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Okra Picks: The Booksellers' Guide
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badgeThe Okra Picks are a dozen fresh titles chosen each season that SIBA Indie Bookstores want to handsell. These books are be southern in nature but can cover any genre, not just fiction.  Southerners love their writers, and we want to be at the forefront of bringing them a strong selection of southern titles not to be missed each season. Modeled on the popular "Indie Next" lists but with a distinctive Southern flavor, SIBA's Okra Picks brings a harvest of good southern reading to your customers. Okra Picks are chosen by SIBA booksellers. Books are promoted on SIBA's consumer web site— Authors Round the South and in the Lady Banks' Commonplace newsletter, and noted on the Southern Indie Bestseller List, as well as regularly promoted across our social networks.

The Okra Picks program demonstrates the important role of independent booksellers in creating early buzz for a book, and creating the momentum that can make a book a success. They are an early spotlight on books that are likely to "go national." On any given week an Okra Pick title can be found on the Southern Independent Bestseller List, and they show up at the end of the year when "Best of the Year" lists start to be published. They go on to be popular gifts during the holidays, and book club picks when they are released in paperback.

Cards | FAQs & Calendar | B3! Actions & Points | Current Okra Picks | Logos & Graphics | Downloads



Florida by Lauren Groff

Okra Picks Cards


In-store promotion is a significant part of the success of the Okra Picks. SIBA distributes high quality, full color printed cards for certain Okra Pick titles each season. The cards, which are business card sized, feature the title, author and book jacket of the Okra pick, and have a QR code your customers can use to download the first chapter of the book. Use in conjunction with a free counter display rack to create in-store displays for Okra titles and to generate buzz on forthcoming titles. Card are good book marks, bag stuffers, and giveaways to book clubs looking for new titles to discuss.


The Okra Picks Display Stand

email to request a display for your store!

OPX display stand


Important links:

Nomination Form

Sales Report

Current Okras

Okra Picks Archive



Okra Picks DeadlinesFAQs and Calendar

  1. What books are eligible?
    Books must be set in the South, or by a Southern author, or both. Okra Picks targets forthcoming books that are receiving early buzz,
    so nominations must be for titles pubbing within the period of each Okra season.

  2. Are self published books eligible?
    If they meet the above criteria and can be ordered at industry standard terms.

  3. Who can nominate books?
    Only SIBA Member Booksellers can nominate books. Nominations can be emailed to: or, you can use our new nomination form 

  4. How can I nominate a book that hasn't been published yet?
    Keep an eye on your inbox! SIBA sends out regular "Galleys &
    Giveaways" email alerts with off ers of review copies of forthcoming books.

  5. Why aren't there cards printed for each Okra Pick title?
    Publishers have to request cards be made for their Okra Pick title.

B3! Actions and Points

  • Nominate a book -- 2 points.
  • Report your Okra Picks sales (must sell 10 or more books total) --50 B3! points.
  • Post photos of your in-store displays of Okra Picks titles to Facebook and tag SIBA at facebook.
    com/ReaderMeetWriter, -- 25 B3! points.
  • Use the #okrapicks hashtag on your social media accounts -- 2 points.

