Downtown Phoenix Skyline, photo ©Visit Phoenix

Downtown Phoenix Skyline, photo ©Visit Phoenix

February 2014 BATW Meeting

Lee Foster presents “Traditional vs. Independent Travel Book and Content Publishing”  – plus

Visit Phoenix-sponsored lunch at Buca di Beppo Restaurant in San Francisco

When: Saturday, February 15, 2014, from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Where: Buca di Beppo Restaurant, 855 Howard Street, San Francisco, 415/543-7673. Ample and inexpensive parking is possible nearby at the 5th and Mission Garage.

For Whom: Up to 60 BATW Members, no guests

How: Click here to register. Remember to bring a printout of your reservation confirmation or your smartphone. Contact George Medovoy ( with questions and cancellations.

10 a.m.      Meet and greet
10:30 a.m. Business Meeting and Announcements
10:50 a.m. Doug MacKenzie of VisitPhoenix alerts us to Phoenix in the Spring
11:05 a.m. Lee Foster presents on “Traditional vs. Independent Travel Book and Content Publishing”
11:45 a.m. Your Questions
12:00 p.m. Lunch Begins, Questions Continue
1:30 p.m.   End

[Many thanks to Lee Foster and Visit Phoenix for arranging this fabulous meeting and lunch.]

In more detail:

Doug MacKenzie ( of VisitPhoenix will brief us and pass out literature on what’s new at this favored winter/spring destination just as the spring training baseball season looms. The rise of “CenPho,” as Central Phoenix is affectionately called, includes a sleek light-rail system and a downtown campus for Arizona State University. The Roosevelt Row neighborhood has been called by USA Today one of the “10 Best Neighborhoods That Tourists Haven’t Found Yet.”  Food from two of Phoenix’s celebrity chefs can be enjoyed at the Crescent Ballroom, a mid-size music venue, with a lounge, restaurant, and free live music every night. Arthouse cinema fans will want to check out FilmBar, which offers a repertoire of independent, foreign, and classic films.

Phoenix is proud of the street cred now enjoyed by its noted pizza restaurants, competing with New York and Chicago. Consider the Pizzeria Biano, which a New York Times food critic said was crafting what “might just be the best pizza in the world.” Pomo Pizzeria, La Piazza Locale, and Cibo are other notable pizza establishments.

Urban art, viewable for free, has bloomed in Phoenix, including prominent Latino street artists who have contributed to the Calle 16 mural project and murals in Roosevelt Row. (Bring your business card for the Phoenix folks.)

Lee Foster will give a presentation on “Traditional vs Independent Travel Book and Content Publishing: What’s Best for You?” His talk will try to assist BATW members to make decisions that are both wise and smart about their own publishing futures. Lee works in both traditional and independent trajectories. Lee will examine whether traditional publishing options, such as his recent DK work-for-hire book Back Roads California or his several 15%-of-net-royalty books, such as Northern California History Weekends with Glove Pequot, remain viable options for today and tomorrow.

Given the advances in book manufacturing  (with print-on-demand and ebooks) and the profound changes in book marketing (with “equal-access” Amazon the most viable book seller), Lee will explore whether any option other than “independent” publishing will be viable for the future.

When venturing onto the independent path, Lee will describe some of the nitty-gritty details, such as the need to do print-on-demand books both with Amazon CreateSpace and with Ingram Lightning Source. When publishing ebooks, is it best to go direct with Amazon or with a vendor such as BookBaby that can handle Amazon and a dozen other markets?

Finally, Lee will address whether the concept of a “travel book” is changing. Is your “travel book” actually most viable as a “website presentation,” beyond the other forms, such as print-on-demand, ebook, and app (maybe or maybe not with Sutro)? Lee favors presenting “books” in all viable independent forms, including as a website, as he does with his new independent book Northern California Travel: The Best Options at When your content is available in a robust manner on your website, Lee believes good things can happen. He cites his recent selection by to be their San Francisco Expert, partly because, they said, “we saw all your San Francisco and Northern California travel content up on your website.”

Lee has also licensed hundreds of his articles to the Uniglobe and other travel agency systems. Your content up on your website is now a licensable commodity, above and beyond the various income streams possible from direct presentation of your content to consumers visiting the website.

Buca di Beppo, which translates as “Cellar of Joseph,” won high praise from members for our last Christmas gala. Buca will present an ample family-style lunch (sponsored by VisitPhoenix). Anticipate starter salads, both Caesar and Apple Gorgonzola. The pasta course will be Penne San Remo, with selected veggies. The entree is Chicken Parmigiana (or a vegetarian Eggplant alternative, which can be selected at time of registration). Dessert will be Cannoli. Coffee, tea, and soft drinks are drink options. VisitPhoenix will buy your first glass of the house red or white wine (with a provided drink ticket). This lunch will be a fun socializing time for BATW members.