On November 4, 2017, about fifty of us gathered in the basement of the Robbins Library in Arlington, MA, to present the 2017 IPNE (Independent Publishers of New England) Book Awards. The ceremony celebrated independently published works in nine categories, plus the IPNE Book of the Year. I was a judge in the contest, and I was delighted to meet some of the authors whose books I'd had the pleasure of reading.
I was also a panelist for the publishing workshop before the ceremony, joining Eddie Vincent (Encircle Publications), Mellisa Sherlin (Writers Business School), Glenn C. Koenig (Message Rain), and Charlotte Pierce (Pierce Press) to discuss all aspects of self-publishing. For my part, I explained when it's time to hire an editor, the various stages of editing, how much you're likely to pay, and how to find the right professional for your project. The panelists agreed that self-publishing requires a team: beta readers, editors, designers, printers and publishers, marketers — and not least, tolerant friends and family.
Indie authors write because they yearn to externalize a story that's often haunted them for years, in various forms. Their books are expressions of their bravery and perseverance. I cheered each winner and finalist, as well as for everyone who entered the contest, for their courage to commit to a process that can be mystifying, intimidating, even painful — all without the promise of monetary gain or public adulation. What better way to spend a Saturday afternoon?