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.
  • 21 Aug 2016 8:28 AM | Charlotte Pierce (Administrator)
    IPNE members - did you know you have an IPNE profile that exists to help you make the most out of your membership? There are public, members-only, and admin-only sections.

    An accurate and up-to-date profile (HINT) is the most effective kind. 

    Here's a few of the ways that IPNE uses the information in your profile.

    • To create exhibitor catalog inserts when you exhibit with IPNE at book shows;
    • To add you to our lists on social media (photo) and amplify your postings;
    • To contact you when we have questions about your books or account;
    • To refer you to clients and readers based on your listed skills and genres;
    • To include you in our Featured Members rotation on our website;
    And while you're at it, take a tour of your other social media profiles to make sure they reflect your IPNE membership!
  • 28 Jul 2016 4:07 PM | Deleted user

         E-commerce is changing the way we shop.  And nowhere is this more evident than the subscription box craze.  With minimal effort, one can find a subscription box service for any niche market.  Dog moms, doomsday preppers, chocolate fiends, expectant mothers, teachers, artists, motorcycle enthusiasts, crafters, sailers, and… book lovers.  Each month, fans of every genre pay to have beautifully wrapped, book-themed boxes delivered to their front doors.  And the subscriber base is growing every single month.

         As these companies strive to fill their boxes with fresh writing and rare book-themed gifts, indie publishers find themselves with a unique opportunity: a direct line to an already existing genre-loyal market base.  By partnering with subscription box companies like Uppercase, the Dark Book Club, and Owl Crate, indie publishers can expand their reach with minimal costs.  These companies pride themselves (and sometimes stake their reputations on) their ability to discover new goods and talents.  Most of them welcome unsolicited pitches.

         To increase your odds of forming a successful partnership, create a pitch that offers something special.  Offer signed or limited edition copies, or consider throwing in bookish extras like author notes, bookmarks, or free ebook downloads.  Or even create a box of your own.  

  • 17 Jul 2016 10:51 PM | Deleted user
    Boston hosts three major speculative fiction-related cons every year—Arisia in January, Boskone in February, and Readercon in July. They are all annual celebrations of SF, fantasy, horror, and slipstream. Of the three, Readercon is the more ‘academic’ in that most of the panels discuss literary or scientific aspects of the field, rather than fan-based and media material.

    This is a series of tweets I made after returning from Readercon. This is the fourth year I’ve been invited to attend Readercon as a guest and consider it an honor.


    Some thoughts re #Readercon & diversity. This was my 4th & there were definitely more POC attendees & panelists 1/

    But there was too little diversity on any of the panels I was on. Mostly white faces on stage. 2/

    There seemed to be more gender balance on panels than in the past, which is good, but not enough. 3/

    I though the mods on my panels all did a good job - I didn't experience any 'splaining where I have in the past. 4/

    I was grateful for an audience member for talking about race & the female protag. The panel would have been richer w/a WOC on it. 5/

    I felt uncomfortable at the omission, though I had nothing to do with org the con. The way panels are staffed may need to be changed 6/

    #Readercon panels are chosen thru guests given a HUGE questionnaire to fill out. I think it ends up being a self-selection process BUT 7/

    I have no idea who gets invited, but it makes sense if more POC were on the list, there would be a greater representation on more panels. 8/

    Which leads to richer conversations & more consideration of intersectionality & how that affects SF&F. #Readercon 9/

    I appreciated the diversity of views & comments in the panels I participated in, but it wasn't enough. #Readercon needs more. 10/10

    And if that means I'm not on program next year in favor of a POC, that's more than OK. #Readercon#Diversity makes it better for all. 11/10

    Over the past four years, I’ve definitely seen a greater focus on diversity in the invited faculty and on the individual panels. In past years, I have been on and been in the audience for panels where a majority of white male panelists monopolized conversations. I think it’s a holdover from when SF was very much a man’s world. In addition, panel moderation is a challenging skill, especially when there may not be much pre-planning among panelists.

