Thursday, October 19, 2006

From ForeWord to the IPPYs

Received a great email from Jim Barnes, the Managing Editor and Awards Coordinator for Independent Publisher Online/Jenkins Group Inc. The Independent Publisher Book Awards (or IPPYs) are yet another classy/prestigious award for books coming from independent publishers (just like ForeWord). Jim got in contact after I ran the blog entry about the increase in POD presence at the ForeWord awards and he had this to write:

I run the Independent Publisher Book Awards and we also received a lot of POD entries in last year's 10th Annual IPPY Awards. We don't name as many semi-finalists as ForeWord - 464 total for our 60 national, 20 regional, and 10 outstanding book of the year categories - and a total of 11 titles from the major POD houses got awards (down a bit from the previous year). There were 3 category winners, all Fiction titles, one each from iUniverse, AuthorHouse and BookSurge. Complete results at

This year, one month into entries, out of 155 titles we have 12 iUniverse entries (8 entered by iUniverse from their Star program); 6 BookSurge, and one each from Xlibris, PublishAmerica, Hard Shell and Books on Demand.

My message to POD authors is a typical one: don't scrimp on cover design, layout, and editing. The competition is very tough and gets tougher every year. It should look like it belongs on the shelf at Borders, and customers should be drawn to it and want to pick it up. And when they do, by all means make sure the first few pages are perfect - a typo or awkward language on page one is the kiss of death. You MUST impress the reader immediately.

This month we're running an article, Independent Authors and Publishers Unite! about a call to organize a clearinghouse for reviews and promotion that POD and self-published have so much trouble getting from corporate media today.

Sage advice and great insider info! And you have to remember, getting awards for your POD title is what will make it stand out (second only to enormous sales) with a traditional publisher.


And remember Macmillan's New Writing program? (Brief summary: open to debut novelists, no agent needed, no advance given, little to no publicity given; essentially the same as PublishAmerica except . . . well, Macmillan is not PublishAmerica, if you catch my drift). Here is an update for the past year (they just released book number 12). Was it a success? For Macmillan, the jury is out. For authors, they had 5,000 submissions and published 12 novels. Same as it ever was.

Not sure about the content, but the covers are a real mixed bag. Some look undeniably professional, while others look undeniably PublishAmericaesque.


And by the way, I love this editor.