28th Annual Midwest Book Award Entries Now Open

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Midwest Book Awards

Publishers based in the Midwest are invited to enter the 28th Annual Midwest Book Awards competition for excellence in books published during the 2017 calendar year. The awards recognize creativity in content and execution, overall book quality, and the book’s unique contribution to its subject area.

The Midwest Independent Publishing Association (MIPA) has sponsored the book awards since 1990.

Midwest Book Awards honor the publishers in the 12-state Midwest publishing community who are producing quality work. Award recognition helps publishers and authors succeed in today’s competitive publishing industry.

Entries for the 28th Annual Midwest Book Awards will be open in the fall of 2017. Deadline for all entries is December 30, 2017.

Midwest Book Awards Seals-250

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Description

Gold (winner) and silver (finalist) award seals are available for purchase to qualifying authors and publishers. These seals are foil stamped and are great promotional tools.

Files for electronic seals are also available. Questions: Contact the Book Awards chair.

Additional information

Color

Gold, Silver

2016 Midwest Book Awards Finalists

Arts/Coffee Table Books/Photography
WINNER: A Peace of My Mind: American Stories by John Noltner (John Noltner, Saint Paul, MN)

Mid-Michigan Modern: From Frank Lloyd Wright to Googie by Susan J. Bandes (Michigan State University Press, East Lansing, MI)

Twelve Twenty-Five: The Life and Times of a Steam Locomotive by Kevin P. Keefe (Michigan State University Press, East Lansing, MI)

Autobiography/Memoir
WINNER: Suicide Survivors’ Club by Laurie Phillips and Rebecca Anderson (SSC Publishing, Saint Paul, MN)

Good Seeds: A Menominee Indian Food Memoir by Thomas Pecore Weso (Wisconsin Historical Society Press, Madison, WI)

My Sister’s Mother: A Memoir of War, Exile, and Stalin’s Siberia by Donna Solecka Urbikas (University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, WI)

Biography
WINNER: Going for Wisconsin Gold: Stories of Our State Olympians by Jessie Garcia (Wisconsin Historical Society Press, Madison, WI)

Business
WINNER: Service Dogs: The Rescue and Training of Heroes by Tom and Julie Coleman (Pawsitivity, Saint Paul, MN)

Playing Through the Fence by Mary J. Dowell (HenschelHAUS Publishing, Milwaukee, WI)

The Irresponsible Pursuit of Paradise by Jim L. Bowyer (Levins Publishing, Saint Paul, MN)

Children’s Fiction
WINNER: Intrigue in Istanbul by Christine Keleny (CKBooks Publishing, New Glarus, WI)

Bubblegum Mike: The Great Skeeter Battle by Geoffrey Saign (KiraKu Press, Saint Paul, MN)

The Great Sugar War by Benjamin Ellefson, illustrated by Kevin Cannon (Beaver’s Pond Press, Edina, MN)

Children’s Nonfiction
WINNER: A Beaver Tale: The Castors of Conners Creek, written and illustrated by Gerald Wykes (Wayne State University Press, Detroit, MI)

Children’s Picture Books
WINNER: Bingo Did It!, written by Amber Harris, illustrated by Ard Hoyt (Redleaf Lane, Saint Paul, MN)

Casey’s Great Escape, written by Nancy Jo Shaw, illustrated by DC Ice (Beaver’s Pond Press, Edina, MN)

Indian Boyhood: The True Story of a Sioux Upbringing, originally by Charles Eastman, adapted by Michael Oren Fitzgerald, illustrated by Heidi M. Rasch (Wisdom Tales, Bloomington, IN)

Zena’s Dream, written by Patricia Lea Olson, illustrated by Sherri Faye (Beaver’s Pond Press, Edina, MN)

Young Adult Fiction
WINNER: Sail into Treachery by Gary R. Bush (Forty Press, Anoka, MN)

Divided Draghons: Wyshea Shadows by Geoffrey Saign (Kiraku Press, Saint Paul, MN)

The Beechwood Flute by Pendred Noyce (Calumet Editions, Minneapolis, MN)

