Every year, the Independent Publishers of New England runs its book awards program with the aim of recognizing some of the best in recent independent publishing. These are awards that serve the industry by rewarding publishers and authors for exemplary work and providing readers another means of navigating an increasingly noisy marketplace.


Registration Open

Registration Ends
20 April 2023

Registration Fee:
Per Book – $45.00
Entry fee for one book.


Along with the personal satisfaction that comes with winning a respected book award, finalists enjoy many other benefits.

All finalists are showcased on the IPNE website. They receive a 2023 IPNE Book Award e-medallion for display on social media channels, websites, and marketing materials. And they are honored at the annual book awards ceremony, a high point for the year’s events.

How it works

We accept print books only. You do not need to be a member of IPNE to submit a book. You do not need to live in New England to submit a book. Your book can be author-published, hybrid-published, or traditionally published.

To submit your book, register with the book’s details (author, publisher, publication date, page count, and so on, as specified in the form), pay the fee ($45), 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 awards ceremony follows in January. 

About those categories

For more info on the awards categories, see the descriptions listed below. 

Is your book a work of fiction? 

Help us better match it to judges by filling out this form. With this information, we’ll be looking to fine-tune its category.

What info should you have ready?

Any major contributors, the publisher, ISBN, page count, word count. You can let us know about any potentially sensitive themes, so that we can better match your book to judges that best represent your target audience. And you can include additional marketing materials, such as a press release, if you would like. (No book reviews, please!) All that helps us to ensure a good match. 

Judging criteria

Our judges look at the whole book. Though the substance of the book is given the most weight, they consider as well how professional and to industry-standard is the outside (cover, front and back) and the inside (the book layout). 

For the design award, nothing of the content is considered. Only the book itself as a designed product. 


Reach out to the IPNE book awards coordinator


Read about last year’s IPNE Book Award winners!

If you have a book with a publication date of 2021, 2022, or 2023, you are eligible to enter the 10th Annual IPNE Book Awards. Scroll down for categories and full details!

The fee is $45 per title.

Registration includes one of the following categories

for each book entered.

Entry Process & Information

  • Prepare your book detail and contact info beforehand.
  • If your book is a novel (or a short story collection), fill out the Deeper Dive form for fiction.
  • Register online (click the Register button, above left).
  • Submit your payment via online registration.
  • Look for the mailing address included in the confirmation note.
  • Mail four copies of your print book to IPNE. Three will be sent to judges. One is retained as a reference copy.

    To submit a book for both an editorial award (categories 1 through 9) and the design award, you will need to submit that book twice. The design judges will need their copies as well.

If you have questions or would like to volunteer to help with this event, please email talktous@ipne.org.




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

Nonfiction that informs—and that is organized purely to inform—such as directories, travel guides, how-to’s, self-help, reference, and so on. Informational fiction may include short narratives, typically by way of illustration, but narrative does not itself drive the structure or inform the content. The content instead is organized by topic: a standard travel guide, for example, as contrasted with a travel memoir. Enter nonfiction as either narrative or informational, not both.


Biography, memoir, nonfiction that tells a story.

Nonfiction that tells a story, whether of a person (biography or memoir), an event (as with literary journalism), a time period (as with a history), or something else. The subject matter may inform the story, but narrative drives it. Narrative forms the spine: the overarching structure is that of chronology, cause and effect, events and changes that unfold over time. The story is structured by progress through hours or days or weeks or years, not topic. Enter nonfiction as either narrative or informational, not both.


Written as literary work, does not fit the traditional formulas of genre fiction.

Fiction that does not fit neatly into the traditional formulas of genre. That favors rich language, nuanced characters, and sometimes also experimental strategies or form. That tends to concern itself with the human condition. For a “hybrid novel,” one that seems to extend the framework of genre into the realm of the literary, enter your novel as one or the other, based on the novel’s strongest attributes.


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

Fiction that meets (or sometimes plays on) reader expectations for a certain category of story: mystery/crime, romance, historical, science fiction, fantasy, and so on. Genres have one or more core features that serve as hallmarks for that genre, features which 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 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.


A graphic novel incorporates sequential
art to tell a story.

A story told in pictures as much as words, whether fiction or nonfiction, whether genre or literary, whether for adults or teens. Unlike comic books, graphic novels are generally stand-alone stories with more complex plots.


Expression in lines and stanzas.

For our purposes, collections of poems for teens or adults. Adult or YA works: If you have one long story told in verse, enter it instead as fiction or narrative nonfiction. 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. If you have a collection of poems, for an adult or YA market, then enter it as poetry.


Fiction or nonfiction, for 12 and up.

Of nearly any genre, nearly any subject. What distinguishes YA as a category is the focus on teens and their particular concerns. Some YA books are written with the younger teens in mind, some the older. Young adult is not to be confused with middle grade.


Fiction or nonfiction, for 12 and under.

Three standard categories: picture book (ages 3–8), early reader (ages 5–8), middle grade (ages 8 to 12). Children’s books can wander over various subjects, as appropriate for the age group. Content, treatment, and reading level are key in these categories.


 A large, high-quality book of illustrations and/or photographs meant for casual reading.

Large format, visually rich. A book in which the design and visuals are as significant as the substance, if not more so. The book provides a showcase for its content: it’s a feast for the eyes


Both interior and exterior design.

This category stands apart from the others: only the design (both exterior and interior) is evaluated. Nothing of the substance of the book. This category most typically applies to books with an emphasis on the visual—a beautifully designed and illustrated picture book, for example, or books with the format of a coffee table or art book—but any well-designed book is a candidate for submission.


About the Independent Publishers of New England (IPNE)

The Independent Publishers of New England (IPNE) is an organization of professionals, authors, and companies who collaborate to help each other learn and succeed in the independent book publishing field.

The IPNE Book Awards continue to be a favorite of IPNE members and other indie publishers. Winning a book award or being named a finalist not only brings a sense of personal validation but provides countless opportunities for promoting and marketing your book.


Depending on the number of submissions for a category, IPNE reserves the right to combine, divide, or otherwise modify the award categories. In the event that categories for a particular genre are added, consolidated, or eliminated, submission(s) will be judged in the category or categories most relevant. Books that have been submitted miscategorized will not be judged in the categories that do not apply. All entries will be held to basic publishing standards with respect to length and legibility. Entries that clearly violate such standards will be disqualified. IPNE’s Book Awards are facilitated by a volunteer committee made up of IPNE members and governed by the IPNE Board of Directors.