Publishing University Wrap-up

May 29, 2009 at 5:47 am | Posted in Book Publishing, Perspective | Comments Off on Publishing University Wrap-up
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Yesterday was the third and last day of the 2009 Publishing University presented by IBPA, the Independent Book Publishers Association. And what a great day it was!

For me, there were two highlights: the luncheon program with industry pros talking about e-books; and the evening dinner and presentaion of the Benjamin Franklin Awards.

Speakers at the luncheon session described their respective company’s activities in the rapidly expanding e-book sector of the book industry. Neelan Choksi, whose company had just been bought by Stanza, Daniel Albohn, of Sony, and Mark Coker, owner of Smashwords, provided a clear picture of the exciting world of e-books. This is obviously a segment of the industry that is undergoing tremendous advances and growth. I am moving all of Ocean Publishing’s books into this format as rapidly as I can in the next few weeks.

The Ben Franklin Awards were great fun for me, especially, and a crowd of several hundred IBPA members and guests who filled the Grand Ballroom of The Roosevelt Hotel. The post-dinner presentation of awards for the best books in 54 categories was my highlight because I love the excitement of the evening. IBPA board members, along with Executive Director Terry Nathan and Assistant Director Lisa Krebs Magno, served as presenters.

Big winner of the night was Palace Press International, which took home five individual awards! Congratulations!

Today I move over to the Jacob Javits Center to attend BookExpo America, the biggest book publishing event of the year. For the next three days I will be working in the IBPA Booth(#2955) to help with IBPA’s membership campaign. If you are attending the show, please stop by and say hello.

More to come…


Day Two of Pub U

May 27, 2009 at 4:38 pm | Posted in Book Publishing | Comments Off on Day Two of Pub U
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Well, so much for reporting about Day 1 of Publishing University!  I got in late and missed Rudy Shur’s keynote talk and heard only part of Dominique Raccah’s. From what I heard and have been told, they both delivered outstanding presentations about the future of independent publishing. I’ll write about the details after I’ve listened to the recorded program.

Following their program, I attended a very nice reception for all of the attendees and got to connect with old friends and meet new foks. This was followed by a very fun dinner for the IBPA Affiliate Scholarship Recipeients at a French country restaurant on 2nd Avenue. What enjoyment it was to talk with people who had been recommended by their IBPA Affiliate Associations and selected by IBPA to receive a free tuition to Publishing University and a $500 stipend to help offset expenses.

Today started at 6:30 with preparation of the registration booth and membership table. I then helped out at both until 9:30 when I took a break to get on the internet to do some business for Ocean Publishing and to handle e-mail.  Then, back to the mezzanine for more help with registrations and such, followed by a fine luncheon/IBPA business meeting where Roland Lange, of Google Book Search, talked about that program and what he foresees for independent publishing. I’ll report more on this after I’ve digested my notes.

I was on a panel at 2:00, talking about “Marketing from the Inside Out,” along with Sue Sylvia and Carlene Sipola, the new IBPA president. I spoke on the importance of marketing and business focus, and how authors must have a platform on which to promote their books. This session was followed by Q&A, and then I broke to get back on the Net to write this blog.

Next will be a reception sponsored by Lightning Source, followed by casual dining with some long time friends. Then, its crash in bed so I can do it all over again tomorrow!

Off to New York!

May 26, 2009 at 6:33 am | Posted in Book Publishing | Comments Off on Off to New York!
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Today I travel to NYC to attend the start of IBPA’s Publishing University and I am excited about this opportunity to learn more about several topics that will help my publishing house prosper.

As soon as I arrive I’ll listen to Dominique Raccah and Rudy Shur, two highly experienced and successful publishers, give their views about the future of independent publishing. Their publishing houses, Sourcebooks and Square One Publishers, respectively, are the perfect examples of what independent publishers can achieve.

I give two talks on marketing on Wednesday and Thursday, followed Thursday night by IBPA’s fabulous Benjamin Franklin Dinner and Awards, which recognizes the best in indpendent book publishing. In between, I will be attending courses, helping with the IBPA membership outreach, and enjoying the company of many friends, both long time and newly-met.

I’m staying on for all three days of BookExpo America, the largest book publishing event in the country. I have plans to meet with specific distributors, audio and e-book manufacturers, marketing pros, and others in the constant search for that next connection to take Ocean Publishing one step higher toward professional and financial success.