Current Okra Picks

Okra Picks Spring 2018

 Bearskin by James A. McLaughlin  A gritty and captivating debut about a caretaker of an Appalachian nature preserve who gets embroiled in a dangerous bear-poaching scheme—for fans of Smith Henderson, Ron Rash, and Daniel Woodrell  Rice Moore is just beginning to think his troubles are behind him. He’s found a job protecting a remote forest preserve in Virginian Appalachia where his main responsibilities include tracking wildlife and refurbishing cabins. It’s hard work, and totally solitary—perfect to hide away from the Mexican drug cartels he betrayed back in Arizona. But when Rice finds the carcass of a bear killed on the grounds, the quiet solitude he’s so desperately sought is suddenly at risk.  More bears are killed on the preserve and Rice’s obsession with catching the poachers escalates, leading to hostile altercations with the locals and attention from both the law and Rice’s employers. Partnering with his predecessor, a scientist who hopes to continue her research on the preserve, Rice puts into motion a plan that could expose the poachers but risks revealing his own whereabouts to the dangerous people he was running from in the first place.  James McLaughlin expertly brings the beauty and danger of Appalachia to life. The result is an elemental, slow burn of a novel—one that will haunt you long after you turn the final page.  Bearskin by James A. McLaughlin Ecco Press | 9780062742797 | $26.99 | June 2018  buy from an indie  Best Beach Ever by Wendy Wax  Best Beach Ever by Wendy Wax  Hoping for smooth sailing the ladies of Ten Beach Road confront choppy seas...  Forced to rent out or lose their beloved Bella Flora after the loss of their renovation-turned-reality-TV show Do Over, Maddie, Nikki, Avery, Kyra, and Bitsy move into cottages at the Sunshine Hotel and Beach Club believing the worst is over. Only to discover just how uncertain their futures really are.  Maddie struggles with the challenges of dating a rock star whose career has come roaring back to life while Nikki faces the daunting realities of mothering twins at forty-seven. Avery buries herself in a tiny home build in an attempt to dodge commitment issues, and Kyra battles to protect her son from the Hollywood world she once dreamed of joining. And Bitsy is about to find out whether the rewards of seeking revenge will outweigh the risks.  Luckily, when the going gets tough, the ladies of Ten Beach Road know that their friendship—tried and tested—can chase away the darkest clouds and let the sun shine in...  Best Beach Ever by Wendy Wax Berkley Books | 9780399584411 | 16.00 | May 2018  buy from an indie  Country Dark by Chris Offutt  Country Dark by Chris Offutt  Chris Offutt's long-awaited return to fiction after nearly two decades, Country Dark is a fierce noir-inflected novel about a good man pushed by circumstance into crime.  Chris Offutt is an outstanding literary talent, whose work has been called “lean and brilliant” (The New York Times Book Review) and compared by reviewers to Tobias Wolff, Ernest Hemingway, and Raymond Carver. He's been awarded the Whiting Writers Award for Fiction/Nonfiction and the American Academy of Arts and Letters Fiction Award, among numerous other honors. His first work of fiction in nearly two decades, Country Dark is a taut, compelling novel set in rural Kentucky from the Korean War to 1970.  Tucker, a young veteran, returns from war to work for a bootlegger. He falls in love and starts a family, and while the Tuckers don't have much, they have the love of their home and each other. But when his family is threatened, Tucker is pushed into violence, which changes everything. The story of people living off the land and by their wits in a backwoods Kentucky world of shine-runners and laborers whose social codes are every bit as nuanced as the British aristocracy, Country Dark is a novel that blends the best of Larry Brown and James M. Cain, with a noose tightening evermore around a man who just wants to protect those he loves. It reintroduces the vital and absolutely distinct voice of Chris Offutt, a voice we've been missing for years.  Country Dark by Chris Offutt Grove Press | 9780802127792 | 24.00 | April 2018  buy from an indie  Dread Nation by Justina Ireland  Dread Nation by Justina Ireland  A story of the undead like you've never read before, Justina Ireland's Dread Nation is a fresh, stunning, and powerful meditation on race in America wrapped in an alternate-history adventure where Confederate and Union soldiers rise from the dead at the end of the Civil War.  Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefields of Civil War–era America—derailing the War Between the States and changing the nation forever. In this new nation, safety for all depends on the work of a few, and laws like the Native and Negro Reeducation Act require certain children to attend combat schools to learn to put down the dead. But there are also opportunities—and Jane is studying to become an Attendant, trained in both weaponry and etiquette to protect the well-to-do. It's a chance for a better life for Negro girls like Jane. After all, not even being the daughter of a wealthy white Southern woman could save her from society's expectations.  But that's not a life Jane wants. Almost finished with her education at Miss Preston's School of Combat in Baltimore, Jane is set on returning to her Kentucky home and doesn't pay much mind to the politics of the eastern cities, with their talk of returning America to the glory of its days before the dead rose. But when families around Baltimore County begin to go missing, Jane is caught in the middle of a conspiracy, one that finds her in a desperate fight for her life against some powerful enemies. And the restless dead, it would seem, are the least of her problems.  At once provocative, terrifying, and darkly subversive, Dread Nation is Justina Ireland's stunning vision of an America both foreign and familiar—a country on the brink, at the explosive crossroads where race, humanity, and survival meet.  Dread Nation by Justina Ireland Balzer & Bray/Harperteen | 9780062570604 | 17.99 | April 2018  buy from an indie  Florida by Lauren Groff  Florida by Lauren Groff  The bold new book from the celebrated New York Times-bestselling author of Fates and Furies.  Best Beach Ever by Wendy Wax Country Dark by Chris Offutt Dread Nation by Justina Ireland Florida by Lauren Groff Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes Girl Made of Stars by Ashley Herring Blake How Sweet the Sound: The Story of Amazing Grace by Carole Boston Weatherford I Felt a Funeral, in My Brain by Will Walton In the Shadow of 10,000 Hills by Jennifer Haupt Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore by Elizabeth RushSouthernmost by Silas HouseThe Darkest Time of Night by Jeremy FinleyThe High Tide Club by Mary Kay AndrewsThe Overstory by Richard PowersThe Secret to Southern Charm by Kristy Woodson HarveyThe View From Here by Lynne Hinton
Varina by Charles Frazier

Logos & Graphics

Right-click on any of the images below to save them to your computer so you can upload them to your website or facebook pages.



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Tiny Stuff






Okra Picks

More InfoHide Info ]
Peer Brain Trust- Links, documents, marketing and publisher resources related to the Okra Picks.
Item Name Posted By Date Posted
Okra Picks Logo Round (low res) PNG (47.61 KB) Administration 2/23/2016
Okra Pick Shelf Talker PDF (783.51 KB)  more ] Administration 7/1/2015
Okra logo slit cards PDF (599.71 KB)  more ] Administration 7/2/2015
Okra Picks Logo JPG (46.28 KB) Administration 4/15/2014
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