“Why should I spend my money to be part of a group?” This was the response I received when I asked my friend if she was planning on joining a professional organization that I belonged to. Sadly, many individuals hold this sentiment, seeing membership fees for professional associations as a waste of money.
Professional associations exist for just about any industry. Associations are formed for the purpose of collaborating and learning from one another with the idea that helping each other provides better results than each person doing it all alone.
When you join a professional association, you receive great benefits. However, it is up to each individual to take advantage of the benefits offered. If you are an independent author or small publisher, you can reap these four benefits from joining an association.
1. Gain respect in the book industry.
Professional organizations hold their members to a standard of conduct. Membership in a professional association says, “I am serious about my vocation.”
Don’t you prefer to go to a doctor who is a member of the American Medical Association (AMA)? Knowing that your doctor belongs to a professional organization makes you feel more secure that she is serious about learning and knowing the latest medical techniques.
Membership in a professional association brings you the same professional respect in the book industry.
In the Christian marketplace, name recognition for creditability purposes is an important reason to join a Christian publishers association. Christian retailers gain confidence in a new author’s and publisher’s products when they know that the author or publisher is a member of a Christian organization in the industry.
Book reviews are an essential ingredient in promoting a new title. Membership in a publishing association lends you credibility with book review sources. One example of this is The Midwest Book Review. This review source specializes in reviewing titles from small publishers, self-publishers, academic publishers, and specialty presses. However, they give priority consideration to those titles from authors and publishers who belong to a publishing association—this includes those who belong to Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA).
2. Receive cutting-edge information.
There is a Chinese Proverb that says, “Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere.” The more you learn the better you become.
Publishing associations provide their members with some form of regular communication—usually a newsletter, conference, or webinar. These services keep members learning and growing as an author and publisher. And that is especially important for independent authors and small publishers.
The information gleaned from belonging to a publishing association can improve your writing, publishing, and book marketing efforts bringing you more success in your endeavors. Knowing what is currently working for other authors and publishers helps you learn what to do to sell more copies of your books.
3. Find new opportunities.
Publishing associations provide opportunities to network with other authors and small publishers. Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) offers its members mastermind groups where they can learn from each other and a closed Facebook Group for networking. Networking leads to all sorts of doors opening through collaborations.
An association will also provide resources to enlarge your marketing and publishing efforts. Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) provides its members with a list of over 100 radio and podcast outlets that interview authors. That’s a large number of opportunities for CIPA members to secure media coverage to enlarge their audience and draw attention to their books.
4. Save money.
Joining a publishing association costs money, but in the long run it can save you money. If you take advantage of the many membership benefits an association offers, you will save money.
For example, members of Christian Indie Publishing Association receive free title setup and revisions when using IngramSpark. Publishing two books in one year with IngramSpark costs more than an annual membership in CIPA. By becoming a member of CIPA, you get a two for one deal—membership plus free title setups with IngramSpark.
If you are not a member of Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA), I encourage you to join and start reaping these great benefits. When you do, you will be taking a step toward success with your book publishing and book marketing efforts.
If you are already a member of CIPA, then I encourage you to start taking advantage of the numerous benefits this association offers. In a recent survey of CIPA members, a number of members remarked that they had either forgotten or did not realize how many benefits they could use on a regular basis to help them in their publishing and book marketing efforts.
About the Author:
Sarah Bolme is the co-founder and former Director of Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA). She is also the author of the award-winning book Your Guide to Marketing Christian Books.
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