Young Adult Nonfiction
WINNER: I’m a Girl . . . That’s Why by Reneé Rongen (Kittleson Creek Press, Fertile, MN)

Cookbooks/Crafts/Hobbies
WINNER: Thrill Me: Essays on Fiction by Benjamin Percy (Graywolf Press, Minneapolis, MN)

Secrets of the Pie Place Café: Recipes and Stories through the Seasons by Kathy Rice (Lake Superior Port Cities, Duluth, MN)

Education/Learning
WINNER: Creative Block Play: A Comprehensive Guide to Learning through Building by Rosanne Regan Hansel (Redleaf Press, Saint Paul, MN)

Baby Bare: A Bottom-Up Approach to Growing Strong Brains and Bodies by Stephanie Johnson (Wise Ink Creative Publishing, Minneapolis, MN)

Discovering the Culture of Childhood by Emily Plank (Redleaf Press, Saint Paul, MN)

Family/Parenting
WINNER: Out to Sea: A Parents’ Survival Guide to the Freshman Voyage by Kelly Radi (Beaver’s Pond Press, Edina, MN)

Fiction – Fantasy/SciFi/Horror/Paranormal
WINNER: Daughter of Destiny by Nicole Evelina (Lawson Gartner Publishing, Maryland Heights, MO)

Camelot’s Queen by Nicole Evelina (Lawson Gartner Publishing, Maryland Heights, MO)

The Devereaux Deity by Steve McEllistrem (Calumet Editions, Minneapolis, MN)

Fiction – Literary/Contemporary/Historical
WINNER: Into the Sun by Deni Ellis Béchard (Milkweed Editions, Minneapolis, MN)

Horsefever by Lee Hope (New Rivers Press, Moorhead, MN)

We Got Him by Elizabeth Searle (New Rivers Press, Moorhead, MN)

Fiction – Mystery/Thriller
WINNER: Behind Every Door by Cynthia A. Graham (Blank Slate Press, Saint Louis, MO)

Black Otter Bay by Vincent Wyckoff (North Star Press, Saint Cloud, MN)

Wolf’s Mouth by John Smolens (Michigan State University Press, East Lansing, MI)

Fiction – Romance
WINNER: Been Searching for You by Nicole Evelina (Lawson Gartner Publishing, Maryland Heights, MO)

When They Come Calling by Sarah Fleming Mountford (Atthis Arts, Centerville, OH)

Fiction – Short Story/Anthology
WINNER: It Turns Out Like This by Stephen Coyne (New Rivers Press, Moorhead, MN)

WINNER: Know the Mother by Desiree Cooper (Wayne State University Press, Detroit, MI)

American Fiction Vol. 15, edited by Bruce Pratt (New Rivers Press, Moorhead, MN)

Health
WINNER: 8 Steps to Getting Real with Cancer by Marianne C. McDonough (Sapphire River Publishing, Eden Prairie, MN)

Surviving Brain Injury: Stories of Strength and Inspiration, compiled by Amy Zellmer (Amy Zellmer, Saint Paul, MN)

The Art of Healing from Sexual Trauma: Tending Body and Soul through Creativity, Nature, and Intuition by Naomi Ardea (Wise Ink Creative Publishing, Minneapolis, MN)

History
WINNER: Hidden Thunder: Rock Art of the Upper Midwest by Geri Schrab and Robert F. Boszhardt (Wisconsin Historical Society Press, Madison, WI)

Imprints: The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians and the City of Chicago by John N. Low (Michigan State University Press, East Lansing, MI)

World of the Teton Sioux Indians: Their Music, Life and Culture by Frances Densmore (World Wisdom, Bloomington, IN)

Humor
WINNER: Firewood Happens: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness in Minnesota’s Northwoods by Mike Lein (Jackpine Writers’ Bloc, Menahga, MN)

Inspiration
WINNER: I’m a Girl . . . That’s Why by Reneé Rongen (Kittleson Creek Press, Fertile, MN)

A Peace of My Mind: American Stories by John Noltner (John Noltner, Saint Paul, MN)

