My Five Favorite Digital Tools

Recently, I had the pleasure of attending and speaking at the IBPA Publishing University 2023. It was an incredible opportunity to learn from industry leaders, network with fellow professionals, and share my insights on cost-effective strategies for book publicity. I was also thrilled to promote our company, Pub Site, as an exhibitor during the conference. Plus, it was fun to see people in person. John Burke, the founder of Pub Site and, more importantly, my partner in crime, captivated numerous publishing folks with his live demos. Witnessing their excitement and admiration for the brilliant platform he's built is always a treat for me.

The conference started with an insightful and inspiring conversation between Arthur Levine, President, Editor-in-Chief, Levine Querido, and Rebekah Borucki, Founder and President of Row House, exploring how they have built more inclusive and sustainable publishing houses. They shared valuable insights on acquisition strategies, streamlined workflows, and the importance of fair wages and hiring practices.

Another fascinating session led by Thad McIlroy, President of The Future of Publishing, dove into the future of publishing through the lens of startups. He provided an overview of startup activity in the publishing industry. This session emphasized how innovation is shaping the future of our industry.

The IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards Ceremony & Dinner celebrated the achievements of talented authors and publishers. It was a night to remember, showcasing the exceptional work of independent publishers. Our daughter, Aliya Burke, who works for Insight Editions, had the pleasure of accepting two awards on behalf of her company with her colleague Marysol Olvera, which was very exciting for all of us. 

During the Legends of Black Independent Publishing panel, we heard from trailblazing Black publishers advocating for and elevating Black voices in publishing for decades. Each panelist shared their unique journey and the lessons they've learned along the way. Each spoke of the community's role in their personal and professional lives. Presented by Kassahun Checole, President & Publisher, Africa World Press, Inc. (AWP) and The Red Sea Press, Inc. (RSP); W. Paul Coates, Founder, Black Classic Press, and BCP Digital Printing; Cheryl Hudson, Co-Founder, Just Us Books; Wade Hudson, Co-Founder, Just Us Books; Troy Johnson, Founder, African American Literature Book Club; Dr. Haki Madhubuti, Founder and Publisher, Third World Press. 

One of my highlights was participating in the breakout session on "publicity campaigns with limited staff and budget" with Meryl Moss, Candysse Miller, Director of Publicity, Independent Publishers Group, Meryl Moss, Founder, BookTrib, and our fearless moderator Annette Hobbs Magier Sr. Director, Marketing + PR at The Collective Book Studio. We shared tips for reaching readers and garnering reviews using cost-effective strategies. In this session, I mentioned five affordable digital tools (PDF) that can significantly impact book publicity efforts:
  1. ChatGPT: This AI-powered tool can help draft press releases and marketing copy and answer reader inquiries, saving time and resources.
  2. Canva: A user-friendly graphic design platform perfect for creating eye-catching promotional materials like social media graphics, digital media kits, and more.
  3. A transcription service that converts spoken content into written text, ideal for creating blog posts, articles, and social media captions from interviews or podcasts.
  4. Studio Shoot: An app that allows you to create professional-quality photos using your smartphone. Great for author photos.
  5. Pub Site: Our user-friendly platform is tailored for creating author and publisher websites. Offering a 14-day free trial and an affordable monthly fee of just $19.99 (which includes hosting), there's no reason not to have a modern and up-to-date website at your fingertips.

The conference ended with a debriefing session, where attendees shared their learnings, ideas, and ways to continue supporting each other's success. The meeting was an enriching experience, and I left feeling inspired and more connected with our vibrant publishing community. A special thanks to Andrea Fleck-Nisbet, the Independent Book Publishers Association CEO, and her stellar staff, including Terry Nathan, Lee Wind, Christopher Locke, Louis Force Torres, and Adeline Lui, for an excellent conference. 

I want to extend my gratitude to the organizers and participants of the IBPA Publishing University 2023 for an unforgettable event. I'm excited to implement the knowledge and connections gained from the conference to better serve our clients at Pub Site and continue navigating, innovating, and elevating the world of book publicity.