June 2nd, 2021

Initiative Won the Gold! #erotica #IPPYAward

At the beginning of last year, I had finished four new stories for a short story collection I had conceived several months before. There were nine other stories I had previously published in multi-author anthologies that I planned to include, and the full manuscript, minus the introduction, was finally finished.

I had decided I was going to self-publish the collection. I spent the next several weeks researching self-publication, and by the beginning of March I had established a publishing imprint, gotten it a PO box, contracted with a magnificent editor/proofreader, hired a cover artist, acquired ISBNs, and purchased and learned how to use book-formatting software. I set the publication date for May 1. (Things of course then shifted dramatically in mid-March; after extensive consideration and discussion with a few advisors, I went ahead with the planned publication date of May 1.)

I’ve just found out that this collection, which I titled Initiative: Tales of Erotic Boldness, has won the gold IPPY in the Erotica category of the 2021 Independent Publisher Book Awards. I am a combination of humbled, thrilled, and honored that this book was awarded such a distinction. The IPPY Awards website states the following about the origin and purpose of the awards:

The Independent Publisher Book Awards were conceived in 1996 as a broad-based, unaffiliated awards program open to all members of the independent publishing industry. The awards are intended to bring increased recognition to the thousands of exemplary independent, university, and self-published titles produced each year, and reward those who exhibit the courage, innovation, and creativity to bring about change in the world of publishing.

I harbor no illusions that I am doing any such thing, but it makes it all the more humbling for a book I published to be included via association in this description.

Incidentally, any apparent vested interest aside, I have been truly grateful ever since I first learned of the IPPYs years ago that Erotica is featured as a category. Information about or even mention of sexuality seems to be anathema in so many realms of public culture, to say nothing of artistic expression relating to it (for example, I could not place a Facebook or Amazon ad for Initiative because the book is oriented toward “sexually explicit content”). The IPPYs have a Sexuality/Relationships category, too, which I also deeply appreciate; still, I find it perhaps even more heartening that they offer a category specifically to recognize not just (much needed) information about sexuality but creative expression that honors and engages it.

According to this article, cover appearance and overall design are included in the judging criteria, and I want to thank Initiatve‘s cover artist Dawne Dominique of DusktilDawn Designs, as well as my wonderful friend and colleague Ashley Lister for blurbing the book for the back cover. Last but definitely not least, I extend tremendous appreciation to my superb editor, Patricia J. Esposito.

If you have not yet and would like to, you may purchase Initiative from your preferred retailer via the links on this page (or just read more about it). Thank you and be well!


“IPPY judging is based on content, originality, design, and production with an emphasis on innovation and social relevance.”
IPPY Judging Criteria

3 Responses “Initiative Won the Gold! #erotica #IPPYAward”

  1. Donna Storey says:

    Congratulations, such fabulous news! The cover is truly gorgeous, but your wonderful stories are the main reason your book won the gold!

  2. Emerald says:

    Thank you so much, Donna! I so appreciate your coming by and what an inspiration I’ve found your writing over the years. I miss you!! I hope you’re well.


  1. […] Fiction Awards! It is breathtaking to me to see Initiative receive the accolades of this and the gold IPPY this year, especially given that, again, the collection was my first self-published work. So many […]

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