Bird Face Wendy

Things relevant to reading, writing, publishing or marketing teen fiction.

Book Award Competitions, Part 2 (the second scoop)

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If you’ve landed here, you may be familiar with my post from December 5th,  The Real Scoop on Book Award Competitions, Part 1. If not, be sure to take a look and see why and how I began entering award contests for my historical novel, The Other Side of Freedom.

One thing I didn’t mention then but will share with you now is that I had unexpectedly received opportunities to earn a little extra money by editing others’ work. Divine providence, perhaps? They were small assignments, but I saved the money. Instead of spending my fund on travel, I chose to invest in the possibility of receiving an award for my book. Some might call it risk, LOL.

So, in Part 1 you learned about what happened with my first entries. Not all bad. And here are the rest!

Readers’ Favorite Book Reviews and Award Contest Before I even considered entering the contest, I had requested and received a free review for one of my other books. (Be sure to look into that on the website.) For the contest, I entered The Other Side of Freedom in the category Children – Pre-teen, submitting a mobi file online and paying a fee, to which I chose the option of adding $1 donation to St. Jude’s Hospital. To my disappointment, Readers’ Favorite did not announce the results by email, but I knew approximately when they were due. I searched every few days until I found them, and my book had won! Gold-medal Winner for Coming-of-age. This contest has perhaps the greatest number of categories and winners, but the prizes give the books good exposure. Some winners are considered for representation by Folio Literary Management and some for film production by Wind Dancer Films. Other winners are receiving publicity or marketing from a number of companies. There’s a lot of information to absorb, so plan to spend a while on the website.

Gelett Burgess Children’s Book Awards I entered this 2017 contest in December 2017 and still can find no results a year later. (See the 2016 winners at the link.) I was allowed to enter past the deadline because I emailed the address provided and was told they “need more YA.” I had to not only pay the entry fee but priority-mail three books. I cannot give this contest a recommendation.

Eric Hoffer Book Award Described as an “independent book award for the small press, academic press & independent press, including self-published books,” this one had one of the moderately-priced entry fees among those with fees. My book was a finalist, for which I was notified by email. The category was YA, which includes juvenile and teen.

Book of the Year Awards (Independent Author Network) This competition attracted me because of the categories, cash prizes, and gala awards ceremony. I paid a very affordable fee for the first category and a reduced fee for the second category. I entered my book in Historical and Juvenile. It won Outstanding Fiction Children/Juvenile and Second Place Book of the Year. It was also a finalist in Historical fiction. Unfortunately I was not able to attend the ceremony in Miami. You don’t need to be a member to enter this contest, but I joined after winning.

The Christopher Awards (Catholic, family literature) I almost forgot about this one! Presented to TV and cable, feature films, and books for adults and young people, it was established to “affirm the highest values of the human spirit.” Although achieving this award would be a long shot, I entered my book. If nothing else, it would be seen and perhaps read by other Catholics who recognize good Catholic literature. As you can see, only six books for young people received the award. I had to mail three books, but there was no entry fee.

Children’s Literary Classics Book Awards Earlier in the year, my book received their Seal of Approval. I took that as an indication I should enter. I uploaded one ePub book, mailed one book, and paid a fee. I entered in the upper middle grade level for ages 11 to 14 years. I chose Historical as a category, plus got a free entry into the Eloquent Quill Top Honors award for youth books. The results? Gold Winner in two upper middle grade categories: General and Historical. The awards ceremony will be in Rapid City, South Dakota in May, 2019, and I plan to attend.

Catholic Press Association (CPA) Book Awards I cherish the certificate I received for Third Place, Children’s. I have a newspaper background, and I know how greatly such awards from press associations are coveted. It being an award from within this Catholic sphere makes it even sweeter to me. As a non-member, I paid a higher entry fee than a member.

Catholic Writers Guild’s Catholic Arts and Letters Award (CALA)I am a Catholic Writers Guild member, so I was aware that competition would be fierce, especially because  there is only one category for books for young people: Children’s and YA (Young Adult). One of my familiar colleagues was bound to win, and one did! My book had to have received the CWG Seal of Approval. The fee was low, and I mailed three books.

Purple Dragonfly Award (Story Monsters, Inc.) This is a competition open to any year of publication, which is different from the other contests.  I entered an ebook instead of going for the print competition. I got the Early Bird special fee. Results will be known in June, 2019.

Best Indie Book Award With about a dozen categories total and few where my book would fit, I took a chance and entered my book in the category of Literary/Mainstream because a book with a young boy character had previously won in that category, and the Children’s category seemed won mostly by picture books or early chapter books. I did not win, and I don’t believe finalists were recognized. The entry fee was in the moderate range.

There were two other competitions I considered entering. One was Christian Indie Awards, formerly Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) Awards. I didn’t enter because, based on past winners, I couldn’t decide between Children’s and YA categories. I wish now that I had made a decision and entered.