Venerable Women: Transform Ourselves, Transform the World by Dawn Morningstar (Venerable Women, Saint Paul, MN)

Nature
WINNER: The Last Wild Places of Kansas: Journeys into Hidden Landscapes by George Frazier (University Press of Kansas, Lawrence, KS)

North Dakota’s Geologic Legacy: Our Land and How It Formed by John P. Bluemle (North Dakota State University Press, Fargo, ND)

The Essence of Place: The Story of the Jay C. Hormel Nature Center by John Duren and Douglas Wood (Jay C. Nature Center, Austin, MN)

Poetry
WINNER: Between Us by Margaret Hasse (Nodin Press, Minneapolis, MN)

Midnight River by Laura L. Hansen (National Federation of State Poetry Societies Press)

Winterkill by Todd Davis (Michigan State University Press, East Lansing, MI)

Recreation/Sports/Travel
WINNER: Great Lakes Island Escapes: Ferries and Bridges to Adventure by Maureen Dunphy (Wayne State University Press, Detroit, MI)

Religion/Philosophy
WINNER: Here I Walk: A Thousand Miles on Foot to Rome with Martin Luther by Andrew L. Wilson (Brazos Press, Grand Rapids, MI)

Social Science/Political Science/Culture
WINNER: Garbage Bag Suitcase: A Memoir by Shenandoah Chefalo (Mission Point Press, Traverse City, MI)

Manifold Nature: John Burroughs and the North American Review, edited by J.D. Schraffenberger (North American Review Press, Cedar Fall, IA)

Sacred Spaces: My Journey to the Heart of Military Marriage by Corie Weathers (Elva Resa Publishing, Saint Paul, MN)

Cover Design
WINNER: Amir’s Big Catch by Sheila Jones and Charis Haines, illustrated by Kevin Cannon (Beaver’s Pond Press, Edina, MN)

Real Mountains: A Memoir by Dan Seftick, designed by Dan Pitts (Beaver’s Pond Press, Edina, MN)

The Christmas Horse and the Three Wise Men, written and illustrated by Isabelle Brent (Wisdom Tales, Bloomington, IN)

Illustration – Graphic
WINNER: A Beaver Tale: The Castors of Conners Creek, written and illustrated by Gerald Wykes (Wayne State University Press, Detroit, MI)

WINNER: Bingo Did It!, written by Amber Harris, illustrated by Ard Hoyt (Redleaf Lane, Saint Paul, MN)

Wakanda Whooper: The Curious Cinnamon Crane by Sandia Kosmo, illustrated by Lisa Kosmo (Beaver’s Pond Press, Edina, MN)

Interior Design
WINNER: The Christmas Horse and the Three Wise Men, written and illustrated by Isabelle Brent (Wisdom Tales, Bloomington, IN)

Chicago Monumental by Larry Broutman, design by Carol Haralson (Broutman Photography, Chicago, IL)

Feathers for Peacock by Jacqueline Jules, illustrated by Helen Cann (Wisdom Tales, Bloomington, IN)

Little Lek Longtail Learns to Sleep by Bette Killion, illustrated by Beatriz Vidal (Wisdom Tales, Bloomington, IN)

The Art of Healing from Sexual Trauma: Tending Body and Soul through Creativity, Nature, and Intuition by Naomi Ardea, design by Ryan Scheife (Wise Ink Creative Publishing, Minneapolis, MN)

Total Book Design
WINNER: Hidden Thunder: Rock Art of the Upper Midwest by Geri Schrab and Robert F. Boszhardt (Wisconsin Historical Society Press, Madison, WI)

Foreverafter: An Odd Adventure by K.J. Quint (Atthis Arts, Centerville, OH)

The Great Sugar War by Benjamin Ellefson, illustrated by Kevin Cannon (Beaver’s Pond Press, Edina, MN)

For a list of 2015 Winners and Finalists, click here

David Unowsky Receives the 2017 Pat Bell Award

When David Unowsky opened Hungry Mind (later called Ruminator) bookstore in Saint Paul in 1970, Minnesota was flyover land; East Coast publishers gave little thought to the Midwest and rarely sent their touring authors to bookstores in the middle of the country. David persuaded New York publishers to put a Saint Paul stop on their publicity tours and soon John Updike, Norman Mailer, Alice Walker, and many other nationally known authors joined the many Midwest authors who were holding readings and signing books on Grand Avenue in Saint Paul.

