Foreword Reviews

Publisher's Note: Indie Books Matter

Happy New Year!

My holidays were spent catching up on a lot of reading. In our twenty-four hour, back and forth drive to Southwest Florida—to see both sides of our family—I got through a seven week pile of the The New Yorker, two months of* Outside* Magazine, and dozens of online business articles I had put aside for more-focused reading. That, and four fun beach books.

Right now, I’m in the middle of Blue Ocean Strategy—a recommendation from a speaker at my Vistage group meeting last month. Yes, I’m a little late to the table on this 3.5 million copy bestseller (Harvard Business Review Press, 2015, 978-1-62527-449-6), but the ruckus-making introduction intrigued me with the suggestion that we should strive to develop value innovation as opposed to simply trying to be better than our competition. The example they refer to is Cirque du Soleil, whose success didn’t come from stealing customers from the old-school Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey. Instead, Cirque du Soleil reinvented the circus by creating a whole new entertainment experience.

As I look back on our first twenty years in business, it occurs to me that we’ve accidentally followed much the same path. At Foreword, we created a new way for librarians and booksellers to access indie published books. In a digital world, we still publish a print version, and we even pay extra for high-quality paper and cover stock. We know these touches matter to our readers.

We also do our best to provide indie publishers with affordable advertising opportunities in a beautiful setting. We insist on lengthy reviews as opposed to book summaries because our readers (and syndication clients) tell us that’s what they prefer. Our showcase of self-published books at trade shows and Clarion fee-for-review service matter to a great many authors who are sidelined by the trade. And our INDIES awards program celebrates stellar indie-published books.

It’s no accident we’re still here. Indie presses ROCK and continue to provide some of the most thought-provoking content in the book industry. In 1998, we launched to focus exclusively on their efforts. In order to keep growing for another twenty years, I’m looking forward to the counterintuitive guidance Blue Ocean Strategy is sending my way.

Here’s a couple reminders for the New Year:

  • Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards recognize excellence in 65 categories. Winners are chosen by our readers: booksellers and librarians. Submit your 2017 titles for consideration here by January 15.

  • Travel with Foreword: we’ll be attending twice as many library shows this year, including PLA in March and regionals throughout the spring and fall in Texas, New Jersey, Florida, New York and California. We will also showcase your titles at our stand starting next month at Midwinter ALA in Denver. Contact Ilyssa or Stacy today to talk about most effective reach with ads in the magazines distributed or book display options.

  • Submissions for our LGBTQ+ special section and May/June issue are now being considered for review. The special sections are distributed at the shows but also sent to our subscribers and included in the RED boxes for ABA members. Send your advance copies to Michelle Schingler, managing editor.

  • Ocean shipping deadlines for Bologna Children’s Book Fair are the end of this month. If you want to be a part of the largest rights event for kids, we’re offering $25 off the display rate of $215 for registering early. We have limited space at this show, so act now.

Victoria Sutherland

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