Within Indie, we’ve had ringside seats to the ascendance of self-publishing in terms of both quality and quantity; sales and traditional publishing have responded. Not only are there star-earning Indie titles (which means they’ll be eligible for the recently announced Kirkus Prize), but those books are wearing stop-and-admire covers. Kirkus Reviews called CB Anderson’s River Talk, a collection of short stories set in Maine, “triumphant,” and so is its cover—a nearly glowing scarlet barn that suits the rural material. The clean, Mad Men-esque graphics of Henry’s Re-entry, by Welcome Cole, evokes the storyline—a guy in free fall who’s struggling mightily to redeem himself. A hazy Instagram-esque photo of an off-kilter man facing skyward visually sums up the wistful, well-meaning Antón, whose “social life is punctuated by drug use and casual sexual encounters,” in Nicolás Casariego’s Antón Mallick Wants to Be Happy. And the silhouettes of Jacob M. Appel’s Scouting for the Reaper neatly blend the cute and creepy.

Karen Schechner


Karen Schechner is the senior indie editor at Kirkus Reviews.