I spent a lot of time this month preparing books to be sent out for writer’s contests, and I still don’t know. Should I be doing that? Does the starburst stickers on the covers of books really make people want to buy them more? And is that what it should even be about? The groups giving out the awards kind of market their award along the lines of “win our award and get yourself noticed.” Any stickers that got stuck would be limited to the ones I stick on the books myself anyway, so I’ll just go with the “hey, I can tell everybody I won an award” justification.
I’m probably second guessing the whole awards thing because of past experience with juried art exhibits. It’s all a crap shoot. In juried art shows, the jury—or rather the juror (they are usually only one person)—may or may not like the kind of art you do. They may or may not have a sense of humor. They may or may not have had their coffee that morning. They may or may not have had a full night’s sleep the night before jurying the show you’ve spent good money to submit your best piece to (that you’ve labored over in both creating and choosing to submit). But mostly they might just like a certain kind of work, and if that’s the kind of work you do, you’re in. If it’s not, better luck next time. And then, once you get in, the possibility of actually winning an award is pretty slim. So, yeah, a crap shoot. One person’s opinion.
I’m thinking I’ll have a go at the writer’s contests this year, and if it feels like it’s been a total waste of time (and it has taken a lot of time), I can always skip it the next go ’round.
I did a lot of research trying to figure out which awards might be worth entering, and here’s the list of the ones I finally submitted to:
- Golden Kite Award: This one is given out by the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and is one of the more prestigious awards a writer (or illustrator) can get. The awards are geared specifically toward kid’s books (obviously).
- Purple Dragonfly Book Award: This award is given out by Five Star Publications. What I liked about this one was that they give you the actual criteria sheet that the judge will be using to rate your book. It’s good to know exactly what they’re looking for. This award is also specifically for kid’s books. I entered two categories with this one: Fiction: Collection of Short Stories and Best Interior Design.
- Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards: Given out by Writer’s Digest. I entered the Middle-Grade/Young Adult books category.
- Next Generation Indie Book Awards: Given by the Independent Book Publishing Professionals Group. I entered two categories: Children’s Juvenile Fiction and Best Overall Design.
The dates the awards are announced vary, but they’re all still at least a few months away. So now, all that’s left to do is wait. And keep writing more.