Hungry Mind’s reputation grew as the store expanded and became known for the wide array of books on its shelves. Its reputation grew when David started Hungry Mind Review, which attracted contributors such as Robert Bly, Jane Hamilton, Andrei Codrescu, and others to write articles and review books mainly published by small presses. Hungry Mind Review was distributed nationally in independent bookstores.

In 1995, David became a publisher. Hungry Mind Press published 50 titles over the next nine years.

After closing Ruminator, David became the events manager at Magers and Quinn and Subtext bookstores, continuing to help nationally known and new authors with book launches and signings.

Since 2008, David has been a counselor at Springboard for the Arts, helping writers and small publishers learn how to navigate the ever-changing world of publishing.

About the Pat Bell Award

pat-bellIn 2010, MIPA awarded the first Pat Bell Award in honor of a woman who, for many years, was the rock of the organization and a long-time board member. On the phone, by email, or during meetings, Pat Bell patiently answered the many questions posed by MIPA members and others curious about publishing. Pat Bell embraced the Internet early on, and soon her mentorship extended nationwide through chat rooms and user lists. Publishers Marketing Association (PMA) — now IBPA, Independent Book Publishers Association, a national organization of independent publishers—recognized her expertise. She was asked to serve on its board and became a major national advocate for independent publishers.

Past winners of the Pat Bell Award include:

  • 2010: Sybil Smith, leader in the development of Midwest Independent Publishers Association and Publisher, Smith House Press
  • 2011: Julie Arthur, longtime buyer for Barnes and Noble and advocate for Midwest writers
  • 2012: Mary Ann Grossmann,  book reviewer for St. Paul Pioneer Press and friend of Midwestern publishers and authors
  • 2013: Loris and Marlin Bree, charter members of MIPA, first chair of Midwest Book Awards, and passionate advocates for independent publishing
  • 2014: Patricia Rouner Morris, past president of MIPA, author, professional editor, and publishing consultant
  • 2015: Don Leeper, founder of Bookmobile and Itasca Books
  • 2016: Norton Stillman, founder of Micawber’s Bookstore and owner of Nodin Press

Publishers based in the Midwest are invited to enter the 28th Annual Midwest Book Awards competition for excellence in books published in 2017. The awards recognize creativity in content and execution, overall book quality, and the book’s unique contribution to its subject area.

Who May Enter

  • All entries MUST carry a 2017 copyright and an ISBN. If an entry has a 2018 copyright date, documentation must be provided showing the book was released in 2017. There are no exceptions.
  • All entries must have a copyright page that includes publisher’s name and address, copyright notice, and ISBN.
  • New editions (including the new ISBN) of previously published books are eligible. Reprints do not qualify.
  • Entries must be published by publishers located in the 12-state region: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.
  • A single title may be entered in up to three (3) categories. Only print books may be entered. No eBook or app submissions will be accepted.

Deadline

Deadline for receipt of books and entry fees is December 30, 2017. There are absolutely no exceptions.

Awards & Benefits

  • Three (3) finalists are selected in each category. From those, one (1) winner is chosen. Finalists and award winners receive certificates and tickets to the Midwest Book Awards Gala. Winners will also each receive a bronze medallion.
  • Both finalists and winners may purchase foil seals for use in marketing efforts and will be featured in the Midwest Book Awards Gala Program, in MIPA press releases, and on the MIPA website.
  • Judges’ individual book evaluation sheets will be provided to all entrants after the awards are announced.
  • Awards will be presented at the Midwest Book Awards Gala in May 2018 in Saint Paul, MN.

