Vancouver - Independent Book Publishing Professionals Group (IBPPG) has named the best indie books of 2021.
The books are winners of the 2021 Next Generation Indie Book Awards, the largest international book awards program for independent publishers and self-published authors. The winners and finalists will be honored June 25 in an online event which will stream live on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/NextGenerationIndieBookAwards at 7:00 pm (Eastern Time) and 4:00 pm (Pacific Time).
A video of last year's event has been viewed more than 93,000 times on Facebook. The awards event was originally planned to take place at Chicago's Newberry Library, to coincide with the American Library Association Annual Conference, but was moved online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
2021 is the 14th year of the largest international book awards program. This year's Gold Sponsor is MindStir Media, an award-winning self-publishing company that helps people from all walks of life self-publish, distribute and market their books. Outskirts Press, an award-winning independent book publisher which provides services for self-publishing authors, returns as a Silver Sponsor of this year's awards.
The Next Generation Indie Book Awards are judged by leaders of the indie book publishing industry, including many with long careers at major publishing houses. Their love of a great read and experience in the publishing arena identify books deserving a wider audience.
In an article at CNN.com titled If it's cool, creative, and different, it's indie, journalist Catherine Andrews wrote: "The term 'indie' traditionally refers to independent art – music, film, literature or anything that fits under the broad banner of culture – created outside of the mainstream and without corporate financing." That definition remains true for book publishing.
Independent book publishing companies are independent of the major conglomerates dominating the book publishing industry. Indies include small presses, larger independent publishers, university presses, e-book publishers, and self-published authors.
According to Catherine Goulet, Founder and Co-Chair of the Next Generation Indie Book Awards, "Like other independent artists, many indie book publishers face challenges that the industry giants don't experience. The indies have to work much harder to get their best books into readers' hands."
"Authors and publishers who compete in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards are serious about promoting their books," adds Goulet. "They aim to stand out from the crowd of millions of books in print."
According to the most recent (October 2019) report by Bowker, publisher of the Books in Print database, the number of titles self-published in the United States grew to over 1.6 million in 2018, an increase of 40% over the previous year. "This trend is likely to continue as the quality of many self-published works now rivals that of traditionally published titles," according to the report.
Worldwide, as of 2021, the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) estimates more than 2.7 million books are now being published in a single year.
To help indie authors and publishers reach a wider audience, the top 70 books in the 2021 Next Generation Indie Book Awards will be reviewed by New York literary agent Marilyn Allen of Allen O'Shea Literary Agency, or one of Ms. Allen's co-agents, for possible representation in areas such as: distribution, foreign rights, film rights, and other rights.
The top prize-winning books in the 2021 Next Generation Indie Book Awards are:
First Place Winner ($1,500 Prize)
Anonymous Is a Woman: A Global Chronicle of Gender Inequality, by Nina Ansary, Illustrated by Petra Dufkova (Revela Press)
Second Place Winner ($750 Prize)
New Zealand Karst - A voyage across limestone landscapes into the subterranean realm of caves, by Max Wisshak and Stefanie Wisshak (speleo-photo editions)
Third Place Winner ($500 Prize)
Let's Talk About It: The Art, the Artists and the Racial Justice Movement on Madison's State Street, Editor Adam Schrager, Project Director Nyra Jordan, Designer Ian Chalgren (American Family Mutual Insurance Institute for Corporate and Social Impact)
First Place Winner ($1,500 Prize)
Sapphire the Great and the Meaning of Life, by Beverley Brenna, Illustrated by Tara Anderson (Pajama Press)
Second Place Winner ($750 Prize)
Death's Door, by April White (Corazon Entertainment)
Third Place Winner ($500 Prize)
Seeing Ceremony, by Meera Ekkanath Klein (Homebound Publications)
Top books were named as winners and finalists in over 70 publishing categories ranging from Action/Adventure to Young Author.
A complete list of 2021 winners and finalists is available at the Next Generation Indie Book Awards website at www.indiebookawards.com.
