Matt SutherlandHoward LovyVictoria Champagne-SutherlandLike parenting, independent publishing isn’t something you do for the recognition and the rewards. And just like Moms and Dads anywhere, indie publishers will forego dividends for their own hard work so long as their progeny get along in the world.

At the recently-concluded American Library Association annual conference in Las Vegas, independent and university presses celebrated wins for their 2013 titles in the IndieFab Book of the Year Awards. From over 1500 entries in 60 categories, judges chose the best titles in fiction as well as non-fiction, and named a Publisher of the Year.

Foreword Reviews MagazineForeword Reviews Magazine, the only national trade review journal devoted exclusively to independent presses, created the IndieFab awards. The magazine’s editorial team shared with CCC’s Chris Kenneally the inside story on what makes an indie book “IndieFab.”

Victoria Champagne-Sutherland is publisher and founder of Foreword Reviews. Veteran journalist Howard Lovy is executive editor; he directs news coverage and analysis on Foreword’s website as well as Foreword’s Clarion book-review service. And Matt Sutherland is managing editor; he oversees the book selection process leading to the feature articles and reviews appearing in the magazine.

“Out of the entries, we cull 15 to 20 of the top books, based on our experience reviewing and seeing books come in on a daily basis at the office. After about 60 days of culling those books in-house, we send one copy to a librarian and one copy to a bookseller,” Victoria Sutherland explains. “We really think that that’s what sets our awards program apart from others— you’re getting feedback from actual buyers of books, and people who are interacting with clients and patrons at libraries.”

Founded in 1998, Foreword – as in the preface or introduction to a book – is a quarterly print journal distributed to 10,000 librarians and booksellers, and available in 350 Barnes and Noble stores across the country. The magazine has headquarters in Traverse City, Michigan, in a landmark building that was formerly a cigar box factory.

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