Susan Mercer speaks on her Best Book of the Year award

Notifying Susan Mercer of her Best Book of the Year award gave us an opportunity to discuss her award-winning book, Pathway to Math Proficiency, her marketing tactics, and her future plans:

Susan Mercer, Author of "Pathway to Math Proficiency"
Susan Mercer, Author of Pathway to Math Proficiency and Best Book of the Year Award Winner

Susan: It has been an honor to win this recognition and I appreciate all you and your company have done! As you probably know this is my second book and both experiences have been outstanding!

Outskirts Press: What led you to write Pathway to Math Proficiency?

Susan: For the past fifteen years, I have been writing math curriculum with a focus on conceptual understanding of pre-algebra concepts. After sharing my lessons with colleagues and with their encouragement, I decided to create a website ( to post my resources for educators around the country to view and use. After receiving great comments and praise I decided to write my first book Pathway to Pre-Algebra Proficiency.

Regarding Pathway to Math Proficiency, I decided to write this book in particular because, as a math teacher, I believe there is a need to help students understand and make the necessary connections between fractions, decimals and percents. Math textbooks present these three critical issues in isolation without any visual representation. By using only the textbook, students miss the opportunity to develop a more in-depth understanding of numbers as well as learning how fractions, decimals and percents relate to each other. I have experienced first-hand how important it is for middle school students to be able to understand the meaning of fractions, decimals and percents in order to succeed in advanced math courses.

Outskirts Press: What was your writing process like? How long did it take?

Susan: For Pathway to Math Proficiency I used the student activities I developed for my sixth, seventh and eighth grade math students over the past twenty years. I planned, structured, organized and formatted each page of my book. In addition, as I developed each activity, I asked my math colleagues for their feedback and comments and altered pages based on their feedback.


It took me two years to write Pathway to Math Proficiency. It took this long because I work full time, I’m a single parent and it is hard to find quiet time to focus on writing. In addition, I wanted to try out each activity with students to make sure they were as effective as intended.

Outskirts Press:  Tell us about publishing with Outskirts Press.

Susan: This is my second experience publishing with Outskirts Press and I love it! I was assigned a representative who helped me throughout the process, responded to my emails in a timely manner and helped with the formatting codes of the PDF file I submitted. I could not have done it without their help every step of the way.

Outskirts Press:  What marketing efforts did you make to earn over 1,500 votes for your book in the Best Book of the Year polls?

Susan: My marketing efforts are three fold. First, for the past fifteen years I have presented my lessons, activities and strategies at national, state and local math conferences where I collected emails from the attendees. I have kept this database of math educators from around the country updated by sending occasional emails with useful information. Second, my math resources have been available on my website for the past six years and I have collected contact information from all the math educators who have used my lessons via my website. Lastly, as a math curriculum specialist in the sixth largest school district in California, I have a large network of educators whom I know, who know my work and who voted for my book. Of course, my 614 Facebook friends and family helped too.

Entries are being accepted for the third annual Best Book of the Year awards. Click here  to get published and be in the running for the award and its $1,500 Grand Prize.

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