Visually stunning and captivating, Anonymous Is a Woman: A Global Chronicle of Gender Inequality, by Nina Ansary, Illustrated by Petra Dufkova (Revela Press) takes readers on a powerful 4,000-year historic journey challenging stereotypes and advancing the case for equality. Gorgeous illustrations complement compelling text about women's achievements. Included here are fifty "forgotten" female innovators in science, the arts, politics, medicine, philosophy, and more. Clearly showing many ways in which women have shaped the world we have today, this book is a tour de force.
Karst landscapes, among the most bizarre on our planet, are featured in the spectacular New Zealand Karst - A voyage across limestone landscapes into the subterranean realm of caves, by Max Wisshak and Stefanie Wisshak (speleo-photo editions). Breathtaking photographs, illuminating illustrations, and accessible scientific text engage the reader in learning about this multi-faceted world. From alpine, grassland, and jungle to two-million-year-old caves, with creatures like glowworms and features like Māori rock art, this book is a wonder.
Let's Talk About It: The Art, the Artists and the Racial Justice Movement on Madison's State Street, Editor Adam Schrager, Project Director Nyra Jordan, Designer Ian Chalgren (American Family Mutual Insurance Institute for Corporate and Social Impact) is raw and real. This gripping and gorgeous book showcases more than 100 murals created primarily by artists of color in the aftermath of George Floyd's murder. Commissioned by the City of Madison, on storefronts provided by business owners, the artists' powerful works are featured in beautiful photos, accompanied by many of the artists' photos and statements. It is a moving and important book for our times.
Sapphire the Great and the Meaning of Life, by Beverley Brenna, Illustrated by Tara Anderson (Pajama Press) is clever, funny, and endearing. This story for both children and adults ranked as the most original and meaningful of fiction books this year. Yes, its pages number less than 200, and they come illustrated. But so do the magical books of Amy Tan, Shel Silverstein and others who bring life to characters, stories, and family life that open worlds for us that we retain year after year. Readers will feel the same connection with Sapphire the Great and her search for the Meaning of Life.
Successful derivative fiction or storytelling must come from an imaginative mind of an author who lets the story flow away from its source material. Otherwise, readers are quick to say, "Ah, interesting, but not as good as the original." Death's Door, by April White (Corazon Entertainment) comes from that place that starts with Poe then goes its own way to create nothing seemingly derivative. This story has great characters, and a story that sucks the reader into its depths.
An Indian mother wants her daughter married, so she arranges opportunities for the daughter to "see" a possible husband. This dance of mother and daughter is the subject of the book Seeing Ceremony, by Meera Ekkanath Klein (Homebound Publications). This lovely book gives insight into how an Indian mother and daughter might proceed. It also gives non-Indian readers a chance to understand another culture and to find the way in which another culture does what all do in seeking marriage for its daughters.
This year's awards event will be streamed live online, and the public is welcome to watch. To see the 2021 Next Generation Indie Book Awards Presentation, visit https://www.facebook.com/NextGenerationIndieBookAwards at 7:00 pm (Eastern Time) and 4:00 pm (Pacific Time) on Friday, June 25.
Marilyn Allen has over 25 years of sales and marketing experience, including serving as Senior Vice President, Associate Publisher, and Director of Marketing for Harper Collins and directing sales and marketing teams for Simon & Schuster, Penguin Books and Avon Books. Ms. Allen has worked with many best-selling authors including Stephen King, Ken Follett, Barbara Kingsolver, John Gray, Mary Higgins Clark, and many more.
The aim of Independent Book Publishing Professionals Group is to promote professional standards in independent book publishing (also known as "indie" book publishing) and provide support and recognition for the independent book publishing profession.
Entries are now being accepted for the 2022 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. The awards are open to books released in 2020, 2021, or 2022 from independent authors and publishers worldwide. Visit www.indiebookawards.com for information.
Next Generation Indie Book Awards is proudly affiliated with Next Generation Indie Film Awards – a not-for-profit awards program for film, devoted to supporting filmmakers around the globe by recognizing excellence in filmmaking. To learn more and enter a film in the 2022 awards, visit https://indiefilmawards.co.