The IndieReader Discovery Awards — The Judges

The list of judges to-date for the 2014 IRDA’s follow below.  If you don’t know who they are–or aren’t familiar with the companies they work for–we encourage you to Google them.  They’re that impressive.

Also, please note that we are not just compiling names on a page.  Every one of the people listed have agreed to read–and judge–submitted books. Why?  For the simple reason that they’re interested in finding talented writers who might otherwise be overlooked.  Maybe it’s you.



Beth Steidle/McNally Jackson

Beth is a writer, illustrator, and book designer currently living in Brooklyn, NY. Her work has appeared in Drunken BoatDIAGRAMHot Metal Bridge, KGB Bar Lit, Smokelong Quarterly, and several print anthologies. She started the self-publishing program at the University of Pittsburgh, where she received her MFA in fiction. Beth currently  works at McNally Jackson Books in Soho, NYC, where she operates an Espresso Book Machine, designs books, and co-manages the self-publishing/print-on-demand program.


Amy Pierpont/Grand Central

As Editor-in-Chief of the Forever print and Forever Yours digital-first imprints, I have the envious position of working in a world filled with love, laughter, and happily-ever-after!

Between our print and digital imprints, Forever publishes over 160 titles a year, which makes for busy, but very exciting days.  At any given moment I can be found at a cover photo shoot, or brainstorming consumer marketing plans, or plotting out the next book with one of our bestselling authors. Finding the best ways to introduce readers to our exceptional list of authors is one of the favorite parts of my day, as I like nothing better than placing a wonderful novel into the hands of an eager reader.

As an editor, I am most taken with writers who have a crystalline voice, one that engages from the very first page. At GCP I have the pleasure of working with some of the best names in romance, including New York Times bestselling authors Elizabeth Hoyt, Larissa Ione, Courtney Cole, Jessica Sorensen, Kristen Ashley, Eileen Dreyer, and Roxanne St. Claire.

Beth DeGuzman/Grand Central

Beth de Guzman is VP, Digital and Paperback Publisher at Grand Central Publishing.  In addition, she acquires a wide range of fiction and nonfiction.  Her authors include CeeLo Green, Chelsea Handler, the Robert Ludlum estate,  self-published author Jodi Ellen Malpas, Kimberla Lawson Roby, and Ben Sherwood.   

Janteigh Kupihea/Atria Books

Jhanteigh Kupihea is an editor at Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster. She was previously at New American Library, a division of Penguin Group.  


Sandra (Sandy) Poirier-Diaz, Smith Publicity

Sandy is the president of Smith Publicity, Inc., a book promotion company dedicated to helping authors create awareness about their books through media coverage. Smith Publicity has promoted more than 1,500 authors/publishers since 1997—from first time, self-published projects to New York Times best selling titles. Sandy has overseen the direction of more than 1,200 book publicity campaigns with tens of thousands of media placements in television, radio, newspapers, magazines and online outlets worldwide. Sandy has over 20 years of experience in marketing, communications, and public relations fields. During her career, she has lead, designed and executed thousands of print ads, public relations strategies, direct mail campaigns, and videos for start-up businesses, Fortune 500 companies, individuals, authors/publishers, and non-profit organizations. Highlights of her publicity successes include placing clients on the Today Show, Parade Magazine (cover), Wall Street Journal, Forbes, SELF Magazine and CNN.   


Karen Schechner, Senior Indie Editor, Kirkus Reviews

Karen Schechner is the senior Indie editor at Kirkus Reviews. Kirkus Indie curates self-published titles to help consumers and industry influencers (publishers, agents, film producers, librarians, booksellers) discover books they may otherwise never find. In her pre-Kirkus days, she was the senior editor at the American Booksellers Association, where she worked with indie booksellers for nearly a decade. She’s also has long volunteered as the senior editor of Lambda Literary, the leading LGBT literary magazine.  

Ryan Leahey, Indie Editor, Kirkus Reviews

Ryan is an Indie editor at Kirkus Reviews, the book review magazine. Since 2005, Kirkus Indie has been dedicated to reviewing books from self-publishers and small publishing houses—books that readers, industry professionals and influencers might not otherwise discover. In addition to writing for an assortment of online publications, Ryan also co-edits Guyletter, a newsletter about New York City happenings.    

Samantha Coville, Sammy the Bookworm

Samantha Coville is the founder and owner of the book review website Sammy the Bookworm, which has been called an ”invaluable service to new writers”, as well as an award winning short story writer. She also specializes in editing work for short stories and novels alike.