Yippee! Marshall won an IPPY!
Let me apologize in advance for the shameless self-promotion, back-patting and horn tooting that’s about to follow. But if you’ll bear with me, there’s a larger issue on the other side of all the “atta boy!”s and “hell yeah!”s that I want to talk about.
But first things first. Way back in January, I entered PJ Marshall in the 2013 Independent Publisher Book Awards, or “IPPYs”. Since I was brand new to the book marketing and promotion scene, I was googling ways to get PJ’s name (and mine) in front of more readers. What I found was a ton of literary awards, fiction contests, book blogs, review sites and the like—so many that my brain overheated from trying to process them all. However, a few of these—including the IPPYs—kept filtering through all the web chatter as being not only legitimate, but somewhat prestigious as well. So I filled out the forms and mailed a copy of Marshall to the judges and waited.
In the meantime, I entered a contest on Amazon—their Breakthrough Novel Award—with a grand prize of $50,000 and a publishing contract. Confident in my inevitable victory, I promptly spent the fifty grand on a down payment on a cabin in upstate New York. I named it “The Brian J. Anderson Institute for Literary Genius” and planned to use it as a writer’s retreat when I was flown in to visit my agent in Manhattan.
You know how that story ends, right?
So you can imagine how excited I was when I found out last week that Marshall had won a silver medal in the Suspense/Thriller category of the IPPYs. Excited, honored, humbled, amazed, validated, you name it. No, it’s not a Pulitzer. But for a new self-published author, it’s in the neighborhood. See all the categories and winners here.
(toot, toot. pat, pat.)
But as notorious downer and ‘Family Guy’ character actor Buzz Killington would say…”BFD.”
Well, for a lot of indie authors, this kind of recognition is a really BFD. According to R.R. Bowker, (the exclusive agency issuing ISBNs to books published in the U.S.) the number of self-published books produced in the U.S. has grown 287% since 2006 to around 235,000 titles per year. Some good, some not so much. And this is on top of books published by the “big 5” New York publishers and the countless other independent and university presses. By some estimates, U.S. authors are churning out as many as half a million titles a year. I’ve got some reading to catch up on.
Since the books coming from the established houses have theoretically been “screened” by agents, editors, copy editors and the like, readers can feel reasonably safe parting with their disposable income for one of their books. One of the persistent criticisms of self-publishing (rightly so, to some extent) is the lack of this quality control. Anyone with a word processor and a wifi connection can get published. How do readers find something worth reading in this “slush pile”? How do the gems hidden inside get noticed? (toot toot)
With help from groups like Independent Publisher. According to their website, IP is
“…a trade journal for the independent publishing community, specializing in marketing and promotion for independent authors and publishers…Independent Publisher publishes new title listings of books released by self-publishers, independent, and university presses in order to bring increased recognition to the thousands of great — and often overlooked — independently published titles released each year. We sponsor the annual Independent Publisher Book Awards (aka The IPPYs) for the same reason.”
And IP calls the IPPY awards in particular
“…a broad-based, unaffiliated awards program open to all members of the independent publishing industry. The awards are intended to bring increased recognition to the thousands of exemplary independent, university, and self-published titles produced each year, and reward those who exhibit the courage, innovation, and creativity to bring about change in the world of publishing.”
For me and the other 234,999, that’s a pretty sweet FD. If you’re looking for a good read, your chances are good among this year’s IPPY medalists.
Thanks for reading!
P.S. I didn’t mean to “like” my own blog posting below. I was thinking I was going to like someone else’s comment. Now I can’t figure out how to get rid of my self-serving “like”. I’m vain, but not that vain. If anyone knows how to delete this, your help would be much appreciated.