IPNE Member Blog

News - Members, feel free to contribute! Please make sure that your posts relate to independent publishing, writing, or other topics of educational interest to IPNE members. If you are unclear about what type of material to post, please contact our biog editor.
  • 09 Jul 2017 9:56 PM | Anonymous

    At the last meeting of the Metro Boston Publishers (IPNE regional branch) in Arlington, MA, we reviewed a number of best practices for publishing websites, talked about the Espresso Book Machine at the Harvard Book Store, and discussed how to use web site builders (Weebly for example, although we discussed WordPress also), how to reserve a domain name and use it in setting up your own web site, what a QR code is and how to read one (it turns out it's extremely simple, just download the free app "QR Reader" and click on it!).

    We also covered how to work with book designers and editors using what I have to come to call the ‘a la carte’ publishing method (you as author do what you want to do yourself, then contract out to others for the things you can’t do or don’t have time to do). I like that better than the term ’self publishing’ because it gives a better idea of what we really do. The old "major publisher" way is kind of like a six course meal delivered to your table, all preset (Random House, Penguin, Simon & Schuster). Our method is to pick & choose the services you need from various professionals, as you see fit. Like a buffet table. That's why IPNE is so valuable - you can find references to some of them here on this site.

    I brought some ARCs (Author Review Copies) of my book, a man wearing a dress, and Glenna brought a copy of her book, Book Design Made Simple. I showed how my book is posted as ‘for sale’ by two vendors on Amazon, even though it was not really for sale until September 14. It even said there was a ‘used’ copy for sale. How could that be? The folks at Ingram Spark assured me that only the cover and metadata went out to Amazon, so nobody can actually publish my book without my authorization.

    We had so much to talk about, we ran a little past noon! All hands pitched in to put away and clean up. Thanks to member Vicki Ford for bringing sumptuous snacks!

    This report by Glenn Koenig of Message Rain, Arlington, Massachusetts

  • 25 Apr 2017 10:57 PM | Deleted user

    Maung Nyeu, publisher of local language based culturally relevant children’s books and a speaker at the IPNE Fall 2016 Conference, sends us this piece of exciting news on one of the books he presented at the conference:

    Princess Monori, Award Winner!

    We are excited to report that Princess Monori is a bronze medalist in the IPPY 2017 award competition, and it’s also a finalist in the Colorado Author’s League 2017 award program! 

    2017 IPPY Award

    The annual Independent Publisher Book Award program (IPPY) honors the best of university and small presses, along with independently published books. The program began in 1996, and is one of the most prestigious of the independent award programs.  Princess Monori is one of the 5,500 entries in this year’s international competition. Awards are given in a number of categories—Princess Monori is a bronze medalist in the category of multicultural non-fiction for children and young adults. The awards ceremony is in NYC at the end of May.

    2017 CAL Award Finalist

    More good news -- Princess Monori is a finalist in the Colorado Authors’ League (CAL) award program in the category of children’s non-fiction, one of 13 categories in which awards are given. On behalf of Our Golden Hour, I and some of the other award finalists will begiving talks at the Tattered Cover bookstore in Littleton, Colorado, on April 30th at 2pm. I’ll be talking about Princess Monori and the work of Our Golden Hour.  For more about CAL, check out http://coloradoauthors.org/.

    Princess Monori is available for purchase through https://ourgoldenhour.org/product/princess-monori/. Every book you purchase sponsors the gift of one copy of the book to a child in the Chittagong Hill Tracts region of Bangladesh.

  • 29 Mar 2017 11:24 AM | Charlotte Pierce (Administrator)
    Photo is of member Jill Cofsky, voice actor for audio books.Here's how to book yourself to tell the world about your book or service on one of our live-streaming shows: Face The Book TV, Ask The Experts, and Office Hours. You'll be in good company - recent guests have included Victoria Sutherland of ForeWord Reviews; Angela Bole of IBPA, Michelle Ollie of the Center for Cartoon Studies; Steve Fischer of New England Independent Booksellers; and Michael Boezi of Control Mouse Media.

    Start by filling out the booking application form; please use a separate form for each show:

    • Face The Book TV is our new live-streaming online book-discovery show that brings the best of independently published books to the public through live-streaming and "bicycling" to community media stations. Interview-style format with authors and publishers about the books themselves.
    • Ask The Experts brings in experts on all aspects of the publishing process, as well as indie authors and publishers who wish to share their experience. Both shows are archived on YouTube at IPNELive. Focus is on production, marketing, publicity, design, editing, and other aspects of "making better books and selling more of them."
    • The discussion-format Office Hours is where IPNE.org members can ask questions and share best practices with each other. Think of it as your indie publishing coffee break! We schedule this show based on member requests. You may also sign up to host these sessions.

