On January 1, 2013 Brian Jud assumed the position of Executive Director of SPAN, The Small Publishers Association of North America. With the help of previous Executive Director Brad Flora and a new Board of Directors, Jud is making some major changes, not the least of which is changing the name and direction of the association. As if June 1, 2013 SPAN will formally be known as The Association of Publishers for Special Sales (APSS).
This new direction parallels the evolving nature of the book-publishing industry. The story of this evolution has its roots in COSMEP, an organization of self-published authors that was functional through the early 1990s. This was the time in which book marketing on the Internet was in its infancy and Amazon.com was a concept in the mind of Jeff Bezos.
As an early response to the industry’s transformation, Marilyn and Tom Ross acquired COSMEP and morphed it into the Small Publishers Association of North America, or SPAN. Marilyn and Tom made several major improvements, including a monthly newsletter and an annual conference. In 2003, Scott Flora acquired SPAN from Marilyn and Tom and took over as the Executive Director. He continued the SPAN Connections newsletter and held several annual conferences around the United States. Scott divided SPAN into two parts. The first was SPANpro, a paid-membership association with a package of benefits to help its members become more successful authors or publishers. The second part was SPANnet, a free, active, enthusiastic online community of authors and publishers sharing their knowledge and experiences on writing, marketing, book production, and selling books, as well as many other skills vital to business success
At the end of 2010, after seven and a half years, Scott stepped down as SPAN’s Executive Director. Brad Poulson served as SPAN’s Executive Director through 2011 and Bradley Flora, manager of the Spannet online community, served as SPAN’s leader throughout 2012.
On January 1, 2013, Jud assumed the helm at SPAN as Executive Director. He realized that there was not enough room in the arena of independent publishing for another association to help publishers market their books through bookstores, whether bricks or clicks. IBPA, AAP, PubWest and myriad local publishers’ groups were more than adequately serving their members who wanted to sell through bookstores.
In addition, the needs of independent publishers are at another turning point. With hundreds of thousands of new titles published every year, the competition for a profitable share of consumers’ minds and wallets was intense. It became apparent that there was an opportunity for independent publishers to increase their sales, revenue and profits selling their content to non-bookstore buyers.
With this vision in mind, Jud relied on two major facets of his experience. First was his experience selling books in non-traditional ways. As a published author, he grew his revenue over 20 years by selling his content in special-sales markets. He is the author of Beyond the Bookstore (a Publishers Weekly® title published by Reed Press) and How to Make Real Money Selling Books (without worrying bout returns), published by Square One Publishers. Brian also formed a consulting company (Book Marketing Works, LLC) to help publishers sell in non-traditional ways.
But the experience that prepared him most to take the helm at SPAN was the fact that he founded the Connecticut Authors and Publishers Association (CAPA) in 1994 (www.aboutcapa.com). Brian maneuvered this organization through its early years as its president. Over the last 20 years it has proven to be a thriving organization with almost 300 members.
Armed with the combination of changing needs and unique experience, Jud formed a vision of an association different from those currently in place, one that could help its members make the transition from the book publishing industry to the book-selling industry. He would change the direction of SPAN from an association that assisted its members in selling through bookstores to one that would lead the charge to selling books to non-bookstore buyers in special-sales markets. Thus, the Association of Publishers for Special Sales was formed.
The APSS mission is to become known as the premier source of information, education and help for publishers of high-quality content published in printed, electronic or audio form for sale to consumers, non-bookstore retailers and non-retail buyers. APSS intends to become the respected brand-name entity that provides high quality, functional and innovative sales and marketing resources that enhance content producers’ efforts to grow their businesses profitably.
With this mission firmly in place, Jud began to make the transition from SPAN to APSS. He nominated new people to the SPAN Board of Directors. Joining Scott Flora (Board President) and Brian Jud on the Board were Guy Achtzehn (experienced in the promotional-products industry), Cevin Bryerman (Publisher, Publishers Weekly), Bob Erdmann (foreign-rights consultant), Tonya Evans (author and legal consultant), Eric Kampmann (President Midpoint Trade Books) and Rudy Shur (Square One Publishers). Cevin, Bob and Rudy are previous members of the IBPA Board of Directors, too. They were approved at the February 18, 2013 Board Meeting.
Upon this foundation of book-marketing knowledge and experience, SPAN began to reverse its membership decline during the first quarter of 2013. As of June 1, 2013 SPAN will formally be known as The Association of Publishers for Special Sales (APSS, pronounced apps). Armed with a new Board, many volunteers, a vision for success and a youthful vitality, APSS will help its members become more profitable publishers by selling their books to special, non-bookstore buyers.
Most of the existing marketing and educational programs will continue, but with the emphasis on special sales. For example, APSS will continue its program of co-op mailing programs, but the recipients will be non-bookstore buyers instead of bookstores and libraries.
In addition, APSS remains the host of the series of Book Marketing Matters bi-weekly, 90-minute webinars on topics to help members sell their books in large, non-returnable quantities. Brian Jud is the producer and host of these webinars and brings in guest speakers on specific topics such as social networking, ecommerce, ISBNs, metadata, personal networking, cover design, and publicity. Brian conducts webinars on book-marketing topics.
Reinstated are a monthly newsletter (The Sales Informer) and an annual conference to be held in Philadelphia on November 9, 2013. Both will address topics to help publishers sell their content to non-traditional buyers, both retail and non-retail.
Furthermore, APSS is working with industry suppliers to offer members discounts on printing, shipping, promotional products, website development and staffed tradeshow exhibits. A new emphasis on marketing ebooks lead to discounts on ebook conversion, awards and distribution. An agreement with Pubmatch.com gives SPAN members access to publishers and agents seeking mew material. And APSS members are eligible to discounted distribution to buyers in corporations, associations and schools.
Examples of benefits that are still being developed are access to distribution to non-bookstore retailers, media training, educational programs, a speakers bureau, special-sales marketing assistance, cooperative email blasts and one-on-one coaching for selling to non-bookstore buyers.
Publishers know there is always much to learn in the fast-changing book-selling industry. APSS is a dynamic, growing organization dedicated to the success of our members. APSS will continue to deliver on SPAN’s promise to provide members with benefits that will help them sell more books, make more money, and raise their standing as experts in their field.