Colorado Independent Publishers Association helps local writers through workshops
Steamboat Springs — Expanding the number of publication mediums available, today’s technology enables writers to transition from traditional publishers to independent publishers and self-publication methods.
Sue Leonard, Steamboat Springs resident and owner of Cornerstone Fulfillment Service, acknowledged the difficulty of navigating these new options in order to successfully publish and market a new book.
“It’s harder to get traditionally published these days,” Leonard said. “The industry is changing, and not everyone is caught up on publishing independently. The good thing is, more and more people are willing to publish, because the financial outlay is a whole lot less.”
Leonard, who specializes in marketing and consulting on e-commerce, reached out to the Colorado Independent Publishers Association when she moved here seven years ago.
CIPA, a statewide non-profit founded in 1992, seeks to aid Colorado authors in writing and marketing their books through cooperative ventures, education and networking.
“Indie vs. traditional publishing is a hot topic,” said Kim Keith, executive director of the Steamboat Springs Art council, the event sponsor. “You see artists in many forms that don’t take the next step. They write the book, make the paint and then it sits. Educational events help authors get their work off their desktop, put it into the world and market it.”
Traditional publishers such as Penguin Random House previously gave authors advances to go write their books. Now, with less money in publishing, these publishers expect authors to have a platform for accessible purchase in place.
“What happens if you have a book but no platform?” said Dr. Patricia Ross, CIPA president and founder of Hugo House Publishers. “CIPA teaches people how to build that platform. We help find the audience and figure out what the audience wants so the writer gives them something they will want.”
With more than 75 published authors and more unpublished ones, Leonard decided to partner with CIPA and the Steamboat Springs Arts Council to host “The Wild West of Publishing” on May 23 at the Depot Art Center in the Eleanor Bliss Center for the Arts.
Although CIPA has hosted educational events previously in Steamboat, Leonard felt Steamboat authors and members of We Write Steamboat — a networking group for independent publishers — and the Steamboat Writer’s Group would benefit from the extra education.
“It has been a while since CIPA has come to Steamboat, and I felt it was time to try to give the people involved in this part of the community a chance to get some more education,” Leonard said.
At “The Wild West of Publishing” event, eight CIPA representatives spoke on four topics: the publishing process, book production, traditional versus ‘indie’ publishing and marketing. Their presentations included a panel discussion during which they could elaborate on their individual specialties.
CIPA also hosts monthly meetings in Denver to talk about independent publishing, but the four-hour drive deters some Steamboat authors from attending.
“It’s a long way to Denver from Steamboat for meetings that start at 8:30 a.m.,” Leonard said. “CIPA is very supportive of the Steamboat writers, though, because we’ve had quite a number of authors from Steamboat who have received book awards. They’re open to coordinating with us for workshops hosted in town.”
“Steamboat is a handy resource for CIPA,” Ross said. “It’s another opportunity to form organic writing connections with a fairly large writing community.”
The next CIPA meeting will be ftp, 8:30 a.m. to noon Sept. 19. The location is to be determined. For more information, go to cipacatalog.com.
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