    After we receive your application form, we'll contact you regarding your availability, topic, and the best technical setup (don't worry, it's pretty basic - the top 5 items are 1) a good-quality webcam (HD external is best, or a good built-in), 2) headset/earbuds, 3) broadband internet; 4) front lighting, and 5) a quiet location.

    Please use the contact form at if you have any questions prior to filling out the application. We will not share the information from the form externally without your direct permission.

    We gratefully recognize the help of Arlington Community Media (ACMi.TV) and our heroic crew, particularly Karen Einstein and Laura Williams. The editorial board at the Peeragogy Project (peeragogy.org) deserves credit for extensive support while we were learning the YouTube live-streaming platform, starting in 2012.

    All three shows are produced by Pierce Productions (PiercePress.com) with the collaboration of Independent Publishers of New England (IPNE.org). Members of IPNE.org get priority booking on all three shows. Face The Book and Ask the Experts are recorded and archived on YouTube at IPNELive; Office Hours is less formal and currently not recorded.

  • 04 Jan 2017 8:33 PM | Anonymous

    Recently, I posted in my blog on the Message Rain web site.  Here is what I said:

    Well, the end is in sight!  So far, I have written over 200 pages of my first book, "a man wearing a dress."  I think I have about 10 more pages to write before editing and revisions begin in earnest.

    After that, the book itself will be done, but there will be a lot of work to do before I can say it's published.  At least I have designed the cover and the interior of the book already.  Once I have all that in final form, there are the 'middle tasks,' such as get a copyright, an ISBN, and a Library of Congress number.  I will I have to put that information on the back cover (the ISBN) and the other information on the back of the title page.  Then print a proof copy, just to make sure.

    Then comes the major work of a distribution plan, and a promotion plan.  With modern 'print on demand' services, at least I don't have to invest in a massive press run and risk ending up with a basement full of unsold copies if sales don't go well.  On the other hand, print on demand means that I earn less income per book sold.  Sure, I'm doing all this because I was inspired to write.  But at the same time, I have been living off savings, for the most part, over the past few years so I'd like to recoup some or all of my financial investment and have something left for retirement!  So if sales go well, I'll have to make the decision whether or not they will continue to go well, and whether or not a press run is worthwhile.  This is the delicate balancing act involved with any marketing effort.

    As for publicity, it's a whole new world compared to what it was when I was growing up.  In those days, publicity was hard because the means of getting the word out were expensive and time consuming (printing, mailing, long distance phone calls, etc.).  Now, it's hard for completely different reasons.  Now, with modern information networks, it's easier to send out the word, but much harder to get noticed precicely because it's that much easier for everyone else who wants to promote something!  Our Email boxes are full, our eyes are gazed over from an onslaught of ads and promotions - literally hundreds per day!

    So, how do I get noticed amidst all that noise?  The answer is to "work smarter, not harder."  As I have never done this before (this is my first book), I have a learning curve to go through and a practice: To follow my intuition! (practice, practice, practice!).  But overall, I'm optimistic.  As I've just written in the Topic Blog, I expect 2017 to go better than 2016 has.

  • 05 Oct 2016 5:52 AM | Charlotte Pierce (Administrator)

    The Frankfurt Book Fair is the world's largest and most important publishing event with 7,100 exhibitors from over 100 countries, 270,000 visitors + 9,300 journalists and bloggers in attendance last year.  Displaying your book at Foreword's Independent Press Collective Stand is a smart way to get it on the radar of foreign rights agents and publishers who will be meeting us for appointments and/or browsing titles on the show floor.  

    By exhibiting in the Foreword cooperative booth, your titles stand to generate rights interest from any number of publishers (typically, a foreign rights deal includes a non-refundable advance and a royalty rate of 7–8%). So, with no out of pocket expense—except for the exhibit fee to have your title displayed at the Foreword booth—you stand to earn an unexpected windfall.  Representatives from Foreword will direct visiting agents and reps to the appropriate shelves (books are arranged by genre) and collect business cards/contact information when interest in a certain title is expressed.  Foreword will then pass on the contact info to the corresponding publisher or author.  One of the additional benefits is a lifetime listing for your book in Foreword's online Rights Catalog, a valuable resource before and long after the show doors close.  

