Friday, September 18, 2015

National Book Awards: No Indies

It's happened again: another award another troubling result: the National Book Awards fiction longlist contains no Indie books:

Jesse Ball, “A Cure for Suicide”
Pantheon Books/Penguin Random House

Bill Clegg, “Did You Ever Have a Family”
Scout Press/Simon & Schuster

Karen E. Bender, “Refund”
Soft Skull/Counterpoint Press

Angela Flournoy, “The Turner House”
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Lauren Groff, “Fates and Furies”
Riverhead Books/Penguin Random House

Adam Johnson, “Fortune Smiles”
Random House/Penguin Random House

T. Geronimo Johnson, “Welcome to Braggsville”
William Morrow/HarperCollins

Edith Pearlman, “Honeydew”
Little, Brown/Hachette Book Group

Hanya Yanagihara, “A Little Life”
Doubleday/Penguin Random House

Nell Zink, “Mislaid”
The Ecco Press/HarperCollins

Surely some Indie writer somewhere penned a tome that should have found its way onto the list. But wait, there's a catch: Indie publishers are eligible IF they have published the works of other authors. The full eligibility text is here:


Each April, the Foundation sends the official National Book Awards guidelines and entry forms to the publishers in its master database. Those publishers who do not receive the materials automatically can call or email the Foundation to request a copy. Authors cannot submit their books themselves; they must have their publishers contact us directly. However, the guidelines are always available for informational purposes

In order to be eligible for the Award, a book must be written by an American citizen and published by an American publisher between December 1 of the previous year and November 30 of the current year. Self-published books are only eligible if the author/publisher publishes the work of other authors in addition to his own. Books published through services such as iUniverse are not eligible for the Award."


Did any Indie writers make it onto the long longlist? Or even the long long longlist?

Are there other Indies out there who, with me, would like to form a publishing co-op with an eye toward entering the NBA next year?

Just saying.

1 comment:

Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt said...


It's annoying to work long and hard, and think you have something unique AND well-written, and then to find you're not even qualified to submit to the prize committees.

I swear if I hadn't been such a newbie last year (Pride's Children was published Oct. 28, 2015), and I hadn't been so afraid of missing the last deadlines, and also so ignorant of the process, it would have been perfect.

Only you can prevent... (sorry, that's the old Smokey the Bear slogan). Only you can decide whether you like my kind of writing (of which there's an adequate sample on Amazon's Look Inside, and it's in KU), but, darn it, it would have worked perfectly.

My kind of incredibly slow writing (illness, not laziness or inability to make a decision) and inability to count on myself means I'll never be able to send out a galley (the Pulitzer committee lets you do that) or take pre-orders, because I can't promise I'll satisfy them. But if you get a coop working like you mention, at least think of me.