Below is a research paper on BAIPA that I completed for a Berkeley City College class.
Bay Area Independent Publishers Association
In a YouTube video, Fantagraphics Co-founder Gary Groth said that self-publishing comics was first viable in the mid-80’s. He specifically mentions Ninja Turtles coming to public attention via self-publishing. (Archive)
Around the same time, book (Murdock) authors also wanted to put their creations out in the world independently. The Marin Self-Publishers Association achieved its federal non-profit status in 1982 according to long time member and current Treasurer Val Scherer. The pamphlet, You CAN Get Here from There, gives a brief history of MSPA. its purpose is to become the best and most comprehensive source of self-publishing information in the United States and to develop additional knowledge and expertise to better assist members in promoting and marketing as well as publishing their works. (Murdock)
In the late 1990’s the name became Bay Area Independent Publishers Association. When I began writing this paper, it had 164 members. Since then, thanks to a successful membership drive featuring reduced membership cost, twenty new members joined.
I often say that my roommate Marilyn does everything first. In this case, it was her friend who wrote a novel and wanted to self-publish it. She told Marilyn about BAIPA. Neither of us can remember how long ago that was. We have been attending the once-monthly meeting, either in person in Novato or on ZOOM ever since. For a very long time, most of what was said went over my head. Nevertheless, each time I would learn something, or I’d admire the way a member did something.
For example, member Arlene Miller has self-published books about grammar. In her elevator speech, she calls herself “The Grammar Diva.” It’s catchy and fun. It gives grammar sparkle. And today, it motivated me to discover on the BAIPA site the twelve books she has self-published. (Miller and Miller). Arlene moved to Florida and, thanks to ZOOM, she still can participate
Nita Winter and Rob Badger made the book of their dreams, a gorgeous, oversized book, Beauty and the Beast: California Wildflowers and Climate Change. (Nita Winter). It is filled with radiant color photograhs and essays by sixteen established writers and scientists. It won The Benjamin Franklin Award in 2020 in Nature and the Environment from the Independent Book Publishers Association, a highly respected award since 1985. The purpose of the awards is to recognize excellence and innovation in independent publishing. It is only one of twelve awards given the book including the Sierra Club’s Ansel Adams Award for Conservation Photography, and the National Outdoor Book Award for Design and Artistic Merit. Nita and Rob’s partnership of writer and photographer exemplify for me skill, courage, and determination. They provide an excellent author’s website (Badger) and support marketing their book with partners like the California Native Plant Society.
BAIPA President Becky Parker Geist whose company Pro-Audio Voices creates audio books, said that one thing that impressed her about BAIPA is how willing, even eager, members are to help each other. I reached out to members for reports of help they received from other members.
In the December meeting chat Arlene Miller, The Grammar Diva, immediately replied, “I have been a member for a long time. David Kudler was able to combine three separate e-books into one volume when no one else could. I am sure I can also think of other instances.” (Miller, December 2021 Meeting Chat)
The path from three separate books to one Print-on-Demand volume involved help from several BAIPA members. At first Arlene wanted to do a boxed set. That format isn’t available in Print-on-Demand. Arlene had to combine the three books into one. Her long-time page designer had the three separate eBooks but was unable to combine them. Ruth Schwartz, a BAIPA Board Member who styles herself “a book midwife” since she helps members move from finished manuscript to published book, referred Arlene to someone in India. That person could not do it either. For a reasonable fee, David Kudler did it quickly and well.
The combined book is The Best Little Grammar Collection Ever (Miller, The Best Little Grammar Coillection Ever). The Best Little Grammar Book Ever (Miller, The Best Little Grammas Book Ever), The Best Little Grammar Workbook Ever (Miller, The Best Little Grammar Workbook Ever), and Does Your Flamingo Flamenco (Miller, Does Your Flamingo Flemenco? The Best Little Dictionary of Confusing Words and Malapropisms) offered in this one volume provide an excellent grammar reference.
In addition, the late Lee Foster introduced Arlene to a woman from China at a BAIPA meeting because he thought she might want to have her first book translated into Chinese. It was translated into Chnese and appears for sale on Amazon.
Even more, the late Joel Friedlander, described by Arlene as “the self-publishing guru,” recommended a cover designer who designed nearly all of her covers. (Miller, Arlene. “Re: Few Questions from Aikya,” December 6, 2021)
Member Lenore Hirsch replied by email, “Someone in BAIPA referred me to edit cetera for copy editing. I also used the member bios to search for help on my latest project.” (Hirsch) Lenore does dog training and has self-published both fiction and nonfiction books which she presents on her author website, including My Leash on Life: Foxy’s View of the World from a Foot Off the Ground (Hirsch, My Leash on Life: Foxy’s View of the World from a Foot off the Ground), Schooled: Confessions of a Rookie Vice Principal (Hirsch, Schooled: Confessions of a Rookie Vice Principal), and her poetry book, Leavings (Hirsch, Leavings).
