In 2006, I published my first novel. The local librarian told me to join the local group, Upper Peninsula Publishers and Authors Association (UPPAA). I knew about the organization—I had even attended one of its meetings in 2002, but I was a closet writer, afraid to tell anyone I had written a book until I finally decided to publish it through a print-on-demand company. As soon as I joined UPPAA, I met friendly authors willing to share their own writing and publishing struggles and triumphs with me. I quickly learned why print-on-demand was a mistake for me and how offset printing was a better business plan. I also gained a host of marketing ideas.
Other than writing and publishing my books, and of course, having fans praise them, belonging to UPPAA has been the best part of being an author for me. Not only am I a member, but I have served as vice-president and now I am currently the president.
Multiple benefits exist when you join a publishing and writing organization. It doesn’t matter whether it’s just a few author friends getting together to workshop their books,
or a national organization like the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) or Small Publishers Association of North America (SPAN). While some differences are sure to exist from one group to another, all groups have some value to offer, and if you live in a metropolitan area, you might have the luxury of trying out different groups. To find a group near you, ask at your local bookstore or library, or visit the list of IBPA affiliate groups at its website http://www.ibpa-online.org/pubresources/affiliate.aspx.
- Networking with other writers and publishing experts—don’t think of it as networking but as making friends with people who share your interests.
- Staying up-to-date on the latest information in the industry—e-books, e-readers, online bookstores, e-book pricing, etc.
- Discounts for joining larger associations like SPAN and IBPA—and joining those groups can lead to other benefits—I got a discount for my health insurance through my membership with SPAN.
- An email group where I can talk to all the members, ask questions, share ideas.
- Sharing information on bookstores, events, places to publish articles, website design, book printing, illustrators, marketing ideas, etc.
- Getting my book before the eyes of other authors who love to read and also want to promote their books so we can find ways to help one another through word-of-mouth, swapping book reviews, or sharing tables at craft shows.
If you haven’t already joined a writer/publisher group, why not do it today? And if you’re living in, or writing about Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, I invite you to join UPPAA by visiting uppaa.org and clicking the “Join or Renew” tab.