Announcing the Winners of the 2020 “IndieReader Discovery Awards”

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The 10th Annual IRDA Winners Are Revealed

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“With the rush by traditional publishers to sign them and their noteworthy bestselling status, there’s no longer much doubt that indie authors can be both commercially and creatively successful."

Today, in lieu of an announcement at the cancelled BookCon in NYC, Amy Edelman, founder of IndieReader, announced the winners of the 10th annual “IndieReader Discovery Awards” (IRDA).

With sponsors including Amazon, Reedsy, Smith Publicity and Featherlite, IndieReader created the IRDAs to give indie authors access to people who can make a difference in their book’s success. Says Edelman, “With the rush by traditional publishers to sign them and their noteworthy bestselling status, there’s no longer much doubt that indie authors can be both commercially and creatively successful. All that was left to do was create a credible vehicle by which to find them. That’s where the IRDAs come in.”

While writing a great book is the first step, getting it in front of the right people—be they readers or agents—is also a critical part of making an indie book a success. To that end, judges on the IRDA panel include PR and publishing professionals, editors, book designers, professional reviewers and more. Winners will have their titles submitted to New York City literary agents Dystel, Goderich & Bourret for representation consideration.

Judging is based on the quality of writing, editing and the originality of the story.

There was a first, second and third place winner for fiction and non-fiction categories, 32 category winners and two winners each for BEST FIRST BOOK and BEST COVER DESIGN (for fiction and non-fiction).

The winners, judges, the genre and the authors contact information follows below.


First Place

H. K. Boughazian/ Hidden Gems: Quest for the Great Diamond
Genre: Children's Action/Adventure (Early to intermediate readers)

Second Place

Doug Wilhelm/ Street of Storytellers
Genre: Young Adult

Third Place

Geoffrey M Cooper/ Nondisclosure
Genre: Mystery/Suspense/Thriller


First Place

Isabel Sun Chao and Claire Chao/ Remembering Shanghai
Genres: Memoir, History

Second Place

Aaron J. Wright / Daisy Has Autism
Genre: Memoir

Third Place

Adam L. Saenz / The EQ Intervention
Genres: Psychology/Mental Health, Parenting (Child Care/Family)


Best First Book (Fiction) - Jim and Stephanie Kroepfl / Merged

Best First Book (Non-Fiction) - Augustine Sheriff, L.A. Mitchell / The Nature of Shadows: An African Memoir

Best Book Cover (Fiction) – CL Walters / Swimming Sideways

Best Book Cover (Non-Fiction) - Michael K Dane / HomoAmerican

Action/Adventure - Thom Ring / Henry Hits the Ball
Aging/Death & Dying - Barbara Rubel/But I Didn't Say Goodbye
Aging/Death & Dying - Karen Trench/ Love Loss Light
Anthology - Keren Taylor/ This Moment: Bold Voices from WriteGirl
Biography - Robert C Bogison / Up-Close & Personal In-Country
Business - Ronald B Beach / The Virtual Divide
Chick Lit - Anne Pfeffer / What We Do For Love
Children's (Board books and Pre-reading) - Teresa Traver/ Spooky and the Gargoyle
Children's (Early to intermediate readers) - D.L. Murphy / The Warrior Princess
Education - Glenn Nystrup/ Anger in the Classroom
Environment - Cindy Klement/ Your Body's Environmental Chemical Burden
Erotica - Virginia Ford/ Polarity
Fantasy - AK Faulkner / Jack of Thorns
LGBTQ+ (Fiction) - Madison Lux / Lila and Lucas
LGBTQ+ (Non-Fiction) - Kergan Edwards-Stout/Never Turn Your Back on the Tide
Health/Medicine/Nutrition - Michelle Melendez/ End Dieting Hell
Historical Fiction - Kenneth D Tentarelli / The Advisor: Intrigue in Tuscany
Historical Romance - Nancy Yeager/ Two Scandals Are Better Than One
History - Tadeusz Haska + Stefanie Naumann / How Languages Saved Me
Horror - Mark Milbrath / The Pumpkin Room
How-To - Herb Thompson / The Transition Mission
Humor – Joao Cerqueira / Jesus and Magdalene
Inspirational/Spiritual - Anne Uglum / Graffiti Messages from God
Literary Fiction - Cassandra Malcolm/ Turmoil
Memoir - Mary Dunnewold/ Fine, Thanks: Stories from the Cancerland Jungle
Mystery/Suspense/Thriller - SL Beaumont/ Shadow of Doubt
New Adult - Kerri McLoone/ My Name Is Not Alexa Pearce
Paranormal - Susan Z Ritz/ A Dream to Die For
Parenting (Child Care/Family) - Shana Lynn Schmidt/ Over Our Hearts
Poetry - Carlos Andrés Gómez/ Hijito
Politics/Current Events - Cary D. Lowe/ Becoming American: A Political Memoir
Pop Culture - Brandy Isadora/ Tattle Tales: Tattoo Stories and Portraits
Popular Fiction - Chad Alan Gibbs/ The Rome of Fall
Popular Fiction - Mike Murphey/ Section Roads
Psychology/Mental Health - Eli N. Weintraub / Frida and Me
Psychology/Mental Health – Deborah Winograd, Beth Cohen/ Workaches
Religion - Anthony Maranise / Cross of a Different Kind: Cancer & Christian Spirituality
Religion - Solomon Katz/ Where Thoughts and Stories End: Verses on Eternal Truth
Romance - G.K. Brady/ Taming Beckett
Science Fiction - W.G. Hladky/ The Book of Ruin
Self-Help - Justin Patton/ Bold New You
Sexuality/Relationships - Paul Gaughan/ Romance... Push The On Button
Short Stories - Terry Connell/ A Little Chatter
Sports/Fitness/Recreation - Michael Matthews/ Thinner Leaner Stronger
True Crime - Janice Hisle/ SUBMERGED
Women's Issues- Christine Ristaino/ All the Silent Spaces
Writing/Publishing - Edwin Wong/ The Risk Theatre Model of Tragedy
Young Adult – C. R. Stewart/ Britfield and the Lost Crown
Young Adult – Jonathan Maas/ The Litter


The top 6 winning titles will be submitted to Dystel, Goderich & Bourret for representation consideration

Joel Friedlander, THE BOOK DESIGNER
Maria D'Marco, REEDSY
Mercy Pilkington, Senior Editor, GOODeREADER
Sandra Smith, President, SMITH PUBLICITY

Thanks to our 2020 SPONSORS

Amazon CreateSpace/KDP
Smith Publicity

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Amy Edelman
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