Nita Winter, photographer extraordinaire for Beauty and the Beast, mentioned above, emailed that Becky Parker Geist advised Nita and Rob about creating an audiobook version of their book for the visually impaired. Becky also helped them create a budget. Once the needed money is raised, they will work together with Becky’s company, Pro-Audio Voices, to create it.
BAIPA is one of 19 regional publishers’ association members of Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA). Here is an updated list of all its members.
- AuthorYOU, Aurora, Colo.
- Bay Area Independent Publishers Association (BAIPA), San Rafael, Calif.
- Colorado Independent Publishers Association, Lakewood, Colo.
- Connecticut Authors and Publishers Association, Avon, Conn.
- Florida Authors and Publishers Association, Fort Meyers, Fla.
- Greater New York Independent Publishers Association, Bronx, N.Y.
- Hawaii Book Publishers Association, Honolulu, Hawaii
- Independent Publishers of New England, Arlington, Mass.
- Midwest Independent Publishers Association, Minneapolis, Minn.
- Minnesota Book Publishers Roundtable, Minneapolis, Minn.
- New Mexico Book Association, Santa Fe, N.M.
- Northern California Publishers and Authors, Elk Grove, Calif.
- Publishers and Writers of San Diego (PWSD), Encinitas, Calif.
- Publishers Association of Los Angeles, Los Angeles, Calif.
- St. Louis Publishers Association, Creve Coeur, Mo.
- Upper Peninsula Publishers and Authors Association (UPPAA), Marquette, Mich.
- Writers and Publishers Network, Ojai, Calif.
- Writers Resource Center, Fairfield, Calif.
(a.k.a. Writer’s Resource Center of Solano County helps to develop authors and also acts as a publishing house.)
I close with a quotation from the initial pamphlet with which I began. Truly BAIPA maintains the character described in its initial program flyer:
[BAIPA] is an extremely fluid entity. People join, get what they need (or find they don’t want to self-publish after all) and drop out. Others stay and, with the remaining charter members, form the solid core of the organization. Membership is a kaleidoscope of presses and personalities, constantly changing form and shape but always presenting a bright and vital picture of self-publishing. (Murdock, You CAN Get Here from There, p. 21)
Archive, The Comic. “Gary Groth Talks Self Publishing in the 80’s.” Gary Groth Talks Self Publishing in the 80’s. The Comic Archive, 27 03 2015. YouTube. 7 11 2021.
Badger, Nita Winter and Rob Badger. n.d. December 2021.
Hirsch, Lenore. email to Aikya Param, 12/04/2021. Napa, n.d.
- Leavings. Vol. 106. Napa: Laughing Oak, 2018.
- My Leash on Life: Foxy’s View of the World from a Foot off the Ground. Napa: Laughing Oak, 2013.
- Schooled: Confessions of a Rookie Vice Principal. Napa: Laughing Oak, 2021.
Miller, Arlene and Arlene Miller. Member Profile, The Grammar Diva, Arlene Miller. 2021. MakeChico.com. 3 December 2021. <>.
Miller, Arlene. “December 2021 Meeting Chat.” Bay Area Independent Publishing Association. Prod. Ruth Schwartz. Sausalito, 2021.
- Does Your Flamingo Flemenco? The Best Little Dictionary of Confusing Words and Malapropisms. Petaluma: Big Words 101, 2017.
- The Best Little Grammar Coillection Ever. Petaluma: Big Words 101, 2018.
- The Best Little Grammar Workbook Ever. Petaluma: Big Words 101, 2016.
- The Best Little Grammas Book Ever. Petaluma: Bib Words 101, 2010.
Murdock, Jayne May. “You CAN Get Here from There, p. 21.” Ross: May-Murdock Publications for Marin Self-Publishing Association, June 1986.
- “You CAN Get Here from There: Brief History of MSPA.” Ross, California: May-Murdock Publications, 1986. pamphlet.
Nita Winter, Rob Badger. Beauty and the Beast: California Wildflowers and Climate Change. Sausalito, CA: Winter Badger Collection, 2020.
“Regional Publishers Associations.” 2021. IBPA-online.org. 11 12 2021. <>.
Writer’s Resource Center of Solano County California. n.d. December 2021.