I used to click around Facebook and other parts of the internet and wonder “How did all these indie authors win these awards? Did someone read their book and decide they needed one? Are they real or did they make them up? How do I get one??”
The answer (typically) is: They entered a contest and won.
There are many different contests out there and many geared towards the indie and small press published author. Fans of their books may have suggested the author enter their work or the author may have found out about it on their own, but the key point is that they took a chance and entered.
Obviously there’s more to winning than just entering. You need a good story, editing, an eye catching cover, etc. but even if you have all those things, if you don’t take the chance, then you definitely won’t be able to call yourself award winning.
The catch about some of these contests is making sure they are legit. Sadly, there are people out there who are just looking to scam some money from poor unsuspecting authors. If the entrance fee is exuberant. be sure to do your research before paying it and entering the contest. I’ve seen them run anywhere from being free to costing $50-$100 dollars. Yes, it’s a risk you have to take and you won’t necessarily be getting anything back in return, but if you do win, it’s something that can really help boost your sales.
Often there is an emblem or starbust that can be added to book covers and webpages that let potential readers or agents know that the book has won an award. I think it’s a good way to get your work to stand out in a crowd of books that may not be as well written, edited, or formatted as yours. Indie authors still get looked down upon due to some people who rush to put something out and make the rest of us look bad. To be able to say your work is award winning will show readers that you’ve done things right and that they probably won’t be disappointed if they give your book a chance.
Do your research and decide if the fee is worth the possible outcome. Make sure the contest is legit and don’t be afraid to spread the word to friends and fans if it’s something that needs outside votