Monday, January 25, 2010

Be a Joiner - The Value of Professional Organizations

When I was young and really dumb, I thought I knew everything. Boy, have I ever learned otherwise. In fact, the more I learn, the more I realize just how little I know.  As I get older I have learned to save time, effort and energy by learning from individuals who have more experience and knowledge about what it is I want or need to learn about.

In my other life, my real job is that of teacher and basketball coach. I have attended my share of conventions and professional gatherings.  Some were an absolute waste of my time and others were invaluable.  Over the years, I have learned which are worth attending and those that are not.  When an opportunity to attend a conference of convention arises, I don't just sign-up to attend, I investigate the organization hosting the event and the individuals who will be presenting.

Some of the professional organizations I belong to have poor conferences and conventions for their members but offer great liability insurance for coaches, have excellent and valuable newsletters and offer great networking opportunities. I particularly value the latter because I can seek out and meet individuals who can serve as mentors for me.

Now that I have entered the world of publishing and in the not to distant future can declare myself both author and publisher, I have been considering joining a professional association in order to further my professional education as an author and self-publisher.

There are several existing associations that would serve the purposes I seek from such organizations and one brand new one.  The first of these groups is the Independent Book Publishers Association or IBPA. Two other groups are the Small Publishers Association of North America or SPAN and the Small Publishers, Artists and Writers Network or SPAWN. The newest professional association I have found is the Independent Self-Publishers Alliance or ISPA.

I will provide a brief overview of each of these organizations in future blog posts.