The Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA), which serves independent authors and small publishers, has named Susan Neal as its new director. Neal, who replaces outgoing director Sarah Bolme, is the self-published author of 7 Steps to Get Off Sugar and Carbohydrates—a bestseller on Amazon.

In her new role, Neal plans to add new benefits to CIPA's membership program, including monthly mastermind groups and bi-monthly take-action workshops aimed at helping self-published authors and small publishers succeed. These will take place virtually via Zoom until it is safe to hold in-person events. Additionally, CIPA will get a new weekly blog, an online membership platform (which will include reference guides, checklists, discounts on outside resources, courses, bi-monthly live webinars, and monthly newsletters), and a new website (the URL will remain the same— starting this month.

The changes in place for CIPA are part of a plan “to teach CIPA members the marketing tricks of the trade to sell more books,” says Neal, who believes more authors than ever will take the self-publishing route this year.

“The traditional route has already become more difficult to break into because some publishers have decreased the number of books that they are publishing in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19,” she says. “Some book’s publication dates have moved to a later time as well, so the number of publication slots have decreased.”