A Q&A with Zeshan Qureshi, the popular winner of this year’s Inspired Selection Young Independent Publisher of the Year Award
1 How did it feel to win the Young Independent Publisher of the Year Award?
Winning the Award felt truly incredible. I work as a doctor, and have been running a medical publishing company around that. Under the Unofficial Guide to Medicine banner, we’ve now sold 72,000 books across the world, through a new model of ‘Flipped Publishing’, putting the readers in the driving seat for content.
Running a publishing company around working as a doctor can be a challenge, especially since I don’t have a business background. It can be lonely, particularly in the early stages, and you often feel like you’re not making the progress you want to. It felt really nice to be recognised for the all the hard work that has gone into my publishing journey in the last seven years. It was extra special because I had been working with the IPG every step of the way.
2 How has the Award helped your business?
The Award has been excellent in bringing professional recognition to the work I’ve been doing. As well as backing up our growth with figures, we can say we are doing well compared to others in a similar industry. This has been helpful when speaking to potential partners, both locally and overseas. Staff and authors were very happy, and felt honoured that our work has been celebrated. The Award has also been great for promoting the business, including through social media and around new book releases.
3 What advice would you give to other publishers thinking about entering the Independent Publishing Awards in 2020?
Be thorough in the information you provide. The more specific and the more all-encompassing your entry, the greater the clarity the judges have about you. And don’t be put off if you’ve not won in the past. Every year the competition changes and you change, so address judges’ feedback, update your application with new figures, and perhaps think about a new take on what makes you unique.
Enjoy the process of writing the application. The way it is structured encourages you to think critically about what you have achieved, and how you have achieved it. This can be really helpful for future planning, especially for small businesses.
Suzy Astbury, managing director of Award sponsor Inspired Selection, writes:
Inspired Selection proudly sponsored the Young Independent Publisher of the Year Award because we wanted to show our support not just for established businesses but for those who are new to the publishing community. The shortlist was seriously impressive—we’re still not sure how the judges decided between them, but what was clear was that the winner was a shining example of building a successful publishing business based on expertise, passion and innovation.
We’re lucky to have Zeshan in the IPG family, and will be cheering the future success of his business. He spotted a gap in the market for a new kind of study guide, and his books have made a huge difference to medical students at each stage of their studies. Zeshan captured our hearts at the Conference this year, and we are sure we are not alone in wishing him and his team all the best for the future.
Entries for the 2020 Independent Publishing Awards will open in February.