IBPA Member Spotlight: Open Road Press
Thursday, June 21, 2018
Posted by: Caitlin Walker
Tim Bishop of IBPA Member Organization Open Road Press is Interviewed on Revealing the Truth
| Tim Bishop of Open Road Press (right) discusses Wheels of Wisdom with Rabbi Eric Walker.
Revealing the Truth is a live daily televised program that covers The Headlines, The Heartlines, & Biblical Truth through the Igniting a Nation Broadcasting Network. Recently, Tim Bishop was invited to the show to discuss Open Road Press' title Wheels of Wisdom with Rabbi Eric Walker. Tim discussed his faith, his marriage to wife Debbie, and how a shared passion for cycling brought them together.
"A lot of the content [in Wheels of Wisdom] is inspired by our bicycle journeys. We do a lot of journaling when we're on the road and that captures a lot of the special moments and kind of memorializes the events." In the interview, Tim shares how the couple also made blog posts as they traveled, then re-engineered them into the book. The title contains 50 stories, lessons, encounters, and their experience of faith and partnership.
Two Are Better
|Debbie Bishop rides across the country during the cycling trip that inspired the couple's book WHEELS OF WISDOM.
Tim and Debbie Bishop founded Open Road Press in 2012 after the completion of their debut title Two Are Better: Midlife Newlyweds Bicycle Coast to Coast.
"Debbie and I had gone through midlife metamorphosis and had a story we needed to share," explains Tim. "What better way than through a book, which is such a powerful medium for touching people with depth and meaning?"
The two ultimately decided to invest their time and resources into creating their own press, rather than submitting to a large publishing house. They knew their book would go forward, and the full control that indie publishing offered allowed them to tell their story authentically and without compromise.
Since then, Wheels of Wisdom has been honored by book awards programs six times. In addition, Publishers Weekly's BookLife chose it for a free review shortly before its 2016 release. "Each of these breakthroughs led us to invest in more marketing for this title rather than allowing it to sail unattended and hoping it would find its own way," says Tim.
This year, Open Road Press has been focusing on marketing, and the Bishops are stepping out of their comfort zone to publicize both their press and their books. "Neither Debbie nor I consider ourselves naturals when it comes to these unique skills," Tim explains. "However, the experience has been beneficial in terms of learning about how the industry works and growing professionally and personally." In spite of the challenges, they're committed to publishing quality over quantity and have decided that, for now, they want to focus on their current titles to avoid spreading themselves too thin.
Five Questions for Tim Bishop
IBPA: What was it like co-writing your book?
TB: Co-writing was not difficult at all. I performed an editorial role over all content before our outside editors weighed in, and Debbie was happy to defer. Much of our content was born as we toured by bicycle with an outpouring of inspiration. I think the dual perspective in our books gives us an unfair advantage. We're able to appeal to a broader set of readers and also share some important relational dynamics.
IBPA: In one sentence, can you describe the mission of your press?
TB: Open Road Press is committed to excellence in publishing unique and uplifting works on love, life, and bicycling.
IBPA: Two Are Better shares the story of Debbie and your cycling adventures as newlyweds. It has been called inspiring and heartwarming. What do you hope readers take away from these lessons?
TB: I still have to pinch myself from time to time, because I could never have fathomed how God would answer our prayers for companionship. Debbie and I had been single our entire lives when we married one another at age 52. Our coming together converged with a time of separation for me - from a long-term career in corporate finance, from Maine where I lived most of my life, and from a lifestyle that had become so rote and stale that only change could rescue me from it. At the same time, Debbie was progressing through recovery from addictions, and our new life propelled her to greater freedom. So, Two Are Better is definitely a feel-good story. We bring readers a testimony of answered prayer - and a strong dose of hope and encouragement. It's never too late for your dreams to come true. Change is your friend. And trust in your desire for a better future - and in a God who can deliver you to it!
IBPA: What has been the most challenging part of being an indie publisher?
TB: It's so difficult to get noticed. For example, Amazon's electronic platform offers great potential for discoverability, but its model favors books with lots of reviews. With our latest project, I've been astounded by how difficult it has been to obtain reviews. I feel like the brilliant young graduate who can't find a job for lack of experience. The quality of new books coming to market is outpacing the number of people willing to review them. Giving away books to encourage reviews no longer works like it once did. We live in a time when the consumer not only wants something for nothing but expects it.
I think Indies are dealing with a great irony. The marketplace is so crowded with content - some of it worthy and much of it substandard. The very do-it-yourself model that allowed us the freedom to innovate and access to market is losing us in a crowd without turnstiles and cordons.
IBPA: That rings true for a lot of indie publishers - hence the careful focus on marketing. Finally, do you have advice for our new-to-indie-publishing IBPA members?
TB: Yes. Come into this arena with your eyes wide open. There are tools to help you produce quality books and launch them to market but selling your product will not be as easy. The industry continues to change at breakneck speed, burgeoning with new content while the number of people who read books may well be shrinking. Machines have replaced humans, making this operating environment challenging for those who lack experience and know-how. Thankfully, an organization like IBPA adds substantial value to the small publisher with education and cooperative marketing programs that enable us to navigate [indie publishing] more successfully.
Thank you for sharing with us, Tim!
Click here to learn more about Open Road Press.