Another was the Benjamin Franklin Awards (Independent Book Publishing Association). The author’s indie publisher must be a member, and mine wasn’t, so my fee would’ve been $225 instead of $99. That placed it out of my reach.

I hope I’ve provided some useful information for new and established authors. In addition to these contests, look for those open only to authors in your city, state, or country or to authors of your particular ethnicity.  So many opportunities to win exist. You just have to find them and enter!

 

 

 

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Who won the poetry contest?

For this blog’s recent poetry contest, I received only three entries, but they are all stellar! Each deserves a prize.

I have chosen chasingintrospection’s poem (and it doesn’t even rhyme!) as the first place winner. If you have a U.S. mailing address, the choice is a paperback or ebook of 3 Things to Forget. The other two contestants win the ebook.

All contestants, please go to my website, cynthiattoney.com, then to the tab “About Me” in the menu, and then to the “Contact” form.

Chasingintrospection, please send me a U.S. mailing address or a Kindle address. Other contestants, if you have a Kindle address, send that to me and follow my instructions. If you don’t have a Kindle address, let me know.

Congratulations, everyone. I thoroughly enjoyed your poetry and hope you will continue to write!knighting-63001_1280

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The Real Scoop on Book Award Competitions, Part 1

girl reading book-841171_1920

I struggled for years deciding whether it was worth the time and expense to enter book award competitions. My first publisher had made the decision for me and covered the cost of entering my first book, now out-of-print, in the Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards. That book, the original Bird Face, won the bronze in the category Pre-Teen Fiction Mature Issues.

Fine and dandy, but with a new publisher and new books, entering award competitions was up to me. Which is often the case if an author has a small, indie publisher instead of one of big publishing houses. And really, does winning an award accomplish anything, especially if it’s not a Newbery or Caldecott Medal? Sales are the important thing, right? Shouldn’t an author concentrate on that?

Still, I entered the second book of the Bird Face series in the Moonbeams. (I didn’t know of any other appropriate competitions for my books back then.) Nothing came of that. Someone nominated my third book for the Grace Awards, and I entered it in the Carol Awards. Both of those are Christian book award competitions. It was a finalist in the Grace Awards. It didn’t achieve anything in the Carols, but a wonderful thing happened. One of the judges contacted me after the competition was over and told me that she had loved my book. That was so gratifying!

I was inspired. I started paying attention to awards that other novels written for tweens and teens had won. If I ever had a novel I truly believed could be a winner, I wanted to treat entering competitions like a science instead of taking a hit-or-miss approach.

The next novel published, The Other Side of Freedom, was my favorite. A coming-of-age historical tale set in 1925 Louisiana during Prohibition, it felt special to my husband and to me.

So I researched. I read articles and blog posts by agents, editors, and other authors listing book award competitions they recommended—or didn’t. Disagreement existed, of course. I didn’t take any one person’s word to heart for any particular book award contest, but rather looked for a positive consensus among several opinions. Then I considered not only cost to enter but available categories, prizes given, award presentation events, and previous winning authors I might have read. I noticed the cutoff for entries and compared that to the date for announcement of finalists or winners. Would they really have time to read all the entries and make a sound decision? The appearance of the awarding organizations’ websites played a factor but was not as great as the rest. (Note: Most organizations I researched had categories for nonfiction or separate award competitions for them.)

I spent a lot of time studying the book winners of various contests in categories where I thought my book might fit. Judging by Amazon samples and reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, did those books appear to be well written? Winners included self-published, indie/small-press published, and those with imprints of large publishers.

I made the decision to enter as many book award contests for The Other Side of Freedom as I could afford. Some competitions I found were free, some had very small fees or early-bird specials, and the cost for some made me pause—quite a while. But I figured someone had to win those money prizes, cool medals on ribbons, glamorous trophies, and get their names and book titles in press releases and catalogs. Why not me? And if the competitions placed my book title in front of new eyes (meaning new potential readers), the cost was small compared to most marketing opportunities.

So, here’s the beginning of my list of those competitions I entered over a period of ten months and some details about them. Learn more by following the links.

Independent Publisher Book Awards (Jenkins Group, Inc.)  I entered the “IPPY” awards in one category, Multi-cultural Fiction Juvenile/YA, for which I had to mail one book and pay a fee. I also entered  the Illumination awards for books written with a Christian worldview in the category Juvenile/YA, mailed  two books, and paid a fee (I missed the early bird rate). Results: My book did not win in either competition. Notes: This group also conducts the Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards. Author friends of mine have won in these at different times!

Next Generation Indie Book Awards (Independent Book Publishing Professionals Group) I entered two categories: Historical and Children’s/Juvenile Fiction. I paid a fee and had to mail three copies of my book. Results: First Place Children’s/Juvenile Fiction and Grand Prize First Place Fiction. Plus an awards gala, medals, trophy, and cash prizes!

Got you interested yet? It’s easy to spend hours, days, even weeks researching book awards.  I hope you’ll look into those mentioned above.  Then be sure to follow this blog to learn about ten more competitions I entered for The Other Side of Freedom. And what happened!

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