Recap of September Meeting on Pub U

Gail Sexton of Raston Publishing spoke to the members about her experience at Independent Book Publisher Association’s Publishing University. As the 2008 IBPA Scholarship winner from Book Publishers Northwest, Gail had her tuition waived and received a $500 stipend from IBPA.

Each year, IBPA provides one scholarship for a member of each affiliate association. Competition for the 2008 scholarship was fierce with numerous strong applications from BPNW members. Sexton’s application was selected from the finalist by the IPBA Board.

At the Pub U, more than 100 industry professionals were instructors for the classes.

Some things Gail found particularly interesting and useful included:

1. Tips from the editors of Foreword magazine for getting your book reviewed in a major publication. (Gail distributed copies of the tip sheet; talk to her for more copies.)
2. When discussing your title, remember: It’s not about the boo – it’s about the benefits to the reader.
3. Offer yourself for free – e.g. teach a free seminar as a way to promote / sell your books.
4. Create cross buzz. That is, have multiple, self-reinforcing marketing efforts going on at the same time.
5. Speak! You are your book’s best advertisement.

Gail also had an opportunity to work the IBPA booth at BookExpo. When an Indian gentleman came by perusing the hundreds of books on the shelves there, Gail engaged him in a conversation and asked what he was interested in. He related that he was a buyer for one of the largest Indian book catalogs and showed her a sample catalog. She was able to talk to him about her title.

She also was able to talk to several experts about her book’s cover and got excellent and really focused feedback on how the cover could better convey what her book is about.

At the end of the meeting, Gail offered the following tips for attending Pub U or BookExpo:

·Go with a list of problems you want to solve and attend the classes, talks, etc. that will help you solve those specific problems.
·Tap the experts. Don’t be shy!
·Take comprehensive notes – especially for those “genius” ideas.
·Be really clear about who you want to talk to – both at BEA and Pub U.

This report submitted by Tom Masters