If you published a book in 2022, 2023, or early 2024 (earlier for nonfiction, in our continuing legacy series), you are eligible to enter this year’s book awards. The awards program is open to all. You do not need to be a member to submit a book.

To register and submit your book:

  1. Review the info on this page. Feel free to raise any questions you have with the book awards coordinator.
  2. Have your book and contact details handy before you begin the registration process.
  3. To begin that process, click the Register button below. Fill out the form as directed.
  4. Finish the registration process by submitting your payment online.
  5. Look for and open the email confirming registration. The mailing address for your books is included.
  6. Mail 4 copies of your print book to that address.



Registration Opened
1 Feb 2024

Registration Closed
20 April 2024

Registration Fee:
Entry fee for one book.

Registration for next year
opens February 2025.

The Book Awards at IPNE

Are you an author publishing on your own or working outside conglomerate publishing?

If so, we are looking for you! And you just might be looking for us. Placing as a finalist with a respected book award, or winning it, can help you reach new audiences and markets. It also delivers a satisfying cap to all the hard work that goes into putting out a fine book. 

What do we offer?

Quality and increased visibility. Taking high marks in this awards program is all about the quality of the work, and we celebrate that quality. Winners and finalists receive a digital certificate, a digital seal for the ebook cover, and a quote-worthy paragraph of judging praise. They are showcased on the IPNE website. And they are honored at the online awards ceremony, for an evening spent in celebration of these fine books — a high point for the year’s events. IPNE will also be sending out press releases to select organizations and media.

We care about helping books reach their intended audiences. About recognizing authors who’ve achieved excellence. About highlighting those books for readers.


We accept print books only. You don’t have to be a member to submit a book. You don’t have to live in New England to submit a book. Your book can be author-published, hybrid-published, or traditionally published via small press, independent press, university press, or academic press.

This year’s focus: books with a publication date of 2022, 2023, or early 2024. Submissions close April 20.

This year also, the legacy series swivels to nonfiction. Details below.


Author or publisher can submit the book. To do so, first register with the book’s details as specified in the form (and summarized below), pay the fee ($65), and then mail four print copies to the address you’ll receive with confirmation of registration.

We’ll match your book with three qualified judges drawn from our panel of literary scholars, authors, librarians, developmental editors, booksellers, and other qualified reviewers vetted and selected for this process.

Each book competes within its category, and also for the top prize as Book of the Year. The judging wraps up in late fall. The online awards announcement ceremony follows in January, on the third Saturday. Mark your calendars!

The legacy series continues! This year, with nonfiction

This year, the legacy series will feature nonfiction backlist titles. If you have a nonfiction book published (even if this is not a first, but a subsequent, edition) from 2010 through 2021, you may submit this work as a work of legacy nonfiction.

If the book was published previously, this new version must represent a bona fide new or substantially revised edition. Not a reprint, a rerelease, or a republish. What constitutes a new or revised edition? Enough of a change to the contents so that it’s not quite the same book. Typically, this means significant rewriting and/or restructuring, new material added, outdated material removed, and so on. And of course a new ISBN.

New fiction category

“The Rest of the Stories” is our working title for a new awards category that helps give all novels and short stories a more equal footing. Because fiction isn’t all about, delightful as these two are, genre or literary.

There are whole other worlds out there, summoned up most beautifully on the page. Books that combine or cross genres in ways that extend beyond what’s typical (general, aka mainstream, fiction). Books that seem to have no genre at all, which just means they read like everyday life, really its own “genre” (contemporary fiction). Books with, as is sometimes said, “literary feel, but market appeal” (upmarket fiction).

These varieties can be difficult to pin down and the market categories certainly aren’t hard and fast. But “The Rest of the Stories” category enables books not strictly either genre or literary to find a competitive edge.

Judging criteria

Our judges look at the whole book: the quality of the writing, the quality of the information or story, the quality of the presentation.

Here’s what to have ready for registration

Any major players on the project (designer, illustrator, editors), publisher info, publication date, ISBN. Page count, word count. The book description from the back cover. Your book’s Amazon URL and any other URLs you’d like to include. Other collateral, if you would like. (No book reviews, please!) Info on any potentially sensitive themes. And a high-res image of your book’s front cover.

Some of this information is important for the end game, should your book place or win. Some of it is so that we can better match your book to judges who best represent your target audience. Those are the reviewers you want. And some of it is so that we don’t give your book to anyone who’s worked on it. That would be a Bad, Bad Thing.


Reach out to the book awards coordinator.

Register your book in one of the following categories


Directories, travel guides, how-to, self-help, reference, etc.

Nonfiction that describes, explains, informs — teaches. From overview to in-depth study. From general to niche.

The writing may be straightforward, objective, neutral: “authorless.” Or it may take on more personality, more voice. There may even be narrative features, such as stories, folded within the work. The key is the goal — comprehension of a particular subject — and the organization. By topics, not chronology. By subject matter, not lived experience.



