Also published on this date: Shelf Awareness for Monday, March 2, 2020

Monday, March 2 Dedicated Issue: Harper Horizon


Harper Horizon: Introducing a New Publisher

Editors' Note

Harper Horizon

With the support of the publisher, Shelf Awareness celebrates Harper Horizon, which this fall begins publishing nonfiction titles reflecting the values and diversity of the Heartland.


Harper Horizon: Make Life Beautiful by Syd and Shea McGee


Books & Authors

Harper Horizon: Making the World a Better Place

Andrea Fleck-Nisbet

Based in Nashville, Tenn., Harper Horizon is a new nonfiction imprint that is focused on building relationships with authors who are actively working to make the world a better place--and who will inspire and empower readers to take action to improve their lives and communities. This action could be, among other things, learning a new skill, improving the environment or having the courage to embody their beliefs. The books include memoir, how-to, biography, self-help, health and wellness, lifestyle and other inspirational topics.

"We want to bring joy to readers by putting a great book in their hands that will encourage them to actively pursue positive change for themselves and their communities," says Andrea Fleck-Nisbet, publisher of Harper Horizon. "That change could be as small as organizing their pantry or as large as starting a movement. The goal is to get readers to do something."

Harper Horizon's first two titles, being published this fall, are Make Life Beautiful by Syd and Shea McGee and Walk Through This: Harness the Healing Power of Nature and Travel the Road to Forgiveness by Sara Schulting Kranz (more about these titles and authors below).

Next year, Harper Horizon will offer a full list, publishing approximately 30 titles, ten in each of its three publishing seasons (fall, winter, spring/summer). "We want to keep to that number so we can provide a boutique publishing experience and maximize the time we spend to successfully produce and launch each project," Fleck-Nisbet says, adding that that boutique publishing experience comes with "the infrastructure of a large publisher. We are fortunate to have the rich resources of HarperCollins Publishers' global distribution capabilities behind us."

Besides offering the resources of the world's second-largest commercial publisher, Harper Horizon is working with its authors in several unusual ways. For example, the imprint is creating community among its authors, who are writers, actors, activists, chefs, bloggers, fitness professionals, advisors, field experts and more. While those authors have strong respective platforms with unique content and often speak to somewhat different audiences, they share "directionally similar missions"--inspiring and helping others--and so the imprint is encouraging its authors to connect with one another and cross-promote. "They're very excited to work with each other," Fleck-Nisbet says.

To help develop this author community, Harper Horizon is planning to host an "author university" or retreat ahead of the first title releases this fall. The event would last a day and a half and possibly be held at the same time as the June sales conference. Fleck-Nisbet says she envisions it as a place where Harper Horizon and authors can "talk through the nuts and bolts of the publishing process, the importance of pre-launch campaigns, why metadata is so important, and when to communicate what with their audience. And the authors can present to each other about their work and platforms and networks."

Not surprisingly, Harper Horizon sees its authors as long-term partners. "We take a sustained approach," Fleck-Nisbet notes. "We want to build them as brands over time and hopefully work with them on other projects. We don't have a 'one-and-done' style."

And Harper Horizon aims to partner with booksellers and librarians. "We want to develop great stories in good packages that retailers can put on shelves and sell," Fleck-Nisbet explains. "We want authors who are committed not just to writing but to selling, too." She adds that Harper Horizon "believes that independent bookstores are very much a part of the culture and the way books sell in the market."

Booksellers should be aware that because Harper Horizon is part of Harper Focus and has headquarters in Nashville, Tenn., it will be sold by the HarperCollins Christian Publishing sales force, not the HarperCollins New York sales force. (HarperCollins Christian Publishing includes imprints like Harper Horizon and HarperCollins Leadership business books that aren't Christian per se.)

Harper Horizon also aims to work with authors, the sales force, booksellers, librarians and readers themselves to find the best titles to meet readers' needs. "We want to know from booksellers what's selling and what their customers want," Fleck-Nisbet says. "We want to know the topics and the products that are trending in the market."

Fleck-Nisbet emphasizes that Harper Horizon is "trying to think outside the box and think about where publishing will be in five to ten years from now." The key is finding the right author, the right packaging, the right price and the right positioning. Fleck-Nisbet says, "As a publisher, my role sits at the crossroads of creativity and business--understanding the market needs and what will sell and be profitable. That's why this is my dream job!"


HarperHorizon: Walk Through This: Harness the Healing Power of Nature and Travel the Road to Forgiveness by Sara Schulting Kranz


The Harper Horizon List: Upcoming Titles

Harper Horizon's first two titles, appearing this fall, exemplify the imprint's approach. In Make Life Beautiful by Syd and Shea McGee (October 27), the couple who run Studio McGee, the renowned design studio, share insights and wisdom on how classic interior design principles can be used to build an authentically beautiful life. The tell of the challenges and struggles they faced as they transformed Shea's small room of fabric samples into one of the fastest-growing design studios in the country. Inspirational topics to help readers build an authentic life include renovating one's life, visualizing the outcome and listening to one's gut, and elevating the everyday. The McGees have a huge social media presence and have been widely written about; a fall 2020 Netflix docuseries will coincide with the book launch. (For more about the McGees, see below.)

In Walk Through This: Harness the Healing Power of Nature and Travel the Road to Forgiveness (November 10), life and leadership coach and wilderness guide Sara Schulting Kranz gives readers tools to develop the courage they need to overcome setbacks, to forgive and to heal, and to build a life of fulfillment and purpose. Kranz's step-by-step handbook shows how to reconnect with nature--wherever readers may be--and begin their healing journey. The book includes foundational information about nature deficit disorder and the negative impact it has on our minds and bodies; exercise prompts that help evaluate where one is on the path and check progress along the way; and meditations to guide the reader deeper into the process. Kranz is the host and founder of the Live Boldly podcast, a featured TEDx Talk speaker, and the subject of a documentary by Laura VanZee Taylor that will be released this year. (For more about Sara Schulting Kranz, see below.)

Harper Horizon already has a robust list of titles to be published in 2021, including:

The Miracle Mentality by Tim Storey, the author, speaker and life coach, and frequent featured guest on Oprah's Super Soul Sunday. In The Miracle Mentality, Storey will offer first-hand stories of inspiration that will help guide readers through the mundane, messy, and madness of life to the magical place where miracles happen. (March 2, 2021)

Strong Women Lift Each Other Up by Molly Galbraith, the founder and woman-in-charge of Girls Gone Strong, the global online movement of more than 800,000 women. Galbraith teaches that women can take ownership of their strength and power through positive body fitness--not by tearing other women down, but by lifting them up. (March 9, 2021)

Ebony and Me by Linda Johnson Rice, who was the former CEO of Johnson Publishing, owner of Ebony and Jet Magazine. Ebony and Me is an insider's account of the groundbreaking magazine Ebony and the family behind it. (March 23, 2021)

MLB for Mom by Katie Russell, who is a cancer survivor, advocate, and sport enthusiast. In MLB for Mom she shares letters to her mother, and visits all 30 baseball stadiums. (April 6, 2021)

Speak Truth, Be Grateful, Repeat by Zachary Levi, the actor (Shazam!, Chuck, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel) and mental illness advocate, who traces his mental health journey and encourages readers to find clarity in a culture clustered with anxiety and depression. (April 13, 2021)

This Is Not a Baby Book by Fatherly, the leading digital media brand for dads, which provides guidance for fathers from pregnancy through their children's toddler years. (April 20, 2021)

A Coat of Yellow Paint by Naomi Davis, creator of the popular blog Love Taza, who reflects on being a wife and a mother of five, with a message of family focus and intentional living. (May 18, 2021)

Agent You by Nicole Lynn, one of the youngest African American, female sport agents, who shows readers how to become their own agents so they can achieve goals and find fulfillment in their lives. (June 14, 2021)

Mooncakes & Milk Bread by Kristina Cho, the San Francisco cook behind the delicious recipes at EatChoFood.com, who presents an insider's guide to the world of Chinese bakeries and baking. (September 21, 2021)


HarperHorizon: Introducing a New Publisher!


Reading With... Shea McGee

Syd and Shea McGee

Shea McGee is co-owner of Studio McGee and co-author, with Syd McGee, of Make Life Beautiful, which will be published by Harper Horizon on October 27, 2020.

What book is on your nightstand now?
I'm sure it comes as no surprise that I like to unwind by studying beautiful interior design books before bed. I currently have Steven Gambrel: Perspective on my nightstand and I am immersing myself in his mix of classic and contemporary design.

What was your favorite book when you were a child?
Any of the American Girl series, but specifically Molly Saves the Day.

Who are your top five favorite authors?
J.K. Rowling, Michael Connelly, Brené Brown, Ben Horowitz, C.S. Lewis

What is your favorite thing about reading?
When I read, I read fast. I have always loved being able to shut the world out for a moment and become completely engrossed in a book.

Are you an evangelist for a specific book?
The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz. This was one of the first business books I read in our first year of Studio McGee and it has had a great influence on our approach to business.

Growing up, did you have a book you hid from your parents?
Although I never hid books for their content, I hid them because I couldn't stop reading. I would wait until my parents were asleep and turn my closet light on to read mysteries.

Tell us one book that changed your life.
Daring Greatly by Brené Brown. I read this at a time when we were first starting our business and wanted a guide to find the courage to go big and overcome my fear of failure.

What's your favorite line from a book?
"Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen." --Brené Brown, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead

Five books you'll never part with:
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
What Do You Do with a Problem by Kobi Yamada
Daring Greatly and The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown
Oh, The Places You'll Go! by Dr. Suess
Domino: The Book of Decorating: A Room-by-Room Guide to Creating a Home That Makes You Happy by Deborah Needleman

Favorite book for summer vacation?
Anything from Michael Connelly's Bosch series

Favorite book for a snow day?
I love reading cookbooks when it's cold outside and testing recipes. My current favorite is Malibu Farm Cookbook: Recipes from the California Coast.

Favorite book you read in high school?
Harry Potter

Favorite drink while you're reading?
Topo Chico

Book you most want to read again for the first time:
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

What is your favorite character from fiction?
Harry Bosch


Reading With... Syd McGee

Syd McGee is co-owner of Studio McGee and co-author, with Shea McGee, of Make Life Beautiful, which will be published by Harper Horizon on October 27, 2020.

What books are on your nightstand now?
What You Do Is Who You Are by Ben Horowitz and Skin in the Game by Nassim Taleb

Who are your top five favorite authors?
Steven Pressfield, Nassim Taleb, Brené Brown, Ben Horowitz, Seth Godin

What is your favorite thing about reading?
The level of detail that is typically unmatched in a movie. This is what ignited my passion for reading in my late 20s and 30s.

Are you an evangelist for a specific book?
Peak by Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool and The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz are two books that have continually shaped my thoughts about the businesses Shea and I run together.

Growing up, did you have a book you hid from your parents?
No, I did not enjoy reading when I was younger. I was more into doing dangerous things and hoping to survive to tell my own tales.

Tell us one book that changed your life.
Too many! When we were just starting our company, I was very unsure that I had what it would take to make it successful. I was looking for guidance in books from those who had the experience to guide me. Here are the handful of books that had a huge impact on me.

The Dip by Seth Godin. The takeaway: things are hardest before the get easier. You have put in all this hard work just stay with it long enough to see that payoff.

The Lean Startup by Eric Ries. Takeaway: there are a lot of great digital tools and apps that can make it possible to do a lot with very little.

Without Their Permission by Alexis Ohanian. Takeaway: there are no more gate keepers. You have direct access to the market and the platforms to build or create whatever you want.

What's your favorite line from a book?
I have three from Ben Horowitz' The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers:

"Hard things are hard because there are no easy answers or recipes. They are hard because your emotions are at odds with your logic. They are hard because you don't know the answer and you cannot ask for help without showing weakness."

