Judges of the Next Generation Indie Book Awards
The judges of the Next Generation Indie Book Awards are all actively involved in the indie book publishing industry, and range from literary agents to editors. The judges also include publishing executives, book reviewers, writing teachers, successful published authors, and experts in the various areas of judging including book design.
While a number of judges prefer to remain anonymous, we are pleased to introduce the following judges for the Next Generation Indie Book Awards:
Lou Aronica is the Publisher of The Story Plant and The Fiction Studio and was previously Publisher of Avon Books and Deputy Publisher of Bantam Books. He founded the Bantam Spectra science fiction imprint that recently celebrated its 25th anniversary. Aronica is also a New York Times bestselling nonfiction author and a nationally bestselling novelist. His work includes The Element (written with Ken Robinson), The Culture Code (written with Clotaire Rapaille) and Blue. He lives with his wife and four children in Connecticut.
Joan B. Sanger was a senior editor at Simon and Schuster, New American Library and Putnam prior to setting up her own editorial consultancy. She specializes in mainstream commercial fiction, focusing on suspense and mystery, legal and medical thrillers and women's fiction. She also works on memoirs and biographies. Her authors include Gary Birken, M.D. the author of numerous medical thrillers and James Grippando, the bestselling author of numerous legal thrillers. While at NAL she bought and edited the highest-price first novel at the time, Women's Work, by Anne Tolstoi Wallach. Joan also edited the autobiographies of tennis superstar, Arthur Ashe, and Academy Award winning actor, Henry Fonda. She is a member of the Women's Media Group and the Consulting Editors Alliance.
After twenty years in education and human services, Beth Bruno began a second career in 1995 as a columnist, author and editor. Hundreds of her articles have been published in print and online, and her first book, Wild Tulips, came out in 2001 and went into a second printing in 2002. Now a full-time book editor, Beth's editing interests are eclectic and include a delicious mix of fiction, nonfiction, young adult, and children's works. Beth is a past president of the Connecticut Authors and Publishers Association (CAPA) and one of the founders of CAPA's annual writers conference, CAPA-U.
Jill Bemis has a master's degree is in Public and Nonprofit Administration and undergraduate degrees in Political Science and Liberal Arts. She has worked with higher education, K-12 public schools, library, and government clientele to demystify bureaucratic rules and regulations for over twenty years. While workdays are spent preparing and reviewing a variety of professional materials and publications, most of her free time is a spent pursuing the perfect book. Jill uses the same critical judgment and writing skills that have led to successful academic and professional endeavors to her second career as a book reviewer and book award judge. She frequently contributes reviews to Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, LibraryThing, Smashmouth, and Goodreads. A life longer learner and avid reader, she currently lives with her Librarian husband and Philosopher son in Minnesota.
Born and raised in Chicago, Gordon Bruno graduated with a bachelors degree from Earlham College, majoring in Political Science. Soon after he received a masters degree in English and Education from Johns Hopkins University and his doctorate in educational administration from Harvard University. Over his 45-year career as a teacher and administrator, writing and editing were prominent parts of his responsibilities in school districts, higher education, the foundation community, and policy reform in New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts. Gordon's literary interests span both fiction and non-fiction, with significant experience in government and educational reform, political leadership, current American literature, and historical fiction.
C. Hope Clark (Hope) is author of Lowcountry Bribe and Tidewater Murder (release March 2013), the first two books in the Carolina Slade Series of mysteries, published by Bell Bridge Books. Lowcountry Bribe has taken several awards to include finalist of the RWA Daphne du Maurier Award, semi-finalist Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, finalist Alabama Conclave Competition, finalist EPIC (mystery category), and winner of The Silver Falchion Award given at Killer Nashville Conference for mystery authors.
