I'm sure winning a major prize like a Pulitzer, The National Book Award, or any of the top genre awards, translates into greater sales. I know one of the reasons I wanted to read The Goldfinch was because it won the Pulitzer for 2014, and I often read most of the mysteries that garner a top award. For the most part, I'm not disappointed.
But what about other contests? How much mileage does an author get from winning a contest that doesn't have national and international acclaim? And which contests are legit?
In a few months I might be able to answer the second question. Doubletake, the mystery I wrote with Margaret Sutton, has just won the 2015 Best Mystery award from the Texas Association of Authors. A press release will go out on Feb 1 from the association, and the award ceremony will take place in April in Austin. Since I indie-published the book, I will be able to track sales and know pretty quickly if the award is going to boost sales.
Many of the long-established contests are not open to indie authors, but there are other newer contests that are growing in size and industry acceptance. I discovered that a lot of contests have early entry deadlines, and now is a good time to search for contests you might want to enter.
This past July, British novelist James Minter published a comprehensive list in an article on the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) blog. Minter mentions that he does not endorse any of the contests, nor does ALLi, and encourages authors to check Writer Beware before entering to make sure the contest is not a scam. Unfortunately there are people out there who just love to scam writers.
That list from Minter was too long to post here, so I hope you will hop over to check it out when you finish here. For quick reference, I found this short list from Ben Zachheim that includes fees and other details.
- Discovery Awards by IndieReader.com. The IRDA entry fee is $150 per title per category + $50 fee for each additional category entered. Open to submissions until March 2nd, 2015.
- The IPPY Awards are Open, with a deadline of March 10, 2015. Entry per category for the first book is $75. Winners get a nice flood of exposure, notably through Publisher’s Weekly publications and emails.
- The Guardian is now doing a monthly contest for self-published novels. UK authors only. Who in the USA has the guts to match this? The Atlantic? Reader’s Digest? New Yorker? Anyone?
- The Kindle Book Awards are Open and are run by The Kindle Book Review. Submissions are being accepted for the 2015 awards until May 1, 2015.
What do you do if you win? Zacheim had a few good tips:
- Announce it everywhere. Tout it on your Twitter/Facebook/ G+/Amazon author/Goodreads profiles.
- Post a press release with the award name next to your name in the H1 of your site. This way Google will make the association between you and the award. If enough people pick up the story (don’t forget to leverage friends and fans!) your chances of having your name attached to the award’s name in search results grows.
- Add the award to your email signature.
I need to get busy. I've only told my knitting club. Bye now.
|Posted by Maryann Miller - novelist, screenwriter, editor and sometimes actress. Her most recent mysteries are Doubletake and Boxes For Beds, both available for Kindle and in paper. Stalking Season is the second book in the Seasons Mystery Series, hardback and digital, along with Open Season, the first book in the series. For her editing rates, visit her website. When not working, Maryann likes to take her dog for a walk and work outside on her little ranch in East Texas.|