Biography, memoir, nonfiction that tells a story.

Nonfiction that tells a story, whether of a person, an event, a time period. Or that offers personal reflection. Or both.

Narrative nonfiction can incorporate investigative elements, research. And that information threaded into the story will deepen and enrich it, but narrative or reflection (or both) — that is, lived experience — forms the spine, drives the material.

Narrative nonfiction is a sprawling category, encompassing the many ways there are to tell, and reflect upon, true stories. It is eclectic, elastic. Sometimes novelistic, other times essayistic. Sometimes journalistic, sometimes personal.


Fiction that does not fit neatly into a category.

Literary fiction can be difficult to define. There are no typical worlds, no typical plot elements that chacterize it, and for that reason it can sometimes seem to be genre-less — most particularly for realistic stories set in a contemporary landscape. But literary fiction can approach any topic, take on any aspect, masquerade as something else.

This fiction is more about a quality: a concern with language, a focus on character. Where genre fiction will most typically explore how characters solve problems — it’s often this solution-finding that drives the story — literary fiction, by contrast, typically cares more about tracing the intricate swirls and eddies of character-in-crisis. This is one reason literary fiction tends to be less “pacey.”


Mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, inspirational, etc.

Fiction that meets (or sometimes plays on) reader expectations for a certain recognizable category of story. Genres have one or more core features that serve as hallmarks for that genre, features that a story must incorporate to be of a particular genre. (For romance, for example, a happily-ever-after or a happily-for-now ending.)

A particular genre story can also—and to be successful ought to also—break with the more malleable conventions of the genre, surprising readers and reshaping expectations. Contemporary genre fiction often also incorporates features traditionally associated with literary fiction, such as fine language and nuanced characters.


Something other than, or in between,
literary and genre.

For novels or short stories that do not fit neatly into either literary or genre. Books that combine or cross genres in ways that extend beyond what’s typical (general, aka mainstream, fiction), often reaching wider audiences. Books that seem to have no genre at all, that read like everyday life (contemporary fiction). Books with, as is sometimes said, “literary feel, but market appeal” (upmarket, aka book club, fiction).

These varieties can be difficult to pin down and the market categories certainly aren’t hard and fast. But this awards category enables fiction that’s not strictly either genre or literary to find a competitive edge.


Expression in lines and stanzas.

The literary art that is most entwined with, that most accentuates, language. Its rhythm and cadence, its power, its delights. Alliteration, assonance, metaphor, and all the rest. Poetry is inseparable from the language it shapes and that shapes it.

Adult or YA works: If you have one long story told in verse, enter it instead as fiction or narrative nonfiction. By contrast, if you have a collection of poems, even if linked, then enter it as poetry.

Children’s works: If you have a children’s story in verse or a collection of poems for children, enter it as a children’s book. Here, the age group is most important.


Fiction or nonfiction, for 12 and up.
(An age category, not a genre)

Young adult books can be of nearly any genre, any subject. It’s the treatment that differs, with the focus on teens and the particular challenges they face. The category is far from homogenous: there’s a world of change from 12 to 18. Books written for the younger of this range differ markedly from those written for the older.

YA works, particularly those for older teens, can have much the same content as fiction/nonfiction for adults. There are no real content restrictions. It’s how that content is handled that makes it YA.

Note: Young adult is not to be confused with middle grade.


Fiction or nonfiction, for 12 and under.
(An age category, not a genre)

Picture books (ages 3–8), early readers (ages 5–8), middle grade literature (ages 8 to 12). Although these very different sorts of books all compete with one another in this combined awards category, each is judged on its merits with respect to its own age group.

Children’s books can wander over various subjects, as appropriate for the age: content, treatment, and reading level are key.

Note: Middle grade is not to be confused with young adult.

Do you edit, review, or otherwise
evaluate books?

Have questions about the program
or process?

About The Book Awards at IPNE

The Book Awards at IPNE honors small, academic, and independent presses and the authors who publish traditionally or independently within this sphere. Winning an award or being named a finalist not only brings with it a sense of personal validation but provides enhanced opportunities for promoting and marketing your book as well.

The hosting organization, the Independent Publishers of New England, is a community of authors, booksellers, and other publishing professionals who collaborate to help each other learn and succeed in the field of independent book publishing.


All submissions will be held to basic publishing standards with respect to attributes such as length and legibility. The team reserves the right to combine, divide, or otherwise modify award categories so as to remain nimble and true with respect to submissions. In some years, there may be additional award categories that do not appear in other years. Awards are granted based on judging scores and evaluation. The process is not relativistic. For this reason, a particular category in a particular year may lack finalists or a winner. Or may, by contrast, have two winners.

The book awards program is coordinated and managed independently of the hosting organization, and all judging is undertaken by an independent panel of professionals. IPNE’s board of directors has no visibility into, nor is it directly involved with, any of the details or proceedings. The awards coordinator acts as liaison to the board around all things awards.