Next Generation Indie Book Awards
The judges of the Next Generation Indie Book Awards are all actively involved in the indie book publishing industry, and range from literary agents to editors. The judges also include publishing executives, book reviewers, writing teachers, successful published authors, and experts in the various areas of judging including book design.
While a number of judges prefer to remain anonymous, we are pleased to introduce the following individuals who are either actively involved as judges or who have previously acted as judges for the Next Generation Indie Book Awards:
C. Hope Clark
Charlotte Robin Cook
Ellen E. M. Roberts
Jennifer Gooch Hummer
John L. Rak Jr.
John M. McDougall
Kelly Boyer Sagert
Leon A. Walker
Mary Ellen Gavin
Shea C. Megale
W. Terry Whalin
If you are interested in being a judge for the 2022 Next Generation Indie Book Awards, please contact us at email@example.com.
After twenty years in education and human services, Beth Bruno began a second career in 1997 as a columnist, author and editor. Hundreds of her articles have been published in print and online, and her first book, Wild Tulips, came out in 2001 and went into a second printing in 2002. Now a full-time book editor, Beth's editing interests are eclectic and include a delicious mix of fiction, nonfiction, young adult, and children's works. Beth is a past president of the Connecticut Authors and Publishers Association (CAPA). She enjoys playing Bridge, traveling, and family gatherings. email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Beth Kallman-Werner has been a professional editor since the age of 20, and has counseled some of the world's largest companies on global marketing and integrated media. She came to book publishing in 2008 as Director of Marketing & Sales for Kirkus Reviews. Beth has worked with both traditional publishers and indie authors on book marketing and special media projects. In 2010 she launched Author Connections, LLC. Her professional mission is to educate, encourage and empower authors, helping them bring excellent books to hungry readers.
C. Hope Clark is the editor of FundsforWriters.com , that reaches over 40,000 readers weekly with grants, markets and motivational editorials. Writer's Digest Magazine voted FundsforWriters one of the 101 Best Web Sites for Writers for twelve straight years. Hope has published in many magazines including Writer's Digest, The Writer Magazine, ByLine Magazine, Next Step Magazine, College Bound Teen, TURF Magazine, Landscape Management and four Chicken Soup books. The Shy Writer : An Introvert's Guide to Writing Success is in reprint and continues to sell. She speaks at numerous writing conferences each year. Hope lives on the banks of Lake Murray, in central South Carolina.
Caryn Solly earned her journalism degree at Boston University and has worked in publishing ever since. With editing and writing experience ranging from St. Louis Homes and Lifestyles magazine to Rolling Stone Press books, she has ultimately made a career home in digital media. At Beliefnet, she wrote and edited inspirational content for millions of daily readers. Caryn was an editor at About.com, a site with hundreds of topic experts who write "how to" and reference content, helping them craft content that will engage readers and help them solve their everyday problems, in topics including travel, careers, food, health, parenting, and crafting. She is currently an online editor for Ernst & Young, and a member of a longstanding and active book club.
Cathy Oasheim is the founder of Oasheim Editing Services, LLC in Chantilly, Virginia. An editor of nonfiction in the realm of the memoir, military, restorative justice, Christian, and business, she also teaches a variety of editing and public speaking workshops for the Indie author. A second career as an editor began with an internship at a small press prison writing ministry while completing an Applied Psychology at Regis University, Denver, CO. The dream of hanging out the LPC shingle for business became instant history when she edited her first memoir of an army veteran in prison for murder. An avid reader with eclectic tastes of all things nonfiction, her world continues to be fun and interesting.
Charlotte Robin Cook, MFA, is a published writer, former publisher/acquisition editor and now story editor. Charlotte is also a popular guest speaker at writers conferences nationwide as well as recording Writer's Digest Tutorials, including the ever-popular "8 Things First-time Novelists Need to Avoid." Charlotte has an MFA in Creative Writing from Saint Mary's College and has brought to publication numerous books, articles and stories for a variety of writers.
Danelle McCafferty is the co-founder of the Consulting Editors Alliance , a group of highly skilled independent editors, each with a minimum of fifteen years' New York publishing experience. A former senior editor at Bantam Books, as well as an editor at two other houses, she started her own editorial services business, the Writers' Editor, in 1990. She edits a wide variety of fiction and works on all stages of a manuscript, from outline and plot development, to line editing and/or rewriting.
