Because I ran my own business for a long time, when I started writing romance, I knew I wanted a good amount of control over the whole process. And people have generously taught me how publishing works as well as pushing me to "polish" my book. I used to think a book plopped out fully formed, ready to be published, not realizing the extent of the revision and craft involved. And if you ever read the first versions of my novels, you'd laugh: The bad writing, the clunky conversations! But now I know that revising is where the real work is, as it always is. Who doesn't revise for exams?
But I've also realized that doing it all yourself is not an easy choice, therefore getting an Independent Press Award, designed for people who do do it all themselves or small press publishers, was very sweet. They rate books as "distinguished favorites" and I was delighted to hear that The Refusal had passed that bar.
If you're interested in the other romance books that passed their high standards, here are the romance award winners:
You can see the full list of distinguished favorites here.