    This year, there was significantly greater gender balance on the panels I took part in and the moderation on those panels was more effective than it has been in the past. Conversations were richer and included more voices. I know Readercon has done a lot to give moderators resources and information on their roles.

    And while there was more diversity among attendees this year, it didn’t seem to translate to diversity on panels.

    One of the roles of speculative fiction is to focus a lens on what our society is struggling with currently. There is no doubt that identity is an issue that is defining our time. There is no greater example of this than examining the Nebula award winners for this year. Nearly all the winners of this prestigious award were woman, including women of color and LGBT women. And many of the stories touch on issues of feminism, racism, and the intersection of gender roles, gender identity, and society.

    If speculative fiction itself is changing, then so must the conferences and conventions that celebrate it. As I said in one of the final tweets, diversity of voices, opinions, and experiences will make the discussions richer for all of us and help shape the speculative fiction of the next century.

    So, would I recommend attending Readercon? Absolutely. Without hesitation. Panels I participated in included discussions of futurism’s blind spots, why women become protagonists, whether humans will colonize Mars, and what one book would I save from an apocalypse. There were panels on tired tropes in genre fiction, a short story clinic for the novelist, dystopias and utopias, how language influences thought, the SF of human biology and many, many more. In addition there were readings and intimate coffee hours with writers. If you are a writer of speculative fiction or a reader/fan of the genre, attending Readercon (and any of the other area cons) can be a feast for the imagination.

    Given the changes I’ve seen over the past 4 years, I suspect that future years will include more diverse voices and a greater awareness of the importance of those voices.

    LJ Cohen is a novelist, poet, blogger, ceramics artist, & relentless optimist. After 25 years as a physical therapist, LJ now uses her clinical skills to injure characters in SF&F novels. She lives outside of Boston. Her 6th novel, the 3rd book in her Halcyone Space series, Dreadnought And Shuttle, was published in June, 2016. LJ is a member of SFWA (The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America) and Broad Universe. http://www.ljcohen.net contact: Lisa@ljcohen.net

  • 08 Jul 2016 12:13 PM | Charlotte Pierce (Administrator)

    IPNE membership pays for itself when members get involved and take advantage of their benefits. Now, we've also set up a way for you to actually earn back your membership fee!
    Please use the Member Forum to log activities performed on behalf of IPNE. Hours logged will be applied toward IPNE membership credits and other rewards!

    Examples of relevant activities:

    • reviews of members' books on your blog and social media
    • promotion of IPNE activities on your blog and social media
    • production crew for Office Hours, Ask the Experts, or Face The Book TV
    • participation in Project Teams
    • volunteer staffing at cooperative book exhibits
    • more to be announced!

    REQUIREMENTS: Membership rewards are activated after 3 consecutive months of service, and you must be a current, active member at the time of service. Board members are not eligible; their rewards are intangible! 

    REWARDS: 12 hours= 3 months membership extension; 24 hours=6 months; 48 hours=9 months. The primary coordinator for each major book show receives complimentary exhibit for up to 2 books, plus expenses according to a budget submitted in advance.  Please let us know when you are eligible!

    Because book show exhibit fees are one of IPNE's main revenue sources, we cannot grant complimentary exhibiting to anyone other than the primary coordinator at a show. 

    PLEASE NOTE: This is a pilot program and logging is on the honor system. Please include any relevant links to blogs, websites, where IPNE is mentioned. Thanks for proving that "COLLABORATION IS THE NEW COMPETITION."


    Here's a format you can use for entering hours. Just copy the table and paste into a new reply on the relevant Forum topic:

    Date  Task  Link (if available)  Hours
     7/5/2016  NELA Registration  nelib.org 2
       Event materials assembly  ipne.org 1
       Office Hours participation  ipne.org/ipnelive 1
     7/8/2016 Website maintenance   ipne.org/forum  1

  • 27 Jun 2016 2:07 PM | Anonymous

    In this edition of Learn From Your Peers, we're excited to share our talk with IPNE Board member Maria Kamoulakou-Marangoudakis about her debut children's series and book, The Adventures of Hope & Trusty: Sky Cloud City

    When did you know you wanted to write a children's picture book? What inspired you?

