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Top Reads Publishing Book Named a 2019 Kirkus Reviews Best Indie Nonfiction Title

Thursday, March 5, 2020   (1 Comments)
Posted by: Christopher Locke
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In the left panel, Top Reads Publishing Founder Teri Rider (right) poses with Why Do They Hate Us? Making Peace with the Muslim World author Steve Slocum (left). In the right panel, Why Do They Hate Us? appears as one of the Best Indie Nonfiction books in Kirkus Reviews magazine.

“I was thrilled!” says Top Reads Publishing’s Founder Teri Rider about their book Why Do They Hate Us? Making Peace with the Muslim World by Steve Slocum being named one of Kirkus Reviews’ Best Indie Nonfiction books of 2019. “There are so many great indie publishers right now putting out fabulous books. It’s especially wonderful to be recognized for a book like this that has such a national and global purpose.

Top Reads Publishing's Why Do They Hate Us? Making Peace with the Muslim World by Steve Slocum.

“When I get a manuscript submission from an author, I usually feel an immediate ‘yes’ or ‘no’ inside whether a book is right for my catalog or not. Steve Slocum was referred to me as he was evaluating his publishing options, and I immediately saw his passion and the good that his book would bring to the world if it could reach a broad audience. I love his message of peace and I am so gratified that I am able to help spread that word.”

After Top Reads Publishing submitted the book for a review, they kept getting better and better news back from Kirkus Reviews. “I know that their reviews are honest,” says Teri, “and to get a good one is valuable for marketing both by them through their online and print review magazine, and for all of our marketing and PR efforts as well. When we learned it was also a Starred Review, that was a bonus, and then it went on to be named Best Indie Book of the Month for August, and finally the big surprise of being named one of the Best Indie Books of 2019!”

Teri felt compelled from the beginning to publish a book with a message combating Islamophobia. “Sadly, there are so many opportunities to feature a book on peace when there are news stories almost daily about Islamophobia. The PR representation we had by Leann Garms, founder of BuildBuzzLaunch, brought awareness to the book and many media opportunities for Steve to talk about not only the book but his ideas for how we can have a better understanding of our Muslim brothers and sisters. He continues to be invited to speak and attend World Peace Conventions all around the world.”

Top Reads Publishing's Art for All Ages by Corinne Miller Schaff.

In additional good news, Why Do They Hate Us? Making Peace with the Muslim World, was also selected as one of the Top 10 Books of 2019 by Booklist in their Religion and Spirituality category. “One of the huge benefits of getting this notoriety from both Booklist and Kirkus is that the book is now in library collections all around the country,” Teri explains, “and many brick and mortar stores like Barnes & Noble and Indigo in Canada. The author checks the libraries when he is traveling and loves to tell me when he finds the book listed, many times with multiple copies checked out or with a waiting list!”

Top Reads Publishing has a slate of new books in 2020: Art for All Ages by Corinne Miller Schaff; Bigger Better Braver by Nancy Pickard; Self Belonging by Luann Robinson Hull; and they’ll be re-releasing a book Hull previously self-published, Happily Ever After … Right Now.

Three Questions with Top Reads Publishing Founder Teri Rider

IBPA: Garnering trade reviews is a big help for the visibility of a book. Can you share some tips for other indie publishers on how they can land a trade review?

Teri Rider (TR): Absolutely true! We also received a terrific review from Publishers Weekly, which featured Why Do they Hate Us? in their 2019 Fall Religion & Spirituality Announcements issue. I think it is critically important to pay attention to the trade review issues that feature special topics and categories throughout the year. You can get the editorial calendar at most of their websites. Also, be sure to write compelling descriptions and marketing material, like tip sheets, sell sheets, press releases, and media kits for your books. This shows that you’ve done your homework and also gives you the advantage of being able to target and plan your release dates. If you work with a distributor, make sure they know about all of these achievements so they can integrate this info into their sales plan and support you with marketing and making sure the orders can be fulfilled.

IBPA: Can you list three key lessons you’ve learned about how one can succeed as an independent publisher?

TR: One of the top lessons that I regularly give attention to is that I continue to educate myself and my staff on what is going on in the publishing industry. IBPA has been instrumental in this education process. They have their finger on the pulse of what is most important to indie publishers and they offer information to help us navigate and succeed.

Second lesson learned is to not go it alone. I have found so many supportive people who are willing to offer helpful advice and share resources in this community. It is unlike most other industry groups I’ve ever been associated with. We indie publishers are a very friendly, collaborative group!

And third, I constantly remind myself of how far I’ve come rather than how much more I have to learn. Each year, month, day, I learn a little something new, and I acknowledge myself and my team for our accomplishments with little rewards.

IBPA: How has it been beneficial to you to be a member of Independent Book Publishers Association?

TR: I’m certain I would not be where I am today if it weren’t for IBPA. The first IBPA Publishing University I attended made me feel two main things: overwhelmed and excited! I dove into all the sessions and opportunities I could fit into my schedule, and then made many connections that helped me through the following year. That first year, I won the IBPA Benjamin Franklin Bill Fisher Award for Best First Book by a Publisher, so I definitely encourage everyone to enter books into that competition.

Another thing I’ve always enjoyed is the webinars, and I’m happy that this year they offered a “season ticket” so I can attend them all or get the recordings. One of the best PubU Online webinars I’ve attended most recently was Facebook and Instagram 201: Deep Dive to Success by Michel Guyon. Another successful marketing program I purchased was one of the Library Market eBlasts, where we first introduced Why Do They Hate Us? to the library market with excellent results. I think one of the most pivotal points in my publishing career came when I was introduced to Kelly Peterson of Independent Publishers Group, now my book distributor. Richard Williams, also with IPG, had initially encouraged me to take the next step toward traditional distribution for my books and it has made a huge difference. I met both of these amazing and supportive trade partners at IBPA Publishing University.

IBPA: Congrats on all the success with the book, Teri, and thank you for sharing your story and insight with the IBPA community!

Click here to learn more about Top Reads Publishing!

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Janet Williams, Good Day Media says...
Posted Thursday, March 5, 2020
Congratulations to both! Well deserved. - Janet F. Williams

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