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Indie Picks comes to Sugar Grove

SUGAR GROVE – A new magazine that will focus on independent imprints, small and medium press, nontraditionally published authors and indie studio films and music will publish its first issue later this fall.

Its business operations have already arrived in Sugar Grove.

“We’re coming out in November and basically we are reviewing independent self-published books,” said Naomi Blackburn, president and CEO of Indie Prints.

“These are books from your small and medium-house publishers, the ones that have a hard time getting reviews because they are only focused on the big five publishers and have 80,000 books coming every year.”

Librarians, including many who have won awards throughout their careers, will conduct reviews. That includes Robin Bradford, the 2016 Romance Writers of America Cathie Linz Librarian of the Year, and Becky Stratford, who has collected numerous horror writing awards during her career, among others.

“Our target audience is primarily librarians and patrons,” Blackburn said. “There will be opportunities for patrons to read the magazine at the library as well as independent bookstores. Shelves are limited so this will provide an opportunity for them to make informed decisions on what indies to bring into their library or their store.”

Blackburn chose Sugar Grove as the Indie Prints headquarters because of its convenient location. While she resides in Corpus Christi, Texas, she maintains a home in Burlington, Ill., as well. Erin Matty, the vice president of operations, already lives in Sugar Grove and most of the work on the magazine can be done remotely.

“Since we’re brand new, we’re really heavy into marketing right now,” Blackburn said. “Libraries have never had anything like this in the past for this group of authors and publishers, so it opens a whole new world for them. It doesn’t level the playing field, but it at least brings this special niche of writers and publishers onto the field.”

As one could imagine, it’s an extremely busy time for Blackburn and Matty as they try to finish the company website and get their first issue ready to publish by November. Adding additional staff, which Matty said they plan on doing, will certainly help.

“Eventually we will hire more people right here in Sugar Grove,” she said.

“Our website isn’t fully functional yet, but we’re working on getting that completed, but our sales are up and being a startup company we’re working toward completing that first edition.”

Their hope is to get subscriptions from all of the area libraries, especially Sugar Grove since that’s where Indie Picks now calls home.

“We’re looking at all the Kane County libraries,” Blackburn said. “We got our first subscription from this area, from St. Charles, which was exciting. I love this area. I actually resided in this area for 25 years before moving to Corpus Christi, so I do love this area and am happy to have the business headquarters in Illinois.”

So far, positive word is spreading.

“The reception has been superb,” Blackburn said. “When you have libraries say that they believe in your product and are going to subscribe, it’s means so much to me. It’s humbling.”

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