Though they have been associated with the Independent Book Publishers Association for widely different lengths of time, Angela Bole and Terry Nathan have proven to be an especially effective team for moving the cause of indie publishers and self-published authors forward. Nathan has been involved with the association his mother, Jan, founded since 1992, while Bole has been CEO for six years, after serving in a number of industry positions, including that of deputy executive director of Book Industry Study Group.
When Nathan joined what was then known as the Publishers Marketing Association, it had about 900 members. Membership peaked at 4,400 in the mid-aughts, dropped to under 3,000 after the Great Recession, and has now stabilized at around 3,200. “Terry is like a silver bullet for independent publishers,” Bole says. “His knowledge of the market makes him a great resource for indie publishers to tap into.”
For his part, Nathan appreciates what Bole has brought to IBPA. “Angela is a great leader,” he says. “I am constantly amazed at how much we accomplish with our limited staff and resources, and that is in large part due to her leadership.”
The explosion in digital publishing has brought tremendous change to the indie publishing and self-publishing market since Bole took over, and Brooke Warner, publisher of She Writes Press and SparkPress and current chair of IBPA’s board of directors, credits Bole with helping the association to adapt. “Angela holds a vision for this association that’s allowed it to grow, become more inclusive, and also, importantly, never to lose sight of what IBPA is and has always been: an association for independent publishers of all types,” Warner says. Among the biggest changes in the indie world is the growth in the number of hybrid publishers, and Bole oversaw the creation in 2018 of the Hybrid Publisher Criteria, an effort to put in place criteria that companies must meet to be considered true hybrid publishers, not just service providers.
Another of Bole’s major accomplishments during her tenure has been to give the IBPA a higher profile within the industry and a stronger voice on issues that impact the indie publishing community. Bole’s ability to speak out on issues is due in part to the creation of an advocacy committee in 2016 that identifies important areas for its members and adopts policy positions.
Warner points to Bole’s part in championing the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement (CASE) Act currently working its way through Congress, which would create an administrative tribunal within the U.S. Copyright Office to handle small copyright infringement cases, as an example her advocacy role. “At the heart of Angela’s advocacy is true compassion for publishers—a desire to see them thrive and succeed in this often chaotic publishing landscape that we are all a part of,” Warner says. “IBPA is lucky to have her, and so are indie publishers.”