    Three years ago I had no idea I would become a children’s author! That was one of many twists and turns my life took in the past 10 years. A recent cancer experience prompted me to “seize the day” and led me evaluate life on different grounds. After a period of restlessness and inner searching I felt the urge of addressing children. It was February 2013, during a bitterly cold and snowy New England night, when an idea sprang to mind as I was reading a Greek historical novel. Like a little yellow bulb, it flashed above my head. Why not write a children's book based on ancient Greece? That is how it all began!

    Tell us about your work aside from writing -- did it influence your book at all?

    Before relocating to the United States from Greece in 2008 I had a well-established career as an archaeologist at the Hellenic Ministry of Culture. Most writers draw inspiration either from their environment, or from their experiences. Myself, I drew inspiration from my love of ancient Greek culture, the values it represented and its literary accomplishments. I turned to my favorite ancient Greek comedy playwright for inspiration: Aristophanes. His plays are staged every summer in ancient theaters under a starry sky. It is truly an unforgettable experience! 

    My favorite comedy immediately came to mind: Ornithes, meaning The Birds. It constitutes the most fairy-tale-like of Aristophanes’ works and a good starting point. The play describes the adventure of two elderly Athenians who fled to the land of the birds in search of a better life and helped their feathered friends build a city in the clouds. As soon as I got hold of a modern Greek translation and a couple of adaptations for children, I plunged into reading. A year and a half later my first children’s book was born: The Adventures of Hope & Trusty: Sky Cloud City. It took an additional two years before I had the pleasure of holding it in my hands. It almost felt unreal and too good to be true! 

    So, you may say that cancer prompted me to become a children’s writer but it was my classical Greek upbringing that provided the inspiration.

    Do you have plans for another book, either as a sequel or in its own?

    As a matter of fact, I do. The Adventures of Hope & Trusty is meant to be a trilogy, at best. The second and third book will be again based on two very popular plays by Aristophanes. I would love to disclose the titles, but I haven’t made up my mind, yet. The second book is still in a very formative stage. 

    But, there is another book which I am currently working on: Arthur the Fly-Slayer, and the Forty Dragons. It is inspired by a folklore tale that my father used to tell me as a bed time story, especially if I happened to have a sick day home from school. I have very fond memories of my father returning home from work late at night and walking carefully into my room to check on me. Finding me awake, he would sit at the lower part of the bed and start narrating the tale of the forty dragons. Like a dry sponge, I absorbed every word. For me that was the best part of being ill! 

    The story of the forty dragons was a popular fairy tale in his birth town, south of Sparta. Unfortunately neither of us remembers the entire plot, so I had to improvise a bit.

    Why do you feel compelled to share folklore and myth?

    Thank you very much for that question! The reason I turned to ancient Greek theatre for inspiration wasn’t only because of my upbringing and my work. I feel that kids shouldn’t read only princess tales with prince charming who rescues the heroine from evil and they live “happily ever after”. We live in very turbulent times and millions of people are on the move because of warfare, hunger and poverty. The United States is located in a safe and sheltered part of the world, but my country, Greece, is in the midst of the worst immigration crisis in modern history. Our planet is in desperate need of peace. 

    Aristophanes experienced a terrible 30 year war (431-404 BC) between Sparta and Athens that left his city defeated, weakened, and humiliated. Through his plays he preached for peace, humanity, justice and dignity amongst people. These are timeless values that I felt compelled to communicate to modern day young readers. The Adventures of Hope & Trusty: Sky Cloud City developed as an alternative story to traditional fairy-tales. It doesn’t bear any reference to politics and lacks the spicy language of Aristophanes’ original play. It is an educational story about friendship, peaceful coexistence, cooperation and working together to achieve impossible goals. 

    The Adventures of Hope & Trusty: Sky Cloud City was created because you, as parents, and I, as a writer, are raising future responsible citizens and the next generation of world leaders.

    Was your book originally written in Greek? Can you tell us about your process of translating the story.