    The per title exhibit fee is usually $215 - we're inviting IPNE members to take $25 off, so $190.  As the buchmesse is in just two weeks, reservations are due ASAP and 1 copy of each title (plus three copies of your sell sheet) are due by October 12th at the latest.  Simply click here to register then paste this discount code in at checkout: ibpa25

    Please contact stacy@forewordreviews.com with any questions, or if you need help during the registration process.  

  • 16 Sep 2016 9:43 PM | Charlotte Pierce (Administrator)

    Great news! 

    IPNE members are eligible to apply for IBPA's 2017 Publishing University scholarships, and CEO Angela Bole just let us know that the application process is now open.

    IBPA supports at least one winner from each affiliate in 2017...a great chance to meet fellow publishers from around the country!


  • 03 Sep 2016 10:02 AM | Charlotte Pierce (Administrator)

    Oops, it seems we "forgot" to turn off the IPNE Conference Summer Flash Sale (http://ipne.org/event-2029799) before we hit the road for the Labor Day weekend. It was due to expire Friday.


    That means anyone who registers for the Conference by the end of the day on Sept 6 still gets a great deal; and we even made it easier for you to bring along a colleague or spouse!

    So we encourage you to take this opportunity to invigorate your publishing at IPNE's 6th Annual New England Publishing Conference on Oct 21-22 in Portsmouth, NH! 

    At #IPNE16, you'll find interactive workshops, pithy panels, lively roundtables, and fascinating keynotes by industry experts like famed Boston publisher David Godine, IBPA's Angela Bole, and Endangered Alphabets' Tim Brookes & Maung Nyeu. And the networking with other indie publishers and authors will inspire and sustain you.

    But keep it to yourself, lol! And remember to register by Sept 6 at http://ipne.org/event-2029799 !

    Charlotte Pierce
    IPNE president

  • 27 Aug 2016 9:44 PM | Charlotte Pierce (Administrator)

    Wow, with all the book show and conference registrations flowing in (thank you!) the questions are coming thick and fast! We really try to respond quickly, but keep in mind there are a few self-serve ways to get answers if it's Saturday night and your valiant volunteer IPNE project team members are out with their families!

    1. A good share of the answers can be found by re-reading the event details and confirmation emails that you might have missed (we all do). Search is your friend! We're also continually updating the events in response to queries. If there's an error in the event description, we'll correct it as soon as possible.
    2. Post your question on the Member Forum (ipne.org/forum) where the answer will benefit others. The amazing Lisa is building an FAQ based on questions that appear there; coming soon. And always, feel free to make a suggestion about how the process could work better.
    3. Remember, you can usually find a knowledgeable team member on IPNE's daily Office Hours at 10 am. Click the permanent link (https://goo.gl/vinXlF) to join by webcam and/or audio. Still in your PJ's? Call 1-585-632-4805, and enter pin 39125 to join the conference call by phone! Try to RSVP if you can so we can ping you when we come on the conference line.
    4. If all else fails, post your question on Twitter @IPNE, or on this Facebook group or our Facebook page.
    5. We don't have paid staff  24/7, but we want to make sure everything is clear within a reasonable time. If all else fails, please do email or call, no worries.

    We  hope this helps you find the help you need! The way we look at it, you *are* IPNE, and your participation in the events is a huge vote of confidence. IPNE is gradually upgrading and standardizing systems so there is more clarity around event registrations. so please bear with us - and lend a hand if you can! Sign up at IPNE.org/Teams to "be the IPNE you seek" - and thanks again!

  • 26 Aug 2016 12:16 PM | Anonymous

    This philosophical question had been nagging me for the 15 years that it took me to research and write my novel.  The ubiquitous "they" say that one should know one's audience.  Well, I wrote this novel for myself. I was tired of not seeing characters like mine. I was tired of publishers ignoring people like me. I was tired of reading characters whose identities are wrapped up more in their accoutrements and wealth. Wealth is not a bad thing, mind you. But not all of us live with it. 

