Seal StandardsChecklist 01To give both authors and book industry professionals an at-a-glance method by which to gauge the professional presentation of a book, the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) – ibpa-online.org – has released a 2-page Industry Standards Checklist for a Professionally Published Book. The checklist is broken into two sections, content and production, and provides an unbiased measure by which to critique published books.

As part of the IBPA Advocacy Committee, Light Messages Senior editor Elizabeth Turnbull helped write the checklist alongside committee chair Brooke Warner of She Writes Press, committee member Karla Olson of Patagonia Books, and Angela Bole, CEO of IBPA. 

"A book should be judged by the quality of the book, not by the business model with which it was published," Elizabeth says. "But with so many books being published each year under a range of models and with a large variance in quality, evaluating all books can seem daunting to professionals. I think this is why so many default to a blanket answer based on the type of publisher. The Industry Standards Checklist for a Professionally Published Book gives an objective way for professionals to evaluate a book."

The standards set by the checklist cover topics such as what must be included as part of a book's interior content, the grammatical standards for a published book, and the design protocol for books.

"The checklist has been established to level the playing field between indie publishers and large-scale conglomerates," said Angela Bole, CEO of IBPA. "Too often, IBPA has noticed a bias against self-published authors, independent publishers, and hybrid presses when it comes to choosing titles or authors for review consideration, book award contests, association memberships, and inclusion on independent bookstore shelves. IBPA’s Industry Checklist for a Professionally Published Book will help industry professionals and independent publishers and authors bridge this gap by offering a structured means by which to ensure that books be judged on merit and quality rather than on the business model used to produce them or the size of the publisher."

Light Messages encourages other industry professionals––including small presses, hybrid presses, author-publishers, bloggers, reviewers, writers groups, and contest organizers––to join us in pledging to reduce unfair bias against independent publishers by adopting the Industry Standards Checklist.

"Just as publishers, self or otherwise, are responsible for producing books that adhere to industry standards, the book industry as a whole is responsible for creating an environment that allows for equal evaluation of all published works," said Brooke Warner, chairperson of IBPA’s Advocacy Committee.

Learn more about the Industry Standards Checklist for a Professionally Published Books and Download the List


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