Devon Ellington is a full-time writer, who publishes under a half a dozen names in both fiction and non-fiction, and teaches writing all over the world. The Gwen Flinnegan mysteries and several shorts are published by Amber Quill Press and the Jain Lazarus Adventures are handled by Solstice Publishing. She's published hundreds of stories, articles, speeches, and scripts throughout her career. She provides editing services and private instruction for her international client base. She is on the Board of Directors at the Cape Cod Writers Center. Visit her blog on the writing life, Ink in My Coffee and her website .
Ellen E. M. Roberts is the editor of Woodley Books, a publisher of illustrated memoirs based in historic Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. She has taken more than a thousand books to publication for major publishers including St. Martin's Press, Oxford University Press, Simon and Schuster and William Morrow. She is the author of six books and a principal at Where Books Begin, a well-baby clinic for new book projects. A graduate of Reed College, she is an earnest amateur violinist and lover of poetry.
Emily Courtney began her 10 year career in publishing as a freelance writer and fact checker at Delicious Living magazine. In addition to monthly fact checking of every article slated for publication, over the course of several years Emily saw nearly 50 of her articles published in both Delicious Living and Natural Solutions magazines. Following a year-long assignment writing book summaries for a parenting website, Emily made the leap to editing, and hasn't looked back! She currently works as a freelance editor in both book and Internet publishing.
Gareth Esersky is an agent, editor, reviewer and author. Formerly an editor at major trade publishing houses, she has been affiliated with the Carol Mann Literary Agency since 1993. Gareth is a reviewer for Publishers Weekly and online, she has co-authored three nonfiction books, and currently serves on the advisory board for the MFA program in Creative Nonfiction at Goucher College, her alma mater. She has worked in the publishing industry for thirty years. The mother of three, she lives in Forest Hills, New York and Southern Berkshire County, Massachusetts.
Born and raised in Chicago, Gordon Bruno graduated with a bachelors degree from Earlham College, majoring in Political Science. Soon after he received a masters degree in English and Education from Johns Hopkins University and his doctorate in educational administration from Harvard University. Over his 45-year career as a teacher and administrator, writing and editing were prominent parts of his responsibilities in school districts, higher education, the foundation community, and policy reform in New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts. Gordon's literary interests span both fiction and non-fiction, with significant experience in government and educational reform, political leadership, current American literature, and historical fiction.
Ilene Segalove is an internationally exhibited conceptual multi-media artist. Her work ranges from text driven photo narratives to autobiographical video diaries, from radio commentaries about growing up in modern America (broadcast on NPR All Things Considered, Fresh Air, etc.) to the author of quirky best selling List Your Self self discovery/journal books. She is a university professor, book editor, and the recipient of multiple grants, whose work is currently featured in numerous prestigious institution collections, including those of The Hammer Museum of Contemporary Art, Museum of Modern Art NYC, The Metropolitan Museum of Art NYC, Los Angeles Museum of Art, and Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.
JD Young, aka Scarlett, is an editor, reviewer, author and publisher. She is a displaced Bronx native now residing in Virginia with her husband. Her first two books, Scarlett's Letters and The Butter Pecan Diaries have been described as Erma Bombeck meets Dave Barry. Her second two offerings include a thriller with supernatural undertones and a collection of short stories featuring the macabre, murder and mystery. She is a featured author in the Writer's Digest Fall Author Spotlight, October 2014 and is currently working on a book of softly erotic stories called Tales of Seven Sisters. Her motto is "Writers cleave together like a demonic AA group - we are singularly able to dance with each other's devils."
Jennifer Gooch Hummer is the award-winning author and screenwriter of her debut novel, Girl Unmoored. (Sparkpress) (Carlsen). A graduate of Kenyon College, Jennifer has worked as a script analyst for William Morris Endeavor, The Academy of Motion Pictures and Triad Artists, as well as independent producers and film studios. Jennifer continued graduate studies in the Writer's Program at UCLA, where she was nominated for the Kirkwood Prize in fiction. She has been a mentor for at-risk teens with Writegirl in Los Angeles. Jennifer lives in Southern California and Maine with her husband and their three daughters.