Hope is also editor of FundsforWriters.com, a well-known writer's reference that reaches over 40,000 readers weekly with grants, markets and motivational editorials that generate stacks of thank-you notes from readers. Writer's Digest Magazine voted FundsforWriters one of the 101 Best Web Sites for Writers for 2001 through 2012, twelve straight years. The three FundsforWriters newsletters cover all levels of writers, from teens to novices to professionals, and the readership ranges from stay-at-home moms to Harvard professors and award-winning mystery authors. Hope has published in many magazines including Writer's Digest, The Writer Magazine, ByLine Magazine, Next Step Magazine, College Bound Teen, TURF Magazine, Landscape Management and four Chicken Soup books. The Shy Writer : An Introvert's Guide to Writing Success is in reprint and continues to sell. She speaks at numerous writing conferences each year, last year covering 25 events in nine states. Hope lives on the banks of Lake Murray, in central South Carolina.
Sandi Gelles-Cole, founder and president of Gelles-Cole Literary Enterprises has acquired, edited and collaborated on many best-selling books in hardcover, mass market and trade paperback.
Her editorial agency was founded in September of 1983. Since then, she has worked with authors and their projects such as Alan Dershowitz's novel The Advocate's Devil; North of Montana by Law and Order writer April Smith (Knopf), Victoria Gotti's novel, I'll Be Watching You (Random House/Crown); Governor Ann Richards' I'm Not Slowing Down (Dutton); Christiane Northrup's Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom (Bantam Books); Letitia Baldridge's Guide to the New New Manners (Scribner's); The Gotham Diaries by Tonya Lewis-Lee and Crystal McCrary Anthony (Hyperior) and Family Trust (Dutton) by Amanda Brown, author of Legally Blonde.
Sandi has worked with publishers Dutton/NAL and Dell Publishing (part of the Random House Group). As Senior Acquisitions Editor for Dell/Delacorte and Dell Trade Paperback she acquired and edited major properties, including ten of Danielle Steel's phenomenally successful titles. She has spoken before many writers groups.
Charlotte Cook was cofounder and president of KOMENAR Publishing (link opens in new window) for five years with experience as a published writer, story and acquisition editor, workshop facilitator and book store partner. She is a popular presenter at writers events and writers conferences such as Willamette, East of Eden, Mendocino Coast, San Francisco, Central Coast, and Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, California Writers Club, Jack London and South Carolina Writers Workshop. Charlotte has an MFA in Creative Writing from Saint Mary's College and has brought to publication far more books, articles and stories for a variety of writers than the six award-winning novels she published for KOMENAR. Writers Digest interviewed Charlotte about her publishing philosophy and company in February 2008. Charlotte has teamed up with award-winning screenwriter Jon James Miller to write the book Adapting Sideways: How to Turn Your Screenplay into a Publishable Novel, which was featured and excerpted in a three-page article in Creative Screenwriting Magazine in September 2010 as well as the authors featured at the magazine's 2010 EXPO in LA. Click here to find contact information for Charlotte Cook.
Richard Cook has been the managing partner of Sunrise Bookshop In Berkeley, California, since its inception in 1974. Sunrise is a specialty bookshop which offers quality books in world religions and spiritual traditions and related fields, including psychology, health, new age and the esoteric. As principal buyer for the store and also principal book recommender to many customers for 35 years, he has read and become familiar with a very wide range of spiritual, psychological and esoteric literature, and has a particular fondness for well-written fiction that touches on these fields.
Emily Courtney began her 10 year career in publishing as a freelance writer and fact checker at Delicious Living magazine. In addition to monthly fact checking of every article slated for publication, over the course of several years Emily saw nearly 50 of her articles published in both Delicious Living and Natural Solutions magazines. Following a year-long assignment writing book summaries for a parenting website, Emily made the leap to editing, and hasn't looked back! She currently works as a freelance editor in both book and Internet publishing.
Peter Cyngot has worked as an art director/designer/photographer for agencies, companies and on a freelance basis for more years than he is willing to admit. His experience covers the full gamut of communication design, specializing in print. He teaches classes in basic design principles, and has been involved in publishing from the beginning of his career.
Devon Ellington is a full-time writer, who publishes under a half a dozen names in both fiction and non-fiction, and teaches writing all over the world. Her Jain Lazarus Adventures are handled by Solstice Publishing and her romantic suspense novel, Assumption of Right (as Annabel Aidan) is out with Champagne Books. "Sea Diamond", featuring Fiona Steele, is included in the Death Sparkles anthology, released in Fall 2012. She's published hundreds of stories, articles, speeches, and scripts throughout her career. She provides editing services and private instruction for her international client base. She is on the Board of Directors at the Cape Cod Writers Center. Visit her blog on the writing life, Ink in My Coffee and her website.