"Take care of the people, the products, and the profits--in that order."

"If you are going to eat shit, don't nibble."

Favorite book you read in high school?
The Surfer's Journal

Book you most want to read again for the first time:
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

If you could have lunch with one author (living or dead), who would that be?
Ben Horowitz or Gary Vaynerchuk


Reading With... Sara Schulting Kranz

Sara Schulting Kranz

Sara Schulting Kranz is the author of Walk Through This: Harness the Healing Power of Nature and Travel the Road to Forgiveness, which Harper Horizon will publish on November 10, 2020.

What books are on your nightstand now?
Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo
Wild by Cheryl Strayed (never leaves my nightstand :))
Intuitive Being by Jill Willard
Becoming Supernatural by Dr. Joe Dispenza

What was your favorite book when you were a child?
ANYTHING Nancy Drew! I also remember reading A Taste of Blackberries by Doris Buchanan Smith as a child and crying. That was the first book that made me "feel."

Who are your top five favorite authors?
Cheryl Strayed, Glennon Doyle, Alice Sebold, Mitch Albom, Brené Brown, Gabby Bernstein, Dave Pelzer (sorry … I can't stop at five)

What is your favorite thing about reading?
Feeling inspired and knowing that someone else at some other place in this world is reading the same book (perhaps the same word!) as I am at that very moment. We are all connected through story and words.

Are you an evangelist for a specific book?
Anything that makes you feel. One of my favorites is Tuesdays with Morrie. I need to read it again, actually. I love learning from the older generation. There is nothing quite like having a deep conversation with an older person while on the trail.

Growing up, did you have a book you hid from your parents?
LOL--YES! I bought a romantic love story at a truck stop while on a family vacation to Alaska. I can't even tell you the title of the book now but I earmarked pages (I was almost 16). My mom got a hold of the book and I never saw it again.

Tell us one book that changed your life.
Looking back, probably A Taste of Blackberries by Doris Buchanan Smith because it made me "feel" so deeply!

What's your favorite line from a book?
"True belonging is the spiritual practice of believing in and belonging to yourself so deeply that you can share your most authentic self with the world and find sacredness in both being a part of seeming and standing alone in the wilderness. True belonging doesn't require you to change who you are; it requires you to be who you are." --Brené Brown

Five books you'll never part with:
Braving the Wilderness by Brené Brown
Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo
The Universe Has Your Back by Gabby Bernstein
Nature Fix by Florence Williams
On the Edge by Alison Levine

Favorite book for summer vacation?
Sam's Letters to Jennifer by James Patterson (make sure you have tissues and a good fruity drink beside you!)

Favorite book for a snow day?
Nature Fix by Florence Williams or The Nature Principle by Richard Louv

Favorite book you read in high school?
Anything Shakespeare… I LOVED it and hated it at the same time. It was so hard for me to understand, and now I understand why.

Favorite drink while you're reading?
Hot Water, Honey + Lemon. Sometimes I add a chai tea bag in the cup. It's ALWAYS with my favorite Grand Canyon mug!

Book you most want to read again for the first time:
Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom

What is your favorite character from fiction?
Susie Salmon from The Lovely Bones because I can relate deeply to her story.

If you could have lunch with one author (living or dead), who would that be?
Cheryl Strayed on a summit from sunrise to sundown (long lunch) where we share stories from life and the trail. I'd love to pick her brain (deep) about what it's like for her to live through traumas, be a survivor, take on her adventure at such a young age. I'd like to see how that compares with me healing on a trail at an older age (not old... but 40 years-plus.)


Harper Horizon: Win a Nashville Gift Bundle

Harper Horizon: Make Life Beautiful by Syd and Shea McGee

Harper Horizon: Inspiring Readers, Building Community

Harper Horizon: Walk Through This: Harness the Healing Power of Nature and Travel the Road to Forgiveness by Sara Schulting Kranz

Harper Horizon: Win a Nashville Gift Bundle

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