By Sean Curley
IPAL is the Independently Published Author’s List within the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers organization. Similar to PAL (the Published Author’s List), it is meant to be a cohesive group of people who have successfully published at least one book independently. As we all know, the publishing industry has changed a great deal in the last decade. At the forefront of this change is the ability to publish a book independently. This has brought both challenges and incredible opportunity. On the one hand, anyone (and I do mean anyone) can now publish a book without thought of quality or professionalism. On the other hand, we have access to an incredible diversity of writing that may never have made it to print (in the all-inclusive meaning) otherwise.
The organization was created through a collaboration of RMFW members who debated and defined the various entrance criteria (see below). Membership is permanent as long as the individual maintains membership in RMFW.
In order to become a member of IPAL, the author must:
- be a RMFW member in good standing
- have independently published at least one novel-length book of fiction, or equivalent in fictional short stories
- The book(s) must have obtain at least $250 of income for both print and digital versions
- Send a request to firstname.lastname@example.org and provide a website or location where the book can be confirmed along with statements or evidence of $250 of income
There is no specific time limit on the income for the book(s). Income is defined as monies paid for the purchase of the book, independent of royalties or print costs. Direct sales of books (e.g. at talks or signings) may be included in the sales numbers if those sales are tracked.
There are numerous benefits of being a member of IPAL. These include:
"It's a Book!" Mailer is the quarterly announcement to RMFW members, bookstores and libraries regarding new releases. This is a great promotional tool since the Mailer goes out to hundreds of bookstores in five states. IPAL members are eligible to have their book(s) included in this mailer.
RMFW newsletter is the organization’s newsletter. This is where IPAL members may write articles or promote their books. As a RMFW member, they should already be receiving this newsletter and should be aware of its value.
IPAL link on the RMFW website. The IPAL author’s name will be added to the RMFW IPAL list and optionally linked to their website. These are available from the RMFW web site.
Facebook Page Promotion. The administrators of the RMFW Facebook Page will be happy to push out notices for any and all book signings and similar events for IPAL members. The page has almost 4,000 members, which is a very good reach.
Twitter Announcements. Similar to the Facebook Page, announcements of book signings and events can be pushed out to the RMFW twitter account by sending the needed information to email@example.com.
RMFW IPAL Yahoo! Group Membership: Please send a blank email to: rmfwIPALfirstname.lastname@example.org. This will initiate a request to have you added to the Yahoo! Group. You will be able to send and receive emails to other IPAL members or to the entire group. You can use Yahoo! Group Settings to specify how and how often you would like to receive emails.
Colorado Gold Conference Book Sales. IPAL members have the opportunity to sign and sell books at the fabulous book sale at the Colorado Gold conference. They will also receive an “IPAL Author” tag to wear during the conference to show they are in the ranks of independently published authors.
Neither standard membership nor provisional membership is automatic. The author must contact the IPAL Liaison at email@example.com and provide the needed documentation to be granted membership.
As for myself, I have been a member of RMFW for about four years now and am the current IPAL Liaison. I was ecstatic that the organization decided to include support for independently published authors. My first novel, Propositum, was a five year effort that included taking time to get a master’s degree at DU in creative writing in order to improve my craft. I put a lot of research and effort into producing a professionally written, independently published book and love the opportunity to contribute to the industry and to RMFW through IPAL. I have lived in Golden for the past thirteen years and currently work for Oracle running a software development team. I have four children; three of them (mostly) out of the home now and the fourth in high school.
IPAL currently has about fifteen members with three more currently going through the process (of confirming their entrance criteria) and is growing at a steady rate. For more information or to join, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.