Jennifer McCord is currently an Associate Publisher and Executive Editor for Coffeetown Enterprises. She is also a writer, educator, publishing consultant and certified Creativity Coach in Seattle WA as Jennifer McCord Associates LLC, www.jennifermccord.com . Throughout her 25 year career in the book business, Jennifer has worked in nearly every aspect of the publishing industry from traditional publication paths to small press and self-publishing ventures. For many years, she has dedicated her experience to the success of the Northwest writing community as UW Extension Advisory board member, Past President of The Seattle Free Lances and PNWA, and was on the Advisory Board for the Fine Writing Program at Edmonds Community College.
Jill Bemis has a master's degree in Public and Nonprofit Administration and undergraduate degrees in Political Science and Liberal Arts. She has worked with higher education, K-12 public schools, library, and government clientele to demystify bureaucratic rules and regulations for over thirty years. While workdays are spent preparing and reviewing a variety of professional materials and publications, most of her free time is a spent pursuing the perfect book. Jill uses the same critical judgment and writing skills that have led to successful academic and professional endeavors to her second career as a book reviewer and book award judge. She frequently contributes reviews to Amazon, LibraryThing, WorldCat, and Goodreads. A life longer learner and avid reader, she is a native Minnesotan.
John L. Rak Jr. is a member of the Montag Press Collective https://www.montagpress.com/, serving as their Science Fiction and Fantasy Editor. At Montag he guides books through the entire editorial process, from manuscript approval to final proof and release. He is also an experienced business and legal editor. John derives profound satisfaction, even joy, from working with first-time authors of the weird and fantastic, helping them shape their unique visions.
John M. McDougall has been in the publishing industry for over a decade. He has worked both in an editorial capacity as well as in an operational role including acquisitions and distribution. John is a published poet and an avid reader of historical non-fiction; a hobby he developed following his college years when he studied history with an emphasis on comparative religion. John was involved from the ground floor up and co-founded the Independent Book Publishing Professionals Group, an organization that aims to promote professional standards in independent book publishing.
Karen Schechner is the senior Indie editor at Kirkus Reviews. Kirkus Indie curates self-published titles to help consumers and industry influencers (publishers, agents, film producers, librarians, booksellers) discover books they may otherwise never find. In her pre-Kirkus days, Karen was the senior editor at the American Booksellers Association, where she worked with indie booksellers for nearly a decade. She's also has long volunteered as the senior editor of Lambda Literary.
Kelly Boyer Sagert is a full-time freelance writer, traditionally publishing 17 books and ghostwriting several more. She also writes blog posts, articles and much more, including play scripts. One of her scripts was used as the basis for Trail Magic: The Grandma Gatewood Story that appeared on PBS; which was nominated for an Emmy Award; and won a prestigious Chagrin Documentary Film Festival Award. kbsagert.com
Kenneth Salzmann is a writer and poet who has been active in literary publishing and programming for more than thirty-five years. His poems have appeared in numerous literary journals including Rattle, The Peninsula Review, Memoir (and), The Comstock Review, and CQ, and in anthologies including , , and . He is one of 12 poets selected by poet and novelist Marge Piercy to take part in the 2015 Piercy Poetry Intensive. He lives in Woodstock, New York and Ajijic, Mexico. www.kensalzmann.com
Leon A. Walker is a published writer of various forms of creative literature. For the past 12 years, has participated as a judge of the "Next Generation Indie Book Awards". Mr. Walker has written three collections of poetry and short stories, entitled Work Wonders, Life Lines and Equinox. Mr. Walker is a graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida, having earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Professional Aeronautics. He has worked as a public and private sector business executive and he is a retired United States Naval Officer. He is also a member of the Screen Actors Guild. A native of Cleveland, Ohio he currently resides in Southern California. Additional information on his life and writing endeavors may be found by visiting his website at: www.leon-a-walker.com.
Lou Aronica is the Publisher of The Story Plant and The Fiction Studio and was previously Publisher of Avon Books and Deputy Publisher of Bantam Books. He founded the Bantam Spectra science fiction imprint that recently celebrated its 25th anniversary. Aronica is also a New York Times bestselling nonfiction author and a nationally bestselling novelist. His work includes The Element (written with Ken Robinson), The Culture Code (written with Clotaire Rapaille) and Blue. He lives with his wife and four children in Connecticut.
