New Study Group

New Study Group

A new group, Enhanced Digital Book Study Group, commenced operation
Saturday after the BAIPA meeting. The group decided to keep in touch via
a Facebook page soon to be set up. You can join by sending an email
request to Joe Sinclair at You must be a BAIPA member
to join.

The primary purpose of the group is to study the integration of
interactivity and diverse media (e.g., audio, images) into digital text
such as ebooks and book apps by means of research, experimentation, and

All BAIPA members are welcome to join. The next meeting of the group has
yet to be decided.

February Meeting is a Week Early: February 1

By Linda Jay

Make sure your calendar is marked for BAIPA this coming Saturday!

Don’t forget that our February meeting is one week early, just for this month — it’s this Saturday, February 1.

Come to the Key Center in Novato (directions at ) to hear Bob Pimm, California Lawyers for the Arts, speak about How to Avoid Legal Traps for the Self-Publisher.

Bob will cover topics such as: copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets, defamation, and Intellectual Property.  This Saturday, 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m.


* * *

What’s an Independent Publisher?


By David Kudler

What’s an Independent Publisher?

So, I was astonished earlier this month to find myself elected president of BAIPA — the Bay Area Independent Publishers Association.

You may call me Mr. President.

Born in the early, heady days of the desktop publishing revolution, BAIPA is a wonderful collection of folks involved in various parts of the non-corporate end of the publishing industry who get together to swap knowledge and offer services and listen to expert speakers give information about the esoterica of the publishing craft. We’ve got authors, editors, designers, publicists — if it’s got to do with the creation of books (in whatever form) and their sale, there’s someone there who can help. The collective is capable of creating books that are every bit as polished and attractive as those put out by the Big Five publishers. (Is it still five, by the way?)

I’ve learned a lot at BAIPA meetings. I’d like to think I’ve also managed to share some helpful information.

Meetings always start off with a free-form Q&A session. It gives people the chance to ask whatever burning question they may have up front; the BAIPA hivemind then sets about answering the question.

A few weeks ago, at the first meeting that I ran as president, no one had any questions to ask up front. This sometimes happens, so I threw out a question that I hoped would spark some interesting conversation: What exactly is an independent publisher?

Members gave a number of very interesting, insightful responses, but in every case it was clear that their actual answer to my question was someone who publishes his or her own books. Self-publishers, that is.

Well, that didn’t quite sit right with me, but I didn’t want to make a big deal about it — a large percentage of our members are in fact self-publishers. Self-publishing has become a huge industry in recent years, accounting for a large and growing percentage of the new books produced and sold.

These folks are all indeed independent publishers. But that’s not the whole answer.

I’m an independent publisher — or rather Stillpoint Digital Press, which I own, is one, though we publish books by nearly twenty authors in addition to a couple of titles of mine.

The Joseph Campbell Foundation, the small not-for-profit with which I’ve worked for the past decade and a half, is an independent publisher as part of its mission, putting out ebooks and recordings of lectures by the late mythologist.

So is New World Library, who publish all of the Campbell print books that I’ve worked on, and whose offices are about a mile from BAIPA’s meeting space, though NWL put out over thirty books a year, have a budget in the millions, and have a building full of (very nice) staff.

So what the heck is an independent publisher, anyway?

It’s a publisher not affiliated with any large corporation or conglomerate. That’s it.

What makes independent publishers special — what makes them the life blood of the publishing industry — is that independent publishers are independent. They make their own decisions. When it comes to publishing, that’s very important, both as a matter of freedom of the press, and as a matter of insuring that tastes can’t be defined solely by small groups of decision makers whose only concern is maximizing profits.

As several BAIPA members pointed out, they are publishing out of a passion — whether that’s a passion for a particular subject, or a particular story, or even a particular style.

Now, as we discuss regularly at BAIPA meetings, that passion must be tempered with a good sense of the business of publishing. Creating books is hard; selling them is even harder.

But still, the current marketplace allows independent publishers the same access to sell their books internationally as the subsidiaries of huge multinationals. With the ebook explosion and the proliferation of lower-risk printing options, anyone with a passion and a book can join the swelling ranks.

Come on in, the water’s fine!

* * *

* Cf. from the website of the Independent Publishers Assocation:

First eBook Library Built in U.S.

From Joseph T. Sinclair –

The first exclusively ebook library has been built near San Antonio, Texas.

The cost savings was a prime consideration in building the library, and the inexpensive operation of the library has also been realized. And the library is popular with the public. It’s difficult not to come to the conclusion that this is the library of the future.