Gareth Esersky is an agent, editor, reviewer and author. Formerly an editor at major trade publishing houses, she has been affiliated with the Carol Mann Literary Agency since 1993. Gareth is a reviewer for Publishers Weekly and online, she has co-authored three nonfiction books, and currently serves on the advisory board for the MFA program in Creative Nonfiction at Goucher College, her alma mater. She has worked in the publishing industry for thirty years. The mother of three, she lives in Forest Hills, New York and Southern Berkshire County, Massachusetts.
Mary Ellen Gavin has been making up characters and plots all her life. In love with storytelling, and writers who dare to create, she believes that fiction reaches out to us.
After a twenty-year career in commercial finance pitching high-dollar deals, see bio in Who's Who of American Women of the Century, she escaped to literature. Writing, editing and teaching adults in Fairfax County and NOVA Community College for years.
MEg founded The Writers of Chantilly, an ongoing group in Virginia that publishes themed anthologies yearly. She is also a long time member of Associated Writers Program and Gulf Coast Writers Association. She has partnered with many writers, including Lou Aronica, former CEO of Avon, to create novels and scripts. Studying under Derek Rydall of Script Writers Central, she is a certified Script Consultant now working with young screenwriters and pitching to producers and directors.
Presently Mary Ellen lives in Southern California and feels her mission is to find and cultivate the Stories of Today to insure they become the Classics of Tomorrow.
At age 22, Tag Goulet self-published Sell Yourself!, a book recommended "for all libraries" by a review in the journal of the Canadian Library Association. Over the next decade, Tag taught seminars on book publishing in a dozen cities and served as a book publishing consultant for scores of authors, self-publishers and independent book publishers. She was managing editor of Calgary - A Year in Focus, the official gift book for dignitaries attending the 1988 Winter Olympics, and author of Recipe for Success, a CD-ROM distributed in 65 countries. In 1999, she co-founded FabJob, an award-winning book publishing company whose website, FabJob.com, was named "the #1 place to get published online" by Writer's Digest. In addition to managing FabJob's editorial department, Tag continues to write for other publishers of all sizes. She has contributed to a variety of books including: The Canadian Writer's Guide (the official handbook of the Canadian Authors Association), a USA Today best-seller published by Simon & Schuster, and books published by divisions of Random House and Penguin Group (USA).
Jennifer Gooch Hummer is the award-winning author of her debut novel, Girl Unmoored. A graduate of Kenyon College, Jennifer has worked as a script analyst for William Morris Endeavor, The Academy of Motion Pictures and Triad Artists, as well as independent producers and film studios. She has worked as a freelance editor for Author Solutions and is a mentor for at-risk teens with Writegirl in Los Angeles. Jennifer continued graduate studies in the Writer's Program at UCLA, where she was nominated for the Kirkwood Prize in fiction. Currently, Jennifer lives in Southern California and Maine with her husband and their three daughters.
Beth Kallman-Werner has been a professional editor since the age of 20, and has counseled some of the world's largest companies on global marketing and integrated media. She came to book publishing in 2008 as Director of Marketing & Sales for Kirkus Reviews. Beth has worked with both traditional publishers and indie authors on book marketing and special media projects. In 2010 she launched Author Connections, LLC. Her professional mission is to educate, encourage and empower authors, helping them bring excellent books to hungry readers.
Danelle McCafferty is the co-founder of the Consulting Editors Alliance (opens in new page), a group of highly skilled independent editors, each with a minimum of fifteen years' New York publishing experience. A former senior editor at Bantam Books, as well as an editor at two other houses, she started her own editorial services business, the Writers' Editor, in 1990. She edits a wide variety of fiction and works on all stages of a manuscript, from outline and plot development, to line editing and/or rewriting.
