Are they worth the time and money? Beverly Stowe McClure’s books have won dozens of contests and she’s here to share her thoughts on the subject.
To start with, let’s look at contests you might want to enter. First, check to see if it’s free, or do they charge a fee. You can find this information by googling contests and going to the site. Warning, your eyes will bug out there are so many. No kidding. You’ll find the “big” ones, like the Nobel Prize for Literature, The Man Booker Prize, the Caldecott and Newbery Awards for children’s books, among many others. These do not charge fees, as far as I could find.
Some of the contests I’ve entered do have fees; others do not. My thinking on this is that the cost is part of marketing my books. Is it worth the price? Everyone has his/her own opinion about this. Winning and being a finalist boosts my ego and makes me think I’m doing something right. Being able to put a sticker on the book is so much fun. Here are some of the contests I’ve entered and the results. Maybe, if you’ve been thinking about entering a contest, this will give you a little more information.
Children’s Literary Classics Book Awards The fee is $95.00. Yes, that’s a lot of money, but I have four books that have won in different years: two gold, two silver. That’s encouragement. They also review your book, and writers know how important reviews are.
2. Eric Hoffer Book Award The fee is $55.00. I have a finalist here. They pay the winners in cash. Unfortunately, finalists only receive a certificate. These are not just for children’s books.
3. Next Generation Indie Book Awards They charge $75.00. I have two finalists here. These are books for all ages, too. They also pay the winners in cash. Again, I got certificates. One day…
Beware, though. I had a bad experience with one contest that no longer exists. The first time I sent a story to them, I won gold. It was a very prestigious contest, I thought. I believe it was a respected contest in the beginning, but the next year I entered, sent my $50.00, and waited and waited and waited. Time passed for announcing the winners, and I couldn’t find anyone to ask what was wrong. Another contestant emailed me with the news that her money had been refunded. The contest no longer existed. She gave me the contact person’s email, and he very nicely refunded my money. It seems another person, one of the judges, just quit. So, be careful. Find out about the awards before sending them your money. If they’re free, there’s no loss, except the cost of mailing your books.
To me, contests are fun, a way of letting others see my work. Has it resulted in more sales? Not that I can tell, but there’s always tomorrow. And who knows?
I could give you a list of contests and awards, but they’re easy to find on the Internet. There are contests for everyone, from non-fiction, to fiction for adults and for children. Even if you’re not in the writing business, you may have hobbies that can win awards. Google them. I found some interesting ones. You might even discover a story there.
So, love them, or hate them, or have no opinion. I like them.
Most of the time, you’ll find Beverly Stowe McClure at her computer, typing stories little voices whisper in her ears. When she’s not writing, she’s snapping pictures of wildlife, flowers and clouds. She’s sometimes known as the “Bug Lady.” She’s not telling why.
Remember - the IWSG Twitter pitch party, #IWSGPit, is Thursday, July 27, 2017. Polish your pitches and we’ll see you then!