    The Adventures of Hope & Trusty: Sky Cloud City and its accompanying Activity Book were written directly in English, but the manuscript for Arthur the Fly-Slayer, and the Forty Dragons was initially written in Greek. It is intended to be a bilingual book. The process of translating the story was a tricky one. Greek is a very rich and flexible language. Every word has its own, unique meaning based on spelling. Can you imagine that we have 20 different words to describe the “sea”? I was faced with the great challenge of translating words that do not exist in English. I am not a professional translator, so I decided to use the Greek text as a base, and then re-wrote it very loosely adding a lot more details to the story, that are missing in the Greek version.

    Do you have any unique marketing ideas for your book that could inspire others?

    The main character in The Adventures of Hope & Trusty: Sky Cloud City is a migratory bird, of stunning beauty, that lives in Africa, Europe and Asia: the hoopoe bird. In order to promote my book I thought of searching for a hoopoe bird puppet. Luckily enough, I discovered a very skillful puppet maker in Poland, Alicja Piotrowska, on etsy.com (https://www.etsy.com/people/apiotrowska). She made a stunning puppet for me, which I carry to book shows and events. It attracts people to my booth and kids love to hold it and pet it.

    Do you have any last tips or words of encouragement for other first-time children's picture book authors?

    I would say be true to yourself by chasing your dream. Do not give in to difficulties. A first time author will have to overcome many unforeseen obstacles. Every twist and turn in his/her publishing journey is an endless learning experience. Allow yourself time to develop your story and look for experienced collaborators, especially a skillful editor, who can guide you along the way. Ask around for illustrators. You would be surprised whom you can discover, where you least expect it! Settle for someone you can work harmoniously with, who can share your vision and take it one step further. Like a modern day Ulysses, your journey towards publication will be a bumpy one, but when you reach your Ithaca, you, too, will realize that it was more fulfilling than the actual destination.

    Photo, left: Maria with the New England based illustrator, Aspasia Tsihlakis Arvanitis at the Hartford Greek Festival.

    You can find The Adventures of Hope & Trusty: Sky Cloud City here!

  • 21 Jun 2016 11:32 AM | Charlotte Pierce (Administrator)

    Join our daily drop-In Office Hours at 10 am!

    Hey, indie publishers out there, you are not alone! 

    Grab a cup of your favorite beverage and drop in via video or audio daily, starting at 10 am. Invite a friend or colleague by sharing the link! (details). IPNE members are welcome to use the conference line at any time.

    If the Office Hours room is empty when you arrive, invite a colleague or one of the IPNE board team by email and give them the URL at the top of the screen. Please let us know if you notice any inappropriate use of the room.

    • Monday Office Hours starts with a brainstorming session for questions and topics for our guests on Thursdays' Ask the Experts
    • Tuesday Office Hours, the kids are in charge - you'll find children's author Maria Kamoulakou (right) in the host's chair, talking about books for the younger set.
    • Wednesday Office Hours is Special (non-bookstore) Sales Day on Office Hours, when APSS director and IPNE board member Brian Jud hosts a discussion of the potentially lucrative non-bookstore sales market.
    • Thursday Office Hours is often hosted by other Board or IPNE members and themes are open-ended. It's right before Ask the Experts also, so you'll often find our Expert of the week in the session.
    • Friday Office Hours is staffed by Board member Mariana Llanos, publisher of a children's bilingual book series (right) and an expert on guest appearances and building an author platform. A great time to pick her brain!

  • 15 Jun 2016 1:00 PM | Charlotte Pierce (Administrator)

    Starting in 2016, IPNE exhibits at most of our book shows will be curated. Through this process, our intent is to raise the overall quality of books that readers and industry professionals can discover through the public face of IPNE.

    This process is intended to enhance the reputation of the organization as a whole and its members individually. In designing the program, we have researched best practices at similar professional organizations.

    Publishers with books that are not accepted for exhibits will be offered resources and mentoring sessions designed to bring their books up to exhibit standards.

