By Seth David Chernoff

I was afforded the opportunity to attend IPBA Publishing University before BookExpo America (BEA) in New York City in June; in part due to a tuition scholarship from IBPA and CIPA. I would like to share my experience with you.

The event proved to be incredibly valuable. Like any conference, there were seminars on a wide range of subjects, particularly the future of the publishing industry, digital books, and a lot of general lectures relating to book marketing, sales, and promotion. There was plenty of networking and good food. I was pleased to find our book printer (Color House Graphics) had a booth.

Many of the breakout session lecture topics were elementary, geared toward the self-published author, and people new to the field of publishing. We are by no means a veteran in the field, but having enjoyed some success in the publishing world, and having immersed ourselves in learning everything we can along the way, I found myself thirsty for more.

Many of the speakers were experts in their field and even if the lecture topics didn’t go deep enough for me, I knew that the speakers had a lot more knowledge they could share but were respectfully holding back because of the perceived inexperience of their audience. And, normally at these types of events, when the lecture is over, there is a rush to the stage, as attendees try to grasp a few extra free pearls of wisdom from the speakers. At IBPA, there was no need to do this as they offered an “Ask The Experts” session, which was the most valuable aspect of the event.

Attendees could sign up for 15 minutes of dedicated and uninterrupted time with any of the speakers. I signed up for at least 12. I was able to personally engage and connect with Mary Agnes Antonopoulos (Rock Away Writer) who guided me to tap into the recovery community for my book, and was a beacon of inspiration. Marika Flatt (PR By the Book) who talked about media positioning on how to get the media to perk up their ears. Jeniffer Thompson (Monkey C Media) and Nettie Hartsock (The Hartsock Agency) on the best strategies for book marketing on social media. These were just a few of the talented experts I had the opportunity to glean.

One of my priorities for attending the event was to sign on with a new book distributor. After meeting a few that didn’t quite fit our business model, I had the pleasure of finally connecting with the president of MidPoint Distribution who was impressed with our book and our 25,000 sales/downloads among other successes. Needless to say, we signed with that distribution company and couldn’t be happier as we now prepare to release book two in the series in September.

Over the course of two days, we received personalized feedback on our books, marketing strategies, and so much more. I highly recommend submitting your application for scholarship next year (watch for news from CIPA) and going to the event. It was well orchestrated, incredibly rewarding, and a lot of fun.

Seth David Chernoff is the owner of Spirit Scope Publishing, a small publisher located in Boulder, Colorado and the author of two of the books in the Manual For Living collection. Visit his web page at