Her clients include both first-time and established authors. Authors she has edited as an independent editor include: Tom Robbins (Villa Incognito and Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates); Peter Clement (Lethal Practice); Liz Curtis Higgs (Here Burns My Candle, winner of the Christy Award, and three other historical novels); Lauren Lipton (It's About Your Husband); John Wareham (Chancey on Top); Kathleen Antrim (Capital Offense); Deborah Leblanc (Family Inheritance); and Frank Peretti (The Oath). While at Bantam, she edited three other novels by Tom Robbins, as well as two historical series by Dana Fuller Ross (twenty-four books, all of which were best-sellers), romantic suspense novels by Nora Roberts and Patricia Matthews, and women's fiction by Janelle Taylor, Iris Johansen, and others.
Danelle has also edited nonfiction books in the areas of negotiating, parenting, self-help, and theater. As editorial director for a packager, she oversaw six highly successful mystery series. The author of two nonfiction books and numerous articles, she is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors. Three of the self-published books she edited have won national awards.
Jennifer McCord is a writer, editor, educator, and publishing consultant in Seattle, Washington. In a career spanning more than 25 years, Jennifer has worked in many areas of the publishing industry - from national book retailers and New York publishers to small presses and self-publishing ventures.
For many years, she has dedicated her experience to the success of the Northwest writing community as advisor to University of Washington extension programs, as president of Seattle Free Lances, and as past president of the Pacific Northwest Writers Assn. She works extensively with writers and publishers through her consulting and certified creativity coaching business, Jennifer McCord Associates.
John M. McDougall has been in the publishing industry for over a decade. He has worked both in an editorial capacity as well as in an operational role including acquisitions and distribution. John is a published poet and an avid reader of historical non-fiction; a hobby he developed following his college years when he studied history with an emphasis on comparative religion.
John was involved from the ground floor up and co-founded the Independent Book Publishing Professionals Group, an organization that aims to promote professional standards in independent book publishing.
Brenna Pearce has worked in the book publishing industry for several years and has written or contributed to dozens of career and business books including the FabJob Guide to Become a Book Editor and FabJob Guide to Become a Bookstore Owner. Previously, she worked in bookstore management. Brenna has degrees in both medieval history and education. Brenna has been a judge of the Next Generation Indie Book Awards each year since inception of the awards program.
Kenneth Salzmann is a writer and poet who has been active in literary publishing and programming for more than thirty years. His poems have appeared in numerous literary journals including Rattle, The Peninsula Review, Memoir (and), The Comstock Review, and CQ, and in anthologies including , , and . He lives in Woodstock, New York. www.ChildOfMyChild.biz
Sheila Seifert has over 1,000 freelance sales, has authored/co-authored twenty books (for children and adults), and teaches English (writing and literature) for various colleges. Sheila is currently the editorial director of a large marriage and parenting magazine and the founder of Simple Literature simpleliterature.com, a curriculum site for second through eighth grade teachers.
Myrsini Stephanides is an agent at the Carol Mann Agency and represents authors of nonfiction (humor, pop culture, quirky reference, popular science, memoir), literary/offbeat adult fiction and YA fiction. Before joining the agency in 2009, she spent 10 years as a nonfiction editor, book doctor and book packager specializing in highly illustrated books. Myrsini was the editor of the Weird travel series (Sterling Publishing), senior editor of The Duke Encyclopedia of New Medicine: Conventional and Alternative Medicine for All Ages (Rodale, 2006) and developmental/series editor of the first three books in the Men's Health Best series (Rodale 2005). She has also collaborated on projects with The Smithsonian, Archaeology magazine and YANKEE Magazine and was a contributing writer to the fifth edition of the Hammond World Atlas (Langenscheidt, 2007).
Leon A. Walker is a published writer of various forms of creative literature. His first collection of poetry and short stories entitled Work Wonders was published in September 2009 and his second, entitled Life Lines was released in November 2010. He is also a member of the American Writers Association.
Mr. Walker has worked in various roles in public as a private sector business executive and is a retired U.S. naval officer. He is a graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida having earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Professional Aeronautics. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, he currently resides in Biloxi, MS. You may find further information on Mr. Walker by visiting his web site at: www.leon-walker.com.
If you are interested in being a judge for the 2014 Next Generation Indie Book Awards, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.