I will also conduct interviews with experts in all phases of book publishing. Each person will be asked questions about their specific jobs and these interviews will be recorded for my upcoming radio show “Cover to Cover” on

Got to go for now. New York is calling!

Publishing University 2009

May 22, 2009 at 7:14 pm | Posted in Book Publishing, Perspective, Radio Show | Comments Off on Publishing University 2009

With daylight fading fast on the last business day before Publishing University, I am racing around getting last minute things done in the office so I can be reasonably assured that the world (my small press world, at least) won’t fall apart while I am in NYC next week. Easier said than done!

With the added confusion caused by five storm days (see posts below), this week has been full of canceled meetings, interrupted power, drenched and re-drenched clothes, and an overall combination of weirdness that is more unusual than most days in the unusual state of Florida.

I am so excited about this year’s Publishing University that I wish it started today. Of course, I would be farther behind in getting ready than I am now, but that’s OK. This is a challenging time for all businesses, but especially my business of book publishing. People buy my type of books because they want to, not because they have to. This often means they are using discretionary income and, right now, that’s a commodity that is increasingly difficult to find.

This is exactly the time that publishers, especially those like me who own their own publishing houses, should be going to conferences, seminars, workshops and, yes, Publishing University. Conducted by the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), comprised of 3500 independent publishers and others serving that part of the industry, Publishing University is the premier educational event historically held annually just prior to BookExpo America.

I am anxious to attend Publishing University this year because there are several courses I must hear, plus I am going to conduct interviews with some “heavy hitters” from the independent publishing world for my radio show. Of course, another reason I’m pumped is I am the membership chair for IBPA and I want to thank members I see and encourage non-members to sign on to the best source of education, networking and support available in the country.

A last, and no less important, reason I’m excited about going to Publishing University is that I will be able to visit with great friends who I have met through IBPA. Former and current board members with whom I have served, fabulous staff who give their all to help our members, and just a lot of other super people who share a love for independent book publishing.

I wish it started today!

Nor’easter Becomes Sou’easter

May 22, 2009 at 6:18 pm | Posted in Nature, Perspective | Comments Off on Nor’easter Becomes Sou’easter

What a week! What started as a nor’easter has turned into what I’m now calling a sou’easter. The winds shifted out of the northeast around to the southeast, and more storm cells of heavy rain and lightning keep heading on shore, all coming up the Atlantic coast from south Florida.

I’ve lived along the coast for a long time and I’ve seen lots of weird weather, but this week’s events are among the most unusual, even for Florida. Rainfall amounts have been from just over 15 inches along the coast to 28 inches inland. What was a high fire season has turned into a high flood season.

This is the fifth day of rain and wind. Business owners were complaining that business was terrible before the storm, blaming everyone from the President to Congress to Wall Street and beyond. Now, after five days of torrential rain and 25-35 knot winds, they simply have folded up and gone home until the famed Florida sun decides to re-appear.

Just when I thought I could stop work on the ark I started Tuesday, more bands of driving rain washed across the dunes. I just might go back to figuring out what a cubit means in inches so I make sure the ark is built to historical proportions.

Nor’easter in Town

May 20, 2009 at 7:18 am | Posted in Nature | Comments Off on Nor’easter in Town
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Today is day three of a powerful Nor’easter, that swirling, windy, rainy kind of storm that comes in off the ocean and lasts for three days, sometimes four. I live on the coast of a barrier island and experiencing a nor’easter from my home is a fascinating opportunity.

So far 8 inches of rain but no wind damage that I’ve seen along the coast. Waves driven high up on the beach are taking their usual toll of moving tons of sand and re-arranging some of the dunes. I’m wondering about the new sea turtle nests and their likely survival.

Weather forecasts show continuing 6-10 foot seas and steady winds of 20-25 mph, gusting higher. Thunderstorms are offshore, with slight movement toward the coast today. So, it’s going to be pretty much another day of inside activities and catching up on administrative tasks.

Just another beautiful day in paradise — without the sun. But, the good news is the drought conditions that prevailed earlier are now only a note in history.

Radio Show Getting Close

May 18, 2009 at 1:37 pm | Posted in Radio Show | Comments Off on Radio Show Getting Close
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Less than 30 days before my new talk radio program begins broadcasting on AM and FM, with Internet streaming worldwide. Needless to say, I’m both excited and nervous about it. Tune in Saturdays at 11:30 Easter/8:30 Pacific at for the latest about books and book publishing.