    Books may be accepted for exhibit if they meet one or more of the following guidelines (full policy linked at IPNE.org):

    • IPNE Award winners or finalists.
    • Winners or finalists of other established awards programs.
    • Books accepted to previous shows under current curation guidelines.
    • Books on established trade organization publication lists.
    • Publisher has completed, signed, and submitted our curation checklist.
    • Completed IPNE profile, including book metadata and cover images.

    If you are unsure whether your book qualifies, please send us a copy of the book at least two months prior to the event at which you wish to exhibit and contact IPNE for guidance. Books that do not meet guidelines will be returned and exhibit fees refunded. Full guidelines are posted at IPNE.org. Final exhibit qualification approval rests with the IPNE Board of Directors.

  • 07 Jun 2016 2:44 PM | Anonymous

    I never remember to let people know about awards - so this time I'm adding something. 

    My 9th picture book, High Wire Act, just won Book of the Year from Creative Child Magazine.  In addition, it’s also featured online this month on the homepage of the Children’s Book Council. Here's what they said:

    "Congratulations, High Wire Act has been selected for the CBC’s Seasonal Showcase, “On the Move,” and is featured on our homepage! Thank you for submitting your books."

    What book awards have you submitted your books to?

  • 07 Jun 2016 10:52 AM | Brian Jud
    When making a presentation to sell a large quantity of books, many publishers create PowerPoint slides with many colorful charts and graphs. But data itself does not convince people to buy. It’s the interpretation of data and its application to the needs of each buyer that make the sale. When preparing your presentation, first think about what you are presenting – ideas or data. Then consider your purpose: Do you want to inform, persuade or explore? The answers will suggest what tools and resources you need for each presentation. Here are Ten Tips for Preparing a Visual Sales Presentation.


    1. Do not automatically convert a spreadsheet into a chart. That only visualizes data. It doesn’t communicate your idea.
    2. During the preparation stage, design skills are less important than idea generation. Remember that form follows function.
    3. Seek the reasons behind patterns, trends and anomalies, then demonstrate how your recommendation will continue, support or correct them.
    4. Demonstrate the human activity behind the lines in your charts – and how your recommendation can influence them.
    5. Do not start with the graphs. First consider the nature and purpose of your visualization.
    6. Ask yourself, “Is the information conceptual or data-driven?” This identifies what you have – the basis for your presentation. It is not the presentation itself.
    7. Next ask, “Am I declaring something or exploring something?” This describes what you are doing: either communicating information (“Here is how my content can help you…”) or trying to figure something out (“What if we…”).
    8. Use metaphors and simple designs to clarify and illustrate complex ideas. A useful skill is similar to what a text editor brings to a manuscript – the ability to pare things down to their essence.
    9. Your focus should be on clearly communicating the logic behind your ideas. The resulting discussion should be about the idea in the chart, not the chart itself.
    10. “Simple” is the key. Your presentation should communicate a single message: why your content is the best means for reaching your prospect’s objectives


    Brian Jud is the Executive Director of the Association of Publishers for Special Sales (APSS – www.bookapss.org) and author of How to Make Real Money Selling Books and Beyond the Bookstore. Contact Brian at brianjud@bookmarketing.com or www.premiumbookcompany.com and twitter @bookmarketing


  • 18 May 2016 11:52 AM | Charlotte Pierce (Administrator)

    If you publish children's books, you might consider volunteering at Hubbub, the second-annual "children's festival celebrating creativity, inventiveness, and exploration for children 0-12 and their families." The event is sponsored by the Boston Book Festival.

    BBF organizers have invited IPNE members to help out at Hubbub this year. Being on the crew can provide you with a great opportunity to meet readers, booksellers, authors, and other publishers, as well as Boston Book Festival organizers. Plus, you might get to dress up as Big Bird!

    The event takes place Saturday, June 4th, right in Boston's historic Copley Square at the site of the Boston Book Festival, where IPNE members will exhibit on Oct. 15. There are many different volunteer positions and shift times available for the day (lunch is provided).

    Anyone wishing to volunteer can sign up at this link, and make sure you mention that you are a member of IPNE!

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