
“Our conference is a key date in the scholarly publishing calendar and attracts an audience of over 300 people from all sectors and levels of the scholarly communications industry. Spread over three days, the event provides a relaxed and friendly environment in which to share information and knowledge, learn about new initiatives, as well as engage in open discussion on the challenges and opportunities facing publishing today. Our expert speakers and the wide ranging programme ensure that our annual conference remains a must attend event for everyone involved in the scholarly publishing community. We also provide ample opportunity for networking with fellow delegates during coffee breaks, lunch and in the evening at our two social events (Welcome Reception and Awards Dinner).”
“Step inside Bloomsbury Publishing as we go into their London headquarters for a closer look at how they stay creative and strive to push the boundaries of publishing. For one night only, we’ll bring together four of Bloomsbury’s most energetic staff members to talk about how they stay creative in their roles in Editorial, Marketing and Sales and engage with colleagues, retailers and book lovers around the world. This unique event at the Bloomsbury Institute – Bloomsbury’s public events series – will feature exclusive stories and experiences from the team. Join them for a lively discussion on everything you need to know about publishing right now.”
“Audio isn’t just about one format of a publishing programme. It has the potential to enhance your list as well as the publishing industry as a whole. It’s not just about a product revenue stream. Audio can boost marketing and publicity, enhance an author’s relationship with their readers, and encourage more people to listen then read. Join our panel of passionate audio publishers for an insightful look at how far audio publishing can take your business in 2019.”
How working with the IBPA boosted Rebecca Rosenberg’s historical novel, Gold Digger
On NetGalley Insights, we highlight the successes of NetGalley publishers and authors, and share some of their strategies. Today we’re talking to Rebecca Rosenberg, an independent author and member of the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA). She takes advantage of the IBPA’s NetGalley program, which manages her title on NetGalley on her behalf, giving her even more time to think strategically about her ongoing promotional efforts.
What was your experience like working with the IBPA to list your title on NetGalley?
I enjoyed working with the IBPA to list my title on NetGalley and I appreciated their help and guidance. Their response time was great for sending me monthly reports, submitting promotions, forwarding reviews and posting featured reviews. When I was worried I was not getting enough reviews on Gold Digger, they gave me knowledgeable input that Gold Digger was doing quite well!
It is very helpful that IBPA handles all of the technical aspects of posting my book and making updates to the page so that I don’t have to do it myself. I feel that having my book listed under the IBPA umbrella offers prestige for my book.
Tell us why listing the book on NetGalley through the IBPA program was the right choice for you.
I learned from my first novel, The Secret Life of Mrs. London, that NetGalley is the professional hub of bloggers, librarians, Goodreads, Bookbub and Amazon reviewers, and avid readers who love to share their reviews. The more buzz the better when launching a novel, and NetGalley makes that possible.
We encourage professional reviewers to use the NetGalley link as well as bloggers, Facebook group moderators, Goodreads and Bookbub reviewers. In my opinion, if a reviewer gets the book from NetGalley, they are readers who take the reviewing experience seriously. They usually share the review in at least five places: NetGalley, Goodreads, Bookbub, Amazon, Facebook Groups, Twitter, Instagram, and their own blogs. NetGalley reviewers are connected and powerful influencers. I often use reviews in my marketing, and I feel that NetGalley reviewers carry more credibility.
You ran several marketing campaigns with NetGalley – a Category Spotlight in February and a Featured Title placement in March. Tell us about your strategy and unique goals around these promotions.
First of all, I took a six-month run on NetGalley (instead of three-months) before my launch date in order to reach as many reviewers as possible. When I saw the great marketing opportunities NetGalley offered, it made sense to support my listing with the Category Spotlight and Featured Title placement early on to get attention.
I am hoping to reach different segments of readers in different months with different promotions.
There are many marketing opportunities available through NetGalley, and (if I had the budget) I would use them all throughout the six-month listing! I ran a Category Spotlight in the “Historical Fiction” category, in February, and Featured Placement for “Women’s Fiction” in March and again in May. I did another Featured Placement for “Summer Reads” in June, and am waiting to hear if Gold Digger will be included in an upcoming Cover Love post.
How have you been leveraging your NetGalley listing and reviews to increase discoverability?
To expand the reach of my NetGalley listing, I posted the NetGalley link to my book on my Facebook page, Facebook reading groups, Bookbub, LinkedIn, Goodreads and to my mailing list.
I’ve also featured some great NetGalley reviews for Gold Digger on Facebook, Instagram, in my newsletter, and with my Review Crew. I use these reviews in my newsletters and social media to whet readers’ interest and add credibility for my books. We take 5-star reviews and make colorful, eye catching posts.
We love theblog on your website. You’ve been posting lots of great supplementary information about Baby Doe Tabor. Tell us a bit more about how your blog fits into your strategy as an author.
My blog serves to interest readers in my books, whether they’ve read my books or not. As with The Secret Life of Mrs. London, I like to use my two decades of research by creating background stories and character sketches and trying to interest readers in different aspects of the story. I share my blog across all platforms, from Facebook, Amazon, Goodreads, and newsletters, and guest hosting other blogs.
What are some tips you have for other independent authors?
Get involved with readers and other authors of your genre by joining Facebook Reader groups, Goodreads groups, Bookbub, Instagram, your creating own blog and newsletters. My specific Facebook groups would not work for everyone–authors need to search Facebook groups for those that discuss books in their genre. It is important to read the group rules and observe them. For example, a group may only allow promotion on certain days. Become a contributing member first and contribute to the group as a reader of other books, before posting about your own book. Review other books similar to yours and become an information source for great books.
Often, a person posting about your book will tag you. When that happens, be sure to thank them, or engage in an appropriate way. There are also companies that track mentions of your book on social media: Google Alerts, Talk Walkers, Mention. Find out who is talking about your book and thank them for spreading the word. Enthusiastic readers spread the word about your books! In addition to thanking them, ALWAYS ask readers to: “Please read and reviewGold Digger on NetGalley!”
Bio: California native Rebecca Rosenberg lives on a lavender farm with her family in Sonoma, the Valley of the Moon, where she and her husband founded the largest lavender product company in America, Sonoma Lavender. Rosenberg is a graduate of the Stanford Writing Certificate Program. Her upcoming novel is Gold Digger, The Remarkable Baby Doe Tabor. Other works include: The Secret Life of Mrs. London, her debut novel and her non-fiction, Lavender Fields of America.
Rebecca Rosenberg’s next novel is Champagne Widows, the story behind Veuve Clicquot and Lily Bollinger.