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I am honored and humbled to announce that my young adult fantasy, Bobby Ether and the Jade Academy, was just named a finalist for the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) 2019 Benjamin Franklin Award for Fiction: Teen 13-18. The book is guaranteed to win at least silver in this category, with the potential to win the gold medal during the online award ceremony scheduled for May 2020.

Here is the official press release from the IBPA:

The Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) Reveals the Best 164 Independently Published Books of 2019

164 unique books representing the breadth and diversity of indAWaependent publishing honored as finalists in the 32nd annual IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award™ program.

(Manhattan Beach, CA – March 19, 2020) — Today, the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) – – announced finalists in the prestigious IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards™ program, the association’s flagship award program recognizing excellence and innovation in independent publishing for 32 years.

In May 2020, one finalist in each of the fifty-five categories will be named a Gold winner during a special online announcement. The remaining finalists in each category will become Silver winners.

Click here to access the full list of 32nd annual finalists.

Representing the breadth and diversity of independent publishing nationwide, finalists in each of the fifty-five categories include such titles as The Official Downton Abbey Cookbook (Weldon Owen, an imprint of Insight Editions), Why Women Hunt (Wild River Press), Art in the White House (The White House Historical Association), It’s Okay to Say “They”: Tips for Educator Allies of Transgender and Nonbinary Students (Dave Burgess Consulting), and A Textile Traveler’s Guide to Guatemala (Thrums Books).

Other finalists include: Out of the Shadow of 9/11: An Inspiring Tale of Escape and Transformation (Loving All Nations Press), The Disruption Mindset: Why Some Organizations Transform While Others Fail (Ideapress Publishing),  Why Do They Hate Us? Making Peace with the Muslim World (Top Reads Publishing), and The Interactive Constitution: Explore the Constitution with Flaps, Wheels, Color-Changing Words, and More! (Bushel & Peck Books).

“Winning an IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award says to bookstores, reviewers, and readers, ‘This is one of the best books published in this category and it deserves to be noticed’,” said Patagonia Books publisher and incoming IBPA Board Chair Karla Olson. “The finalists, which reflect the highest standards of professionalism and attention to detail, celebrate the innovation and diversity coming out of today’s independent publishing community.”

Added IBPA COO Terry Nathan, “I started managing the IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award program in the early 90s and each year I’m amazed at the improvement in quality of books over the previous year. Since the beginning, IBPA has challenged independent publishers to compete at the highest level. That challenge is being met through this program. Independent publishing is alive and well.”

Over 160 volunteer librarians, booksellers, and design and editorial experts – most of whom have decades of book industry experience – judged the 1,697 entries submitted to the IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award program. The judging process took seven months, beginning in September 2019 and continuing into March 2020. At the end of the process, all 1,697 entrants will be given a written critique from each of the three judges who reviewed the book.

“The first time I entered one of my company’s In 30 Minutes guides for consideration in the IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award program, we didn’t win the Gold or Silver,” said i30 Media Corp founder and former IBPA Board Member Ian Lamont, “But we got something even more valuable from the process: critical feedback from design and editorial judges letting us know exactly what worked … and what didn’t. My team took that advice to heart, and since then we have not only won several ‘Bennies,’ but have also created books that convey a sense of professionalism and publishing excellence to readers.”

The call to enter the 33rd annual IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award™ program (for books with a copyright date of 2020) will open in May 2020 . Visit the official IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award website to learn more.