Madeleine Burry works in online media as an editor and writer. As well as writing for What To Expect, Architectural Digest, and General Assembly, she's held full-time editorial positions at About.com, Parents.com, and Scholastic.com. Madeleine has edited books for Dynamite, Tor/Forge, and Random House. Madeleine is a native New Yorker and a Brandeis University graduate; you can find her on Twitter @lovelanewest .
Marcie Tennen is managing partner and founder of BookSmart, the children's book consultant and school book fair company serving metro New York. With more than 30 years experience in the pre-school and early elementary markets, she writes the blog, BookSmartKids , and teaches reading to kindergartners in the Greenwich (CT) public schools. She holds a B.A. in American Studies from the University of Michigan.
Martha Kennedy has a masters degree in English from the University of Denver. During her 35 year career teaching writing at the college and university level, she taught all kinds of writing from remedial composition to upper division business communication. For many years she served on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Business Communication. Kennedy has published four award-winning works of historical fiction and two award-winning memoirs. Kennedy has also published short-stories and articles in a variety of publications. Her love of indie publishing allows her to follow her projects from inspiration to finished book. Martha lives with her dogs in the remote San Luis Valley of Colorado. You can learn about her work at martha-kennedy.com.
Mary Ellen Gavin is known for her exuberance and promotion of first-time writers. She has spent the last ten years living around the country and meeting new talent. She is a lover of unforgettable stories and teaches both novel and screen writing. Mary Ellen trained at the Loiacono Literary Agency in the Dallas area before opening the Gavin Literary Agency in Ashburn, Virginia where she continues her search for great storytellers.
Matthew Miller holds three university degrees including a business degree in Entrepreneurial Management and brings decades of business, education, and leadership experience to his role. Previously, Matthew worked for The Red Cross, managing a multi-million dollar budget and a staff of fund development coordinators. He also served as National Association and Alliance Partnership Manager for Franklin Covey Canada, a training company offering the work of Stephen R. Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Additionally, Matthew has consulted and worked on special projects for a well-known independent publishing company with several million dollars in sales.
Myrsini Stephanides is an agent at the Carol Mann Agency and represents authors of nonfiction (humor, pop culture, quirky reference, popular science, memoir), literary/offbeat adult fiction and YA fiction. Before joining the agency in 2009, she spent 10 years as a nonfiction editor, book doctor and book packager specializing in highly illustrated books. Myrsini was the editor of the Weird travel series (Sterling Publishing), senior editor of The Duke Encyclopedia of New Medicine: Conventional and Alternative Medicine for All Ages (Rodale, 2006) and developmental/series editor of the first three books in the Men's Health Best series (Rodale 2005). She has also collaborated on projects with The Smithsonian, Archaeology magazine and YANKEE Magazine and was a contributing writer to the fifth edition of the Hammond World Atlas (Langenscheidt, 2007).
Peter Cyngot has worked as an art director/designer/photographer for agencies, companies and on a freelance basis for more years than he is willing to admit. His experience covers the full gamut of communication design, specializing in print. He teaches classes in basic design principles, and has been involved in publishing from the beginning of his career.
Richard Cook has been the managing partner of Sunrise Bookshop In Berkeley, California, since its inception in 1974. Sunrise is a specialty bookshop which offers quality books in world religions and spiritual traditions and related fields, including psychology, health, new age and the esoteric. As principal buyer for the store and also principal book recommender to many customers for 35 years, he has read and become familiar with a very wide range of spiritual, psychological and esoteric literature, and has a particular fondness for well-written fiction that touches on these fields.
Sandi Gelles-Cole, founder of Gelles-Cole Literary Enterprises in 1983, has acquired, edited and collaborated on many best-selling books. Since then, she has worked with authors and their projects such as Alan Dershowitz's novel The Advocate's Devil; North of Montana by Law and Order writer April Smith (Knopf), Victoria Gotti's novel, I'll Be Watching You (Random House/Crown); Governor Ann Richards' I'm Not Slowing Down (Dutton); Christiane Northrup's Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom (Bantam Books); Letitia Baldridge's Guide to the New New Manners (Scribner's); and Family Trust (Dutton) by Amanda Brown, author of Legally Blonde. Sandi has worked with publishers Dutton/NAL and Dell Publishing (part of the Random House Group). As Senior Acquisitions Editor for Dell/Delacorte and Dell Trade Paperback she acquired and edited major properties, including ten of Danielle Steel's phenomenally successful titles.