While I’ve been interviewed on both radio and TV, there’s something special about being on the other side of the microphone. The challenge of creating entertaining and educational programming for a weekly half-hour show is all new to me, but I am enjoying the challenge.

More to follow after I return from the studio.

Right Whale Update

May 14, 2009 at 3:20 pm | Posted in Nature | Comments Off on Right Whale Update
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Yesterday I attended a meeting of scientists and other interested stakehoders in the North Atlantic right whale community. This all-day semi-annual meeting is a great information sharing and educational event for federal, state and private parties involved in the preservation and protection of one of the world’s most endangered large marine mammals, the right whale.

Although I am not a scientist, I am able to attend the meetings, and even present information and ask questions, because of my nine-year involvement in a whale research project in Florida. Given the talent around me at these meetings, I am excited to be a small part of the activity.

Acronym-based organizations such as NOAA, NMFS, GDNR, FWC, NEAq, USN, USCG, ASWH and others, share the most current information about the winter calving season nummbers (a record 39 calves born this year), bioacoustic  testing, mortalities, ship strikes, gear entanglements and disentanglements, and much more.

From these meetings I learn a great deal about the right whale species and the efforts of governmental and private organizations to save them. Importantly, I further develop the big picture view that is important for me as a publisher of books about marine life, environment and conservation. I already look forward to the October meeting.


May 7, 2009 at 8:37 pm | Posted in Perspective | Comments Off on Serendipity
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Today I needed to meet with the sales director of the radio station for which I will be broadcasting a talk radio program starting Saturday, June 13th. I met him at The Golden Lion, an oceanside restaurant near my office, where he was hanging a promotional banner for his new music station.  Terry Turner, WNZF, and Tony Marlow, restaurant proprietor and longtime friend, chatted with me about my upcoming show and Tony’s radio promotions.

I had lots of questions for Terry about the radio production process, scheduling, and sponsorship. We discovered that we liked fishing and the same music, plus I learned he worked with Glenn Beck way back when Beck was a very different character than his current radio & TV personna.

Tony promised me for about the 20th time in 10 years that he was going to drag out that 78,000 word manuscript he wrote years ago and give it to me to critique. For the 20th time I told him to do it and I’d actually read it or give it to someone more experienced with fiction than I. Once again, he promised to do it. I laughed and told him he was a closet writer who was afraid to have his work criticized. He didn’t disagree. Maybe this time will be different.

This meeting proved once again the power of serendipity. My life has had several powerful moments when good people came together to advance me and my activities, and today was another demonstration of how this works. I left the meeting energized and excited about the future. Thank you Terry and Tony.

It’s Official! Radio Show is Scheduled!

May 5, 2009 at 7:52 pm | Posted in Book Publishing, Radio Show | Comments Off on It’s Official! Radio Show is Scheduled!
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Well, I am signed on to do a talk radio show about books and book publishing to begin broadcasting on June 13, 2009. I am both excited and slightly nervous.

Broadcasting every Saturday morning at 11:30 Eastern/8:30 Pacfic, “Cover to Cover” will be heard simultaneously in northeast Florida on 1550 AM and 106.3 FM, and streaming worldwide on the Net at

“Cover to Cover” will focus on a wide variety of topics dealing with books, such as bestseller lists, what genres are hot and what’s not, up and coming authors, and everything in between. Also, because of my publishing house, Ocean Publishing, I will concentrate on how books are produced and marketed, including all kinds of topics ranging from manuscript writing and submission, book design, printing, distribution, sales, reviews, and so much more.

Because I have been fortunate to have met and worked with some of the top publishing executives in the business, I will have them on as guests to talk about their respective specialties. Planned guests will be authors, publishers, reviewers, association execs, buyers, distributors and wholesalers, editors, illustrators, printers, sales reps, and others.

So, if you’re interested in anything to do with books, and especially how they are made and marketed, plan to tune in each week whenever “Cover to Cover” plays in your neck of the woods. If you have subjects you’d like to have discussed, leave a comment at this blog or send me an email at and I’ll consider it.

As June 13th gets closer I’ll update about the program, it’s broadcast times, and what topics will come up on the first shows. Stay tuned!

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