You can submit your entries to the Independent Publishing Awards online when the entry window opens. For some Awards you will need to send us some extra material; there is more on this below.

The deadline for all entries is midnight on Thursday 5 March 2020.

For each entry, you will be asked to supply no more than 1,000 words of copy that shows how you have met the Award’s criteria. This is your chance to tell us about your achievements and persuade the judges that you should win!

The entry form will also require you to supply some basic information about your company. For our Publisher of the Year categories, we ask for some brief financial information about your business; there is more about this below.

For most Awards we also ask you to send us three of your books published over the last year—or digital products on suitable media if those are more appropriate. These are required for our five Publisher of the Year categories and our Newcomer Award. They are not essential for other categories, but you are free to supply books if you feel they support your entry or illustrate the points you make. If you would like to send us digital material—for example, web or app links or memory sticks for the Digital Publishing Award, please feel free.

You should send books and any other supporting material to: The IPG Independent Publishing Awards, IPG, c/o Eurospan, Gray's Inn House, 127 Clerkenwell Rd, London EC1R 5DB. As you will be submitting your Award entry online, all you need to send by post are your books.

Nothing—the Awards are completely free.

As many as you like! There is no limit, though you should remember that each category requires a separate submission, each tailored to the specific criteria.

If you are not sure which Publisher of the Year category is for you, we define the market sectors as follows. You should choose the one that is most appropriate to your publishing. 

Trade Publisher of the Year covers companies whose core publishing activity is aimed at a consumer audience.

Academic & Professional Publisher of the Year is for companies whose core activity supports students in higher education (18 years +) and / or the professional markets.

Children’s Publisher of the Year covers companies whose core publishing is for consumers up to the age of 16.

Education Publisher of the Year is for publishers whose core activity supports teaching or learning in the schools sector (ages 3 to 18).

Specialist Consumer Publisher of the Year is for companies who do not fit neatly into the other four categories—perhaps because their publishing is limited to a particular subject or because they sell their books direct to customers.

If you are in any doubt about which categories you are suited to, please contact us for guidance.

Your entries should cover the calendar year from 1 January 2019 to 31 December 2019. Please tell us as much as you can about what you have done in this period. You may use previous years for context, but your entry will be judged on achievements in 2019.

The Awards have different sets of criteria, so please read them carefully before preparing your submission.

Publisher of the Year
In the five Publisher of the Year categories, our judges look for outstanding publishing businesses that demonstrate the following seven qualities.

  • A robust business strategy
  • High quality commissioning, editing, design and production
  • Successful sales and marketing
  • Detailed customer and market knowledge
  • High levels of customer service and satisfaction
  • Commercial success and sound business practice
  • Innovation, creativity and vision.

Newcomer Award
This is open to companies that have been set up within the last five years. Judges want to see evidence of companies’ vision, strategy and engagement with their market, and of their impact in sales, marketing and publicity terms. The Award is open to publishers large and small, and embraces companies just starting out as well as those who are now settling in to their work. As well as impact so far, our judges assess companies’ potential and strategies for growth.

International Achievement Award
This Award celebrates success on the global stage. It can cover the sale of rights, co-editions or exports, and may refer to a single initiative or a whole strategy. Judges look for entrepreneurial vision, strong sales results and an ability to extract maximum value from international markets.

Diversity Award
The Diversity Award seeks to reflect the full range and spirit of diversity and entries can cover various aspects of it. These include publishing for BAME communities, efforts to reach out to those with disabilities or special needs, activities to support minority groups and / or initiatives to promote multiculturalism through books. Entries may demonstrate achievement in terms of output and in-house activity. Whatever the focus, the winner must demonstrate market knowledge and evidence of commercial, critical and / or cultural success.

Digital Publishing Award
This is for independent publishers in any sector who have recorded notable achievements in the digital field. It is open to a wide range of electronic activity, and can be given for anything from a one-off project to a long-term publishing initiative. Whatever the activity, entrants should demonstrate creative use of technology, sound understanding of their target audience and commercial success.

Marketing Award
The Marketing Award rewards publishers’ efforts to identify and satisfy customers’ requirements profitably. It rewards success in promoting and publicising content either online or offline, and requires evidence of great strategies, clear objectives, imaginative techniques and commercial success. Submissions can refer can refer to a single book, series, author or company brand alike. 

Young Independent Publisher of the Year
This Award is open to all people under the age of 35 at 31 December 2019. It aims to recognise outstanding achievement by the rising stars of our industry, and accomplishments from all publishing functions and at all levels will be considered. Whatever their role, entrants must provide firm evidence of their contributions and impact on their business. Nominations can be made either directly by the individual or by his or her colleagues.