    I wanted to create a black female character who is inherently proud of her blackness, but who is also aware of the fact that she is a minority in a country that extols whiteness. She is not bitter about it.  Lula Logan lives her life. She does the best she can to achieve in her chosen field, forensic anthropology, and has dedicated herself to learning her craft. She is a professional. She is not arrogant about her knowledge. She is comfortable with herself.  Period.  Unlike so many female protagonists (of all races) nowadays, who are awash in aspirational upper-income trappings of owning designer-labeled this and that, Lula doesn't equate her worth with what she owns, and, like most women, appreciates fashion, in her own style. She doesn't subscribe to fashion magazines, as she has no time for that.  She likes attending concerts, listens to music of all kinds, and usually has it playing in the background. She is a quiet intellectual.

    Lula Logan is navigating through life alone, in search of the right partner, but not letting the world stop for lack of a soul mate.  She has dated different men, preferably of her race, but has not succumbed to an Afrocentrism that prevents her from seeing the merits of men from other backgrounds.  She lived in Oakland, growing up, but went to majority white colleges and universities.

    Lula is a university professor at a majority white college, and works in a small rural town doing slave burial research in an open field where she works in a solitary atmosphere. She has few friends where she lives, as the town, though interracial, is segregated, and has not met people of her educational background.  She doesn't live a life of quiet desperation, but she's also waiting for something.  Her boyfriend is a Creole police officer with whom she has a comfortable relationship; the chemistry is there, but she questions whether the relationship is going anywhere.  

    As far as protagonists are concerned, she prefers to blend in rather than draw attention to herself. She is strong in her resolve, but not dictatorial. She's not angry, disillusioned, or unhappy.  She's living her life on her own terms. My quest was to create a character that eschews the negative stereotypes of the "boss bitch," "the temptress," "the monstrous hellion," in books that make it to the shelves for Black masses quicker than you can say, "urban fiction." As my earlier blog post discussed the issue, I'm not totally dismissing rap, hip hop, or urban fiction as sources of entertainment, but not all Black writers can successfully write the urban fiction genres,  nor do we want to contribute to their already crowded shelves. 

    That's the back story of my character.  But that's not the novel's plot.

    The novel is about a scientist whose work entangles her in the intersecting quirky worlds of macho police officers, wealthy eccentrics, and struggling working-class inhabitants in real town America-- who are trying to live their small town normal lives as well as they can.  I like to think that I am writing about real people, living in real time. 

    So, here's my dilemma: does creating a black protagonist seal the deal in putting me on the shelf among other black writers?  I ask this, rhetorically, because when I read my first Alex Cross mystery, I swore that James Patterson, the author, was Black (although a couple of phrases or explanations didn't exactly jibe with me).  Does the fact that the famous author is not Black give him "cultural waiver" that allows him to be considered merely a "novelist?" I asked the question on a website for independent writers and was pilloried for race-baiting (I thought I was opening up a discussion from which I could learn, too, actually). I do think it's an interesting question, nevertheless.  I also asked whether it was best to get a Black agent for my novel about a Black protagonist. The answers were that I should. Yet, again, I wonder if James Patterson has a black agent. 

    Don't get it twisted. I am not running from my own Black race in asking this question. I hope that my Black brethren voraciously consume what I have to say. But the story that needs to be read need not only be read by Black people. We know our Black lives. We live them.

    I wonder aloud if my quandary will be resolved once I decide whether to label it crime fiction or a mystery (I've yet to discern the difference between the two genres). I have a hint, however. In doing research about the labeling of Black writers, of course, the most famous Black mystery writer around, comes to mind: Walter Mosley.  Mosley is half-Black and half-Jewish (the latter of which was news to me), surely an asset to both groups to which he belongs. But even Wikipedia explained the dilemma of on what shelf to put him:
    In 2010, there was a debate in academic literary circles as to whether Mosley's work should be consideredJewish literature. Similar debate has occurred as to whether he should be described as a black author, given his status as a best-selling writer. Mosley has said that he prefers to be called a novelist. He explains his desire to write about "black male heroes" saying "hardly anybody in America has written about black male heroes... There are black male protagonists and black male supporting characters, but nobody else writes about black male heroes.”[8]
    Even Time Magazine had to give him his due that he belonged to a hallowed category of ethnic writer's whose work "transcends category and qualifies as serious literature." I know it's a compliment, but it speaks volumes, essentially, saying, "Even though he's Black, we accept him as one of us." Which is offensive.  I've heard no Black critics exclaim that "Alex Cross has crossed the line to become Black like us." Can we not be Americans of different persuasions, without meeting a litmus test for acceptability because some of us might be ethnically different than the rest of our writing breed?  