February Meeting: How to Avoid Legal Traps for the Self-Publisher

BAIPA-logoGet your publishing law questions answered in a discussion of intellectual property law and business for independent publishers and authors. Topics include: •

  • copyrights •
  • trademarks •
  • trade secrets • and defamation

Learn the differences between each type of intellectual property law + how it it affects the work of authors and publishers. REGISTER NOW!

Date & Time:

Saturday February 1, 2014 from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM PST (NOTE: This is the FIRST Saturday of February, not our usual date!)

Location: Continue reading

Linda Jay Speaks about Book Jacket Copy at SF Meetup

Effective, compelling book jacket copy can make the critical difference between a potential reader being intrigued enough to buy your book — or not.  Linda Jay, BAIPA’s Communications Coordinator, will speak about How to Write Book Jacket Copy at the San Francisco Self-Published Authors’ Meet-up on Sunday, February 9.

Linda will bring examples of book jackets she has written — beginning with Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye (about JFK) and Hold Your Hour and Have Another (about Brendan Behan) — when she was an advertising copywriter at Little, Brown Publishers in Boston.  Other jackets whose selling points she will discuss are ones she wrote last year: for a book about multiple marriers, and for a novel about zombies.

The SF Meetup is at 3 p.m., Sunday, February 9, at the Crossroads Cafe, 699 Delancey Street in San Francisco.  Meetup Organizer is Alan Peterson.

Arlene Miller, Grammar Diva, Has Announcements

Big things are happening at bigwords101, Arlene Miller, The Grammar Diva, announces.


First, she has a new e-book, currently available only on Kindle for $2.99. It is called The Great Grammar Cheat Sheet: 50 Grammar, Punctuation, Writing, and Word Usage Tips You Can Use Now.


The highlight of December was a guest appearance on the Ronn Owens radio show on KGO in San Francisco. In his 35 years of doing the show, Ronn never had a grammar expert as a guest before! Arlene says it was fun; in fact, she decided she wants her own radio show! (Ronn was very nice!)


Here is a link to the radio podcast:


More events lined up: * Saturday, January 25, at 2 p.m., at the Guerneville Public Library, a fun grammar presentation.  * Monday evening, February 10, at 6:30, Arlene will be speaking at a meeting of the Peninsula branch of the California Writers Club at Harry’s Hofbrau in San Jose.  * March 3, Arlene talks grammar to the San Rafael Rotary Club.  * On five Thursday evenings from 6 to 7:30, also starting in March, Arlene will once again teach her Best Little Grammar Class Ever at College of Marin in Kentfield.


Arlene Miller is the author of the following books:

The Best Little Grammar Book Ever! (paperback and e-book)

Correct Me If I’m Wrong (paperback and e-book)

Beyond Worksheets (e-book)

The Great Grammar Cheat Sheet (e-book)

Trashy Novel (paperback and e-book, written under the pseudonym JoJo Baker).


Arlene also copyedits (everything) and teaches grammar workshops to corporations and groups. See her website at

Directions to January 11 Meeting, with Brian Jud Speaking

The new location is the Key Room, in Novato, about six minutes’ driving time north of our current San Rafael location. The address for the Key Room is: The Next Key Center, 1385 N. Hamilton Parkway, Novato, CA 94949.

From the North: Head south on Hwy. 101 towards San Francisco. Take the exit to Hamilton Field (Novato). Merge onto Ignacio Blvd. Turn right on Nave Drive. Turn left at Hamilton Parkway (McDonald’s is on corner). Driveway for 1385 N. Hamilton Parkway is on the right (immediately after Marin Airporter).

From the South: Head north on Hwy. 101 towards Santa Rosa. Take the Ignacio Blvd./Bel Marin Keys Blvd. exit. Turn right from the freeway exit onto Nave Drive. Turn left at Hamilton Parkway (McDonald’s is on corner). Driveway for 1385 N. Hamilton Parkway is on the right (immediately after Marin Airporter).

The Astounding New Market for English-Language Books

By Joseph T. Sinclair

How many English readers are there in the world? There’s no telling. But there are estimates of how many people can speak English as either a first or second language. David Crystal, a British linguist, estimates that non-native English speakers outnumber native speakers 3 to 1. With estimates of native speakers at almost 400 million, non-native speakers number about 1.2 billion. The grand total is 1.6 billion.

Some quick statistics shed light on where the markets are for books written in English. The ranking show the total English speakers using English as a first or second language.


United States                                    268

India                                       125

Pakistan                                 87

Nigeria                                   79

UK                                          60

Philippines                            48

Canada                                   25

Australia                                18

New Zealand                         4

The statistics above don’t show the number of English speakers in Europe, South America, Central America, Asia, Africa, and Indonesia where many educated and business people speak English as a second language.

