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June 10, 2019
Matia Burnett

BookCon was the place to be for indie authors. On June 1 at the Javits Center, author Jennifer L. Armentrout (If There's No Tomorrowand Amy Edelman, founder of IndieReader, an organization that promotes and supports the self-publishing community, announced the winners of the 9th annual “IndieReader Discovery Awards” (IRDA). The awards are designed to benefit indie authors by providing them access to writing and publishing professionals who can help them hone their craft and to find publishing opportunities.

Edelman believes that agents and publishers are seeking indie authors, but discoverability can be a major impediment for authors looking to have their work noticed: “With the rush by traditional publishers to sign them and their noteworthy bestselling status, there’s no longer much doubt that indie authors can be both commercially and creatively successful. All that was left to do was create a credible vehicle by which to find them. That’s where the IRDAs come in,” Edelman said.

 The judges serving on the IRDA panel include book editors and designers, reviewers, and other publishing professionals.  Awards are presented to three winners within the fiction and nonfiction categories, with two additional awards for "Best First Book" and "Best Cover Design." Awards are also presented in 32 categories across multiple genres. 

In the fiction category, author Ayn Cates Sullivan won first place for her book, Heroines of Avalon & Other Tales. In second place was Michael Warner, who won for his collection of works by the late author Lyle Saxon, A Lyle Saxon Reader: Lost Stories of the French Quarter and Buried Treasure. The third place winner for fiction was Olivia Rana, for Elastic Girl. The award for Best First Book (Fiction) went to Christopher Pickert for Year of the Amphibian.

 Nonfiction prizes went to Toby Neal for Freckled: A Memoir of Growing up Wild in Hawaii; to Rosemary Lombardy for Breaking Bonds: How to Divorce an Abuser and Heal; and to Genevieve Layman for Gather & Make: Plant-Based Projects For All Seasons. Diana Thomas and Stacey Boyle won the Best First Book (Nonfiction) award for Be More Strategic in Business. Finally, the prizes for book covers were given to Ted Neill for Jamhuri, Njambi & Fighting Zombies and Ted Neill for Two Years of Wonder.

 Edelman and IndieReader are making good on the promise to connect indie writers with the right publishing professionals. The top 6 IndieReader Discovery Award winners will be submitted to Dystal, Goderich & Bourret to be considered for representation.  "And even for those books that don’t win the IRDAs, a verdict is provided that authors can use in their marketing materials,” says Edelman. “As the IRDAs enter their 10th year, we continually strive to find new ways to draw attention to indie authors and their books, via new sponsors, judges, and prizes.”