Sustainability Award
This celebrates publishers that have made a positive impact on the world around them. It recognises both strategic and practical work to reduce environmental impacts, through supply chain, printing, office, waste management or other initiatives and innovations. Entries may also address social and economic aspects of sustainability, such as constructive engagement with communities, employees and partners. Entries should inspire others to act on sustainability and provide firm evidence of results.

You will see that some entries to our Awards require some information about your financial performance. This helps to give our judges a full picture of your company. Please include as much data as you are able.

Please be assured that financial information is treated in the strictest confidence. It will never be disclosed outside of the judging process. You may have concerns that your financial performance is not as strong as you may wish, by comparison with either previous years or your publishing counterparts—but remember that our judges view financial figures with the context of the market and the size of your operation firmly in mind.

If you have any remaining concerns about your financial information, please contact us for a confidential discussion.

The Independent Publishing Awards are judged by carefully chosen panels of industry experts, who share decades of experience in publishing. They give every entry fair, equal and careful attention, and all submissions are treated in the strictest confidence. We guarantee that no information about your entry or company will be shared beyond the judging room.

After the judges have completed their deliberations, shortlists in all our categories for which entries are invited will be revealed on Friday 27 March 2020. The winners will be announced at a Gala Dinner during our Spring Conference at Crowne Plaza Heythrop Park in Oxfordshire on Wednesday 29 April 2020. The Awards night is a wonderful celebration of independent publishing, and all IPG members are warmly invited to join us.

This Award requires no nominations, since it is chosen from the winners of each of the five Publisher of the Year categories. This is the flagship Award and goes to the company that, in the opinion of the judges, has demonstrated exceptional achievement in its publishing and has delivered highly impressive results above and beyond those of their peers.

This Award is open to both individuals and organisations and is open to all areas of the industry from booksellers to consultants to distributors, printers and beyond—those go the extra mile to serve independent publishers. It is supported by Grantham Book Services in tribute to its former client services manager Julie Nix, who worked for the company for 30 years before her death in 2007. 

To make a nomination, simply tell us in 200 words or less why an individual or company deserves the Award. It should be based on services and achievements in 2019 rather than a longer period. Send your nominations to us via the Awards platform, or by email to

We’ll do all we can to encourage you in the entry process. If you need some inspiration for your entry, check out the top tips and sample submission we have provided. If you have any questions at all about the entry process, don’t hesitate to contact us.


1. Read the entry form carefully

Look especially closely at the criteria on which our Awards will be assessed, then try to include as much evidence of how you meet them as possible.

2. Don’t put it off

Please do not worry that you might not meet all the criteria or that you have not nominated yourself for anything before. Submitting an entry need not take long, and you have absolutely nothing to lose!

3. Be open with your figures

We understand that some entrants may be hesitant about submitting financial data. The information that we request helps to create a full picture of your company, and is always treated in the strictest of confidence.Feel free to explain your financial data or add more figures that you consider relevant in your supporting material (up to 1,000 words).

4. Make your supporting material readable

This is your shop window. Try to engage the judges and take them inside your company. Avoid clichés and jargon, break down your entry into sections if you like, and use bullet points to make key points.

5. Think about the year in question

Make sure your submission is tightly focused on the period covered by our Awards criteria. You can use previous years for context, but please tell us as much as you can about achievements in this period.

6. Gather your evidence

Our judges like to see any proof of claims that you make about your performance. So if you have published a bestseller, provide some sales figures. If you have struck some good rights deals, tell us how much they were worth. Again, all data will be treated in complete confidence.

7. Don’t worry if it has not been a record year

Judges always bear the context of the market in mind, so a solid performance in challenging conditions might be considered just as impressive as a record year in easier markets.

8. Don’t be modest

There is no need to be shy about your achievements or nervous that others may not appreciate them. If you are proud of what you have achieved, say so!

9. Share your passion

Judges like to see evidence of companies’ enthusiasm and care for what they do. If you enjoy what you do, convey it in your entry.

10. Talk to us

We are always very happy to answer any queries you may have about the Awards, to suggest which categories might be appropriate for you to enter, and to allay any concerns you may have. Please call us on 01437 563335 or email us.

A sample award entry can be viewed here.

It was an honour to be shortlisted but when we actually won we were overjoyed. For a small, niche publisher like Carcanet, based well north of London, recognition is especially welcome. To win this particular award underlined one of our priorities. A real achievement! Katie Caunt, Carcanet

We felt delighted and honoured to be shortlisted for the award, especially with the company we had on the shortlist, so actually hearing our name read out all felt a little unreal. I don't think any of us could shift the grin from our faces for the next few days. Rick Jackman, Illuminate Publishing