    “A writer whose work transcends category and qualifies as serious - See more at: http://www.waltermosley.com/#sthash.07Fs8BRO.dpuf
    “A writer whose work transcends category and qualifies as serious - See more at: http://www.waltermosley.com/#sthash.07Fs8BRO.dpuf
    “A writer whose work transcends category and qualifies as serious - See more at: http://www.waltermosley.com/#sthash.07Fs8BRO.dpuf
    “A writer whose work transcends category and qualifies as serious
    I am neither a journalist nor a professor; such  cache that would give me entree as an author worth of serious consideration.  So what happens to novice Black writers? How can we appeal to a larger audience? Do we sit on a shelf and hope a non-Black person walks by, or must we wait for Black celebrity status to be considered noteworthy for the masses?  I suspect that my literary identifier will become, like for most of my race, my pigmentation, rather than my strengths as a writer.  Other than being a descendant of slaves, slave-owners, and a half-Irish, half-Native American great-great grandmother whom I never met, I, like so many other Black Americans, are the amalgam of slave ownerships through the centuries, of forced sex, abuse of power, and perverse desire stigmatized by history's transgressions. But we're trying to live in the now.  That's what I write about. The now of being an educated Black woman in America.  The living day to day. 

    I am pretty sure that I won't have a photo on my ebook or hardback cover, because I don't think my face will sell novels.  Furthermore, my novel's jacket will likely not show colorful people or African mosaics publishers like to use as the code for "ethnic"--so you'll just have to keep your eye out for my title, I guess.  I might lose readers. But it's more important to me not to pander to the racial definition of what book is or is not shelf-worthy--merely based upon my pigmentation.

    Don't get me wrong. I am going to be marketing the hell out of this book to a largely Black American audience and will welcome any attention my own people give to my writing. But the question still stands: can an intelligent writer "of color" get equal footing in America as a writer without waiting for a green light by Whites? Do white people visit the ghettos of the Black shelves in bookstores? Especially if you are not Black, share your thoughts. You will not be pilloried for your thoughtful answers.

    I was invited to re-publish this blog post that I wrote in January 2015 for IPNE readers. I appreciate Charlotte's interest in the topic.

  • 21 Aug 2016 3:42 PM | Charlotte Pierce (Administrator)

    IPNE Membership Benefits

    • NEW! FOREWORD REVIEWS: Click here for a full list of member discounts from ForeWord Reviews, including ALA representation, review services, and more!
    • CO-OP MARKETING: IPNE members receive special rates for exhibiting at regional trade shows and conferences.  See our events page for upcoming shows.
    • PRIORITY BOOKING on IPNE's live-streaming Face The Book TV and weekly Ask the Experts.
    • IBPA DISCOUNT, receive a $30 discount off the Independent Book Publishers Association membership -  just for belonging to IPNE. Click here to visit IBPA's website and see their various membership fees.
    • APSS DISCOUNT: You save $35 off of the standard $115 annual membership fee, and pay only $80 annually. Click here to visit the site for the Association of Publishers for Special Sales (APSS), headed by former IPNE board member Brian Jud.
    • MEMBER PROFILE: List your company in our online directory, and link to your web site, blog, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. Keep your profile up-to-date here.
    • NEWSLETTER: The IPNE quarterly newsletter keeps you abreast of all the latest IPNE developments, including new vendor discounts, reports on book shows and regional gatherings. Members are invited to contribute to the newsletter by posting on the blog.
    • ANNOUNCEMENT LIST: Receive IPNE exclusives and breaking news from the publishing world. Send an email to talktous@ipne.org with "Please add me to the Announcement list" in the subject line.
    • EDUCATION: IPNE hosts regular publishing workshops and presentations and other meetings and events. Members get in free or receive a discount, depending on the speaker fee and other costs. This is about you - feel free to propose a topic for an expert or yourself to share live or online with IPNE members!
    • GUEST BLOGGING PRIVILEGES: Contribute to the IPNE blog and discussion groups and increase  your visibility! IPNE will amplify your message through its social media platforms.
    • AFFILIATIONS: Enjoy representation and advantages through IPNE’s official affiliations with Independent Book Publishers Association, and many other regional and national organizations and groups
    • AND MORE! When you join the Independent Publishers of New Englandyou learn what you need to know about the business, meet new business contacts, and make new friends!
    • TIME TO JOIN? >> Click here to access the online application form.

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