Shari Maurer graduated from Duke University with a degree in English, and later studied Dramatic Writing at NYU. Following a stint at The Children's Television Workshop on international productions of Sesame Street, she published novels and non-fiction, and worked as a writer and editor. Shari has also written Parenting & Lifestyle columns for several websites. A mother of three, she lives in New York with her husband.
Shea C. Megale has judged Young Adult and New Adult at the Next Generation Indie Book Awards since 2017. She writes as S.C. Megale, completing her first novel at the age of fifteen and going on to write thirteen more (and counting). Her YA novel This is Not a Love Scene is published by Macmillan/St. Martin's Press. Megale was born in 1995 and lives near historic Bull Run, Virginia with her family and dogs.
Sheila Seifert has over 1,000 freelance sales, has authored/co-authored twenty books (for children and adults), and teaches English (writing and literature) for various colleges. Sheila is currently the editorial director of a large marriage and parenting magazine and the founder of Simple Literature simpleliterature.com, a curriculum site for second through eighth grade teachers.
Shelly Faulkner brings to the Next Generation Indie Book Awards a wealth of experience in the retail book business. Over the past two decades she has served in diverse roles ranging from senior purchaser and merchandiser to hands-on bookselling and supervising a large team of retail clerks. Over a 10-year period Shelly worked for various stores in Canada's largest bookstore chain, Chapters Indigo Inc. She has also sourced, bought, and managed the retail inventory of 12 gift shops for the popular tourist attraction Heritage Park Historical Village, and is now the book buyer for Bluerock Gallery, bluerockgallery.ca. A lifelong book lover, Shelly has unique expertise in discovering books that will delight readers.
Susan Weintrob is a freelance writer and food blogger at www.expandthetable.net. She writes a Foodie Lit column and reviews book reviews, frequently of independent authors. Susan recently published a cookbook, Eat, Read and Dream with Geri Clouston, inspired by her Foodie Lit book reviews. She supports authors and the writing process with her editing service, Editing Unlimited. She is a retired educator who worked as an Independent School administrator, university Literature and Composition instructor and high school English and Journalism teacher. Susan currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina and is married to violinist Neil Weintrob.
At age 22, Tag Goulet self-published Sell Yourself!, a book recommended "for all libraries" by a review in the journal of the Canadian Library Association. Over the next decade, Tag taught seminars on book publishing in a dozen cities and served as a book publishing consultant for scores of authors, self-publishers and independent book publishers. She was managing editor of Calgary - A Year in Focus, the official gift book for dignitaries attending the 1988 Winter Olympics, and author of Recipe for Success, a CD-ROM distributed in 65 countries. In 1999, she co-founded FabJob, an award-winning book publishing company whose website, FabJob.com , was named "the #1 place to get published online" by Writer's Digest. She has contributed to a variety of books including: The Canadian Writer's Guide, a USA Today best-seller published by Simon & Schuster, and books published by divisions of Random House and Penguin Group.
Tish Davidson began a 30-year career as a freelance features writer for a chain of New Jersey newspapers. This led to the opportunity to write about 150 syndicated parenting columns. Since then, she has published 11 books (Scholastic, Mason Crest, ABC-CLIO) and contributed to 21 more (Harlequin, Adams Media, and others) on topics ranging from African-American history to forensics to health and wellness. She has also done development editing on educations texts for Corwin Press. Tish is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors. Her most recent book is Vaccines: History, Science, and Issues.
W. Terry Whalin is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing. He has written more than 60 books for traditional publishers including 10 Publishing Myths, Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams and Book Proposals That $ell. Several of Terry’s books have sold over 100,000 copies. Get the FREE Ebook: 11th Publishing Myth. His blog about the Writing Life has more than 1,500 searchable entries. Terry is an active member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors. He has over 200,000 twitter followers. He lives near Denver, Colorado. Connect with Terry on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.