Five novels were named finalists for the 2019 BookLife Prize Fiction Contest, one of PW's two annual competitions for self-published authors. Each indie novel was selected by an accomplished author who served as a guest judge in one of five genres. The finalists are:
"John Bragg's Exit 8 is a poignant and beautifully written novel, a heart-wrenching story of one man's voiceless yet dignified battle against the advances of modern society. With captivating detail, sparse but pitch-perfect dialogue and a rich, evocative prose that's reminiscent of some of the great Southern writers, Bragg shows us the ache of human solitude and a tragically heroic commitment to a past that no longer exists." — Adam Pelzman
"Pluto's Ghost is a compulsively readable, twisty first-contact tale about a voyage from Earth to the edge of the solar system to meet mysterious aliens. The protagonist is an engagingly irascible elderly truck driver the aliens wanted along for reasons of their own, and his cranky-but-charming voice provides an excellent grounding for a tale full of physical, mechanical, and moral disasters. Pluto's Ghost is packed with mysteries and surprises, and filled with enough interesting engineering detail to thrill fans of The Martian.” — Tim Pratt
"This strong story starts out as a 'whodunnit' and ends as a 'whydunnit.' Heroine Liza is unusual, likable, and unreliable—not due to substance abuse, but because she lives with schizoid personality disorder. I rooted for Liza, a devoted daughter, a gifted medical resident, and an amateur sleuth committed to finding out the 'why.' Fatal Rounds is a brisk, page-turning read." — Rachel Howzell Hall
Young Adult/Middle Grade
“The Edge Rules is a thoroughly enjoyable, fast read, and I found Brianna’s journey as a recovering mean girl to be believable and compelling. Brianna’s complicated home life and her feelings about a boy from the wrong side of the tracks helped to flesh her out as a fully layered teenager who has made of a lot of mistakes but genuinely wants to be better."
"Lauren Smith's Never Kiss a Scot is a fun, sexy historical ride that sucks you in from page one. Joanna is an immensely likable and refreshing heroine and Brock is a hero worthy of her love. You can't go wrong with a sexy man in a dark library and marriage on the run.”