For authors and publishers these statistics are an eye-opener. Do you want to exploit the New Zealand book market or the Indian book market? The Australian book market or the Pakistani book market? Again, we don’t know the literacy rate of the English speakers (as a second language), but we can probably assume that it is higher than the local language literacy rate; the English speakers are more likely to be educated.

You can hardly overestimate the Wow! factor in the size of the potential markets abroad. The question is, how do you reach such markets?

The traditional way has been to farm out the copyrights to foreign publishers. This has been done for a small fraction of printed books to a small number of additional countries for each book. But the world has changed. Easy worldwide distribution is now possible via digital books. No local publisher needed. But how?

Fortunately, the iOS and Android operating systems for phones and tablets invented in the US are the most widely used in the world, and the US has set the standards for ebook formats too. Consequently, English-speaking customers abroad can buy ebooks on Amazon or Apple and read them via the Amazon ebook-reader app or the Apple iBook reader.

The question is, does this avenue fully penetrate the markets? How many people in in the US have an Amazon account? Let’s face it, only a fraction of the total potential book customers have an account. How many people in Pakistan have an Amazon account?  A much smaller fraction.

Apple is a little different in that its ebook sales are tied in with its app sales, and its app sales are tied to its devices. For Android, the operating system, the book vendors, and the manufacturers are separate business entities and are not necessarily tied together in commerce.

The conclusion is that for Apple, the potential ebook market is theoretically 100% of the device market. For Android the potential ebook market is only a fraction of the device market, probably a small fraction, particularly abroad. Why? There are three businesses involved instead of one. Yet, even for Apple, the ebook system (catalog) is separate from the app system (catalog).

Therefore, my conclusion is that ebooks are distinctly separate from digital books that are in an app format. Apps are tied to devices much more tightly, and book apps have larger potential sales worldwide than books in an ebook format.

The startling news for BAIPA members is that digital books have expanded the market for books in English by 300%. The even more startling news is that to reach the expanded market is much easier and less expensive than the traditional way (for printed books). Indeed, it’s feasible for very small publishers. And the even more-than-that startling news is that independent publishers have a huge advantage over traditional publishers.

What’s the advantage? Books in an app format typically sell for less, and traditional publishers cannot sell books so cheaply; think of all that corporate overhead.

I see the future for books is as book apps, not ebooks. Although there are many reasons for this beyond the demographics, the demographics are compelling. Everyone with a smart phone has instant access to apps and knows how to buy and use apps. Not every smart phone user has instant access to ebooks or can afford them.

So we’ve seen the demographics on English speakers. Let’s look at the cell phone demographics. According to industry estimates five billion people now have cell phones. Whaaat? Astounding! About one billion of those are smart phones. In four years, there will be five billion smart phone users. Combine the English-speaker demographics with the estimates on the numbers of phone users and you’re staring at a rising tsunami of English-language publishing opportunities beyond the imagination. You are the deer staring into the headlights.

Are you ready?


©2014 Joseph T. Sinclair. All rights reserved.

Gordon Burgett — Three Appearances Coming Up

Gordon Burgett Presents Workshop at SRJC
Gordon Burgett, BAIPA member, will present a four-hour workshop, “Creating Travel Articles and Video Tours That Sell,” at Santa Rosa Junior College campus (1520 Emeritus Hall) on Saturday, Feb. 1, from 1-5 p.m. Call (707) 522-2731 for registration.
Additional information is in the catalog available at
Gordon Burgett, BAIPA member, will speak six times at the SF Writer’s Conference at the InterContinental Mark Hopkins Hotel in mid-February. Contact for conference details, registration, and presentation locations.
On Saturday (2/15) from 5-6:30 Burgett is a pro at four “Ask the Pros” sessions. Gordon will offer “Get Your Book Published Free in Minutes and Marketed Worldwide in Days” twice, on Sunday (2/16) for 45 minutes and on Monday from 2-5 p.m. He will also offer “How to Sell Almost 100% of Your Nonfiction Writing” on Sunday for 45 minutes and on Monday from 9-noon. Burgett will also participate in a panel discussion from 4:30-5:15 on Thursday (2/13) about “Building Credibility.”
Gordon Burgett Presents Workshop at Foothill College
Gordon Burgett, BAIPA member, will present a four-hour workshop, “Publish Your Own Book Free with Nine Different Publishers!” at Foothill C.C., on campus, on Wednesday, March 12, from 6-10 p.m. Call (408) 864-8817 for registration and specific details.
Additional information is in the catalog available at