A Little IPPY History Lesson
Looking back at the IPPY awards from previous years, the growth of the independent publishing community is evident. For the 5th annual IPPY Awards in 2001, there were 770 publishers who participated in only 49 categories. This year, 2,400 independent authors and publishers entered the awards. With 72 national categories, 22 regional categories, and the chance to be an Outstanding Book of the Year, the IPPY awards continue to capture the diversity of the creative work of independent authors and publishers.
This year marked the first time that eBooks were acknowledged in the IPPY Awards with five diverse categories that recognized fiction, non-fiction, juvenile fiction, and children’s illustrated eBooks. Since the 2003 IPPYs, the number of winners using eBooks has been on the rise.
Author David Collins, who won the silver medal in Best Juvenile Fiction eBook for Shanghaied, explained, “EBooks boost sales in ways that paper cannot. Writers want to be published by mainstream houses and readership numbers help a great deal. Winning in the eBook category could not be better.” With the new categories recognizing eBooks, the IPPY Awards have been able to adapt so the awards reflect the ever-changing environment of the independent publishing community.
iUniverse Titles Making their Mark
Seven iUniverse Authors Win 2012 IPPY Awards
As the publishing industry changes, more and more authors are looking toward self-publishing to get their work out to the public. In the 2012 IPPY Awards, seven of the winners used iUniverse, a website that provides authors with the resources to self-publish. The iUniverse titles recognized in this year’s IPPY Awards were Glen Strathy’s Dancing on the Inside, David Collins’ Shanghaied, Joseph Dorris’ Sojourner of Warren’s Camp, Jane Bennett Munro’s Murder Under the Microscope, Ivan Houston’s Black Warriors, Karen and Paul Fredette’s Consider the Ravens and Leena Ceraveeni’s The Hometown.
The IPPY Award seal on the covers of these winning titles will help them stand out on the book shelves and online sales outlets. Being recognized in a category gives each of the authors’ reassurance about the quality of their book, something that the number of copies sold alone may not have.
“Some non-fiction books can get a lot of sales just by having a good title, a popular subject, or good marketing, regardless how well they are written. Genres like middle-grade fiction are also hard to market, and you can mistake low sales for a sign your book isn't good,” stated Glen Strathy who received the gold medal in Juvenile Fiction for Dancing on the Inside. “Entering a big competition like the IPPYs gives you some of that objective appraisal you are looking for. I'm so glad to have won because I feel it shows that the story I had worked on for so long has merit,” he continued.
Similarly, Joseph Dorris, silver medal winner for Sojourner of Warren’s Camp in West-Mountain-Best Regional Fiction, revealed how the IPPY made him more confident with his writing abilities. “Winning an IPPY Award is awesome. As a writer, particularly with the ‘lost genre’ of Westerns, it reassures me that someone appreciates the topic. Additionally, being self-published, I recognize there is little chance that anyone will ever see my books in a bookstore, yet I know many self-published authors are writing great stuff. I am happy organizations such as IPPY are out there to give us a chance for some recognition.” In a world where many great books never get the recognition they deserve, the IPPY Awards help to uncover the hidden gems brought to the readers by independent and self-publishers.
Once the book is written, all writers must choose which marketing tools will allow them to effectively promote their book. Our winning authors discussed their unique approach to using the IPPY Awards to enhance their book’s marketing. “I’m not the best self-marketer, but I will certainly display the award seal proudly online and make use of stickers,” said Glen Strathy. “I have already been interviewed by my local newspaper as a result of the award. I may also mention it when I approach bookstores to ask them to carry my book.”
“I’ll make mention of the award on my web page at Pinnacle 5, Google Books author page, as well as in any advertising, such as book signings and sales letters in attempts to place the book in independent book stores” said Joseph Dorris.
Along with hoping to gain recognition from newspapers and bookstores, Jane Bennet Munro, author of Murder Under the Microscope, had other goals when entering her book into the IPPY Awards. “I entered my book in several contests in order to gain exposure. I thought if I could win an award of some kind, it would call attention to my book. Perhaps it would come to the attention of a publisher who might like to pick it up and offer me a contract for future books, or perhaps The New York Times or other widely read publications might want to review it.”
Two of the iUniverse titles, Black Warriors and Consider the Ravens, were submitted into the IPPY Awards by Savannah Payton, an iUniverse Recognition Programs Coordinator, because of their membership in iUniverse’s Recognitions Programs. “Both Black Warriors and Consider the Ravens are STAR books, which is a distinction we use to identify and promote iUniverse books that meet the high editorial standards of traditional publishing and have had retail success,” she explained. To be a STAR book, authors must publish their book through an approved package, get an Editor’s Choice designation, sell 500 copies, and fill out an application when notified by iUniverse that their book is eligible for STAR status. By gaining STAR recognition, authors get the opportunity to have their book presented to all sorts of new markets and readers.
With the help of the IPPY Awards and independent and self-publishing companies everywhere, more authors are able to navigate the publishing world and ensure that they are in control of their book throughout the publishing process. “Thanks to the indie publishing revolution, authors are no longer at the mercy of traditional publishers,” Savannah Payton said. After winning the IPPY Awards, it is safe to say that these iUniverse authors are well on their way to getting the recognition they deserve. We wish these authors the best of luck in their future endeavors.
Decide which iUniverse IPPY winning titles you want to add to your summer reading list:
By Ivan Houston
(iUniverse, March 2011)
189 pages, eBook- $7.69
Consider the Ravens
By Paul and Karen Fredette
(iUniverse, May 2011)
286 pages, Paperback- $13.10, eBook- $7.69
Dancing on the Inside
By Glen Strathy
(iUniverse, July 2011)
236 pages, Paperback- $12.26, Hardcover- $18.64, eBook- $2.99
Murder Under the Microscope
By Jane Bennett Munro
(iUniverse, May 2011)
428 pages, Paperback- $18.68, eBook- $4.99
By David Collins
(iUniverse, September 2011)
322 pages, Paperback- $15.56, Hardcover- $17.10, eBook- $3.03
Sojourner of Warren’s Camp
By Joseph Dorris
(iUniverse, November 2011)
316 pages, Paperback- $14.78, Hardcover- $20.14
By Leena Ceraveeni
(iUniverse, April 2011)
247 pages, Paperback- $16.95, eBook- $7.69
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Nicolette Amstutz is a writer for Independent Publisher. She is currently studying English and Communications at the University of Michigan. Please contact her with any comments, questions, or criticisms at namstutz (at) umich.edu.