Judging Criteria

Each entry will be judged by three independent judges. Finalists are determined by totaling the scores from all three judges. The winning entry is the title with the top score. The judges’ decisions are final. Please note: If the entries in a category do not meet the standards for quality as set by the Midwest Book Awards, no award will be given in that category for that year.

Judges will consider the following:

  • Content and quality of writing and images
  • Overall quality and creativity in book design and production
  • Originality and contribution to the subject area

See Judging tab for more information about judging criteria.

Questions: Contact Deb Jacobson by email or call 612.919.1356.

MIPA member: $70 per title (includes first category), $30 for each additional category (maximum of 3 categories)

Non-MIPA member: $135 per title (includes first category), $30 for each additional category (maximum of 3 categories)

What to Send

  • Books: Send four (4) copies of each title (one for each of the three judges and one for display) for the first category in which the title is entered. If the same title is entered in additional categories, send three (3) more copies (for the three judges) for EACH additional category. No books or entries will be returned.
  • Entry Form: Send a copy of the completed entry form for each title. Entry forms may be photocopied or may be printed from the MIPA website, www.MIPA.org. Please do not use staples, tape, or glue.
  • Fees: Entry fees must accompany your submission. Include your check or a copy of your PayPal receipt with your entry. Entry fees are non-refundable. Make checks payable to MIPA.

Where to Send

All books and entry fees must be RECEIVED by December 30, 2017. You will receive an email confirming receipt of your submissions. Ship books, entry form, and entry fees in the same package to:

Midwest Book Awards
Attn: Deb Jacobson
1868 90th Street
New Richmond, WI 54017

Questions: Contact Deb Jacobson by email or call 612.919.1356.

The publisher selects one or more categories in which to enter each book. A single title may be entered in up to three (3) categories. Only print books may be entered. No eBook or app submissions will be accepted.

Subject Categories

  • Arts/Photography/Coffee Table Books: Books about the graphic and performing arts, architecture, and photography. Coffee table books created for display that meld exemplary text, design, and artwork.
  • Autobiography/Memoir: Nonfiction and creative nonfiction about the author.
  • Biography: Nonfiction books about a current or historical figure (not the author).
  • Business: Business-related literature including commerce, career, computers, technology.
  • Children’s Fiction: Fiction books aimed at all reading levels to age twelve.
  • Children’s Nonfiction: Nonfiction books aimed at all reading levels to age twelve.
  • Children’s Picture Books: Books for children with a substantial amount of artwork.
  • Young Adult Fiction: Fiction, whether or not genre specific, aimed at the teen market.
  • Young Adult Nonfiction: Nonfiction, regardless of subject matter, aimed at the teen market.
  • Cookbooks/Crafts/Hobbies: Books on all cooking-related topics, crafts, and hobbies aimed at adults.
  • Education/Learning: Books aimed at adults on topics of education, including homeschooling.
  • Family/Parenting: Books aimed at adults on all aspects of family life, including parenting help, family dynamics, and multigeneration families.
  • Fiction — Fantasy/SciFi/Horror/Paranormal: Genre fiction with a fantasy, science fiction, horror, or paranormal theme.
  • Fiction — Literary/Contemporary/Historical: Fiction that focuses on character development, plot depth, and writing style as well as genre fiction with a historical theme and historical setting.
  • Fiction — Mystery/Thriller: Genre fiction with a suspense or mystery theme.
  • Fiction — Romance: Genre fiction with a romance theme.
  • Fiction — Short Story/Anthology: Collections of fiction by one or by multiple authors.
  • Health: Nonfiction books aimed at adults with topics related to health and healing, including physical and mental health, addiction, and alternative medicine.
  • History: Nonfiction books with subjects of a historical nature.
  • Humor: Fiction and nonfiction books whose primary focus is humor.
  • Inspiration: Nonfiction books focused on personal development and improvement.
  • Nature: Nonfiction books relating to nature, ecology, and environment. May include essays on these topics.
  • Poetry: Poetic works, whether by one author or an anthology.
  • Recreation/Sports/Travel: Nonfiction books with a sports, recreation, or travel theme, including travel guides and travel essays.
  • Religion/Philosophy: Nonfiction books encompassing all religions — Eastern, Western, and New Age — as well as philosophy.
  • Social Science/Political Science/Culture: Nonfiction books aimed at adults with an emphasis on the social sciences, political issues, current events, and cultural issues such as diversity, gender, sexuality, and aging.

Design Categories

  • Cover Design: Covers that are compelling, effective, and fit the topic and/or genre.
  • Interior Design: Overall interior book design and production that excels in quality.
  • Illustration — Graphic: Books with extensive interior artwork, not including photography. Usually entries in this category are children’s picture books.
  • Total Book Design: Total book design, including interior layout and cover design.

Questions? Midwest Book Awards Chair Deb Jacobson can answer your questions and provide guidance if you are not sure how to choose the specific categories that could be appropriate for your book in the Midwest Book Awards program. Contact Deb Jacobson by email or call 612.919.1356.

Each entry will be judged by three independent judges. Judges’ individual book evaluation sheets will be provided to all entrants after the awards are announced. Judges assign a numerical score to each question. They are invited to—but not required to—offer additional comments, observations, and suggestions.

Numerical scores decide the finalists and winners. Comments are purely for the benefit of the publisher. One of the goals of MIPA is to help publishers produce quality books and learn best practices in the industry. We encourage you to look over the judging information listed below to get an idea of the areas on which your entry will be evaluated.

Subject Categories

The editorial criteria used for all subject category entries (fiction, nonfiction, and children’s/young adult) include the following questions:

Writing: Is the writing style engaging and the voice consistent? How well does the text follow generally accepted principles of good writing for the genre (i.e., clear sentence structure, use of active voice, strong vocabulary)?

Mechanics/Organization: Rate the mechanical correctness of the copy regarding grammar, spelling, punctuation. Is the content well organized and does it flow easily to allow comprehension and maintain interest (pace) by the intended reader audience?

Clarity/Storytelling: For fiction, is the plot engaging and original? Are characters appropriately developed? For nonfiction, is the information well presented and organized clearly? Is the topic compelling? For children’s books, is the story interesting and is the writing appropriate for the age level?

Production: Rate the production quality of the book (formatting, consistency in design, printing quality).

Overall Reaction: Rate your overall impression of the content and quality of the book.

Design Categories

The design criteria used for evaluating entries in cover design, interior design, illustration—graphic, and total book design include the following questions. These questions are fine-tuned for the specific category. For example, cover design judges will only receive questions pertaining to cover design.

Cover Appearance: Does the total cover design create interest—do you want to pick up the book and examine it more closely? Does the cover fit the genre? Are the photographs or illustrations appropriate, of good quality, and reproduced well? Does the choice of color on the cover stimulate interest and fit with the subject?

Cover Layout: Is the typeface attractive, readable, and appropriate for the subject matter? Does the organization of cover elements create a coherent look? Are front and spine copy legible in all formats (i.e., bookstore shelves and online thumbnails)?

Interior Appearance: Is the book layout (i.e., the organization of heads, subheads, indents, and breaks in copy) consistent and does it facilitate reading? Are font styles and typographic composition easy to read and complementary to each other?

Interior Layout: Are margins well spaced? Do the letter, line, and word spacing create a pleasing reading experience? Is the printing well done throughout and does the paper stock fit the book’s design? If there are illustrations or photographs in the interior, are they appropriate, of good quality, and reproduced well?

Overall Reaction: Rate your overall impression of the design of the book.

The 27th Annual Midwest Book Awards Gala was held on May 12, 2017, at the Olson Campus Center at the Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota.

At this joyous event, we honored both the winners and finalists, the publishers and authors, and independent publishing in general. All the finalist entries were displayed during the reception. During the presentation, winners received certificates and a bronze medallion.

After the award ceremony, finalists and award winners may pick up copies of the judges’ comments. Certificates for finalists are included in the judges’ packets. At that time, winners and finalists also may purchase foil seals for use in marketing efforts: gold for the winners and silver for the finalists. Award stickers may also be purchased at any time online.

Questions? Contact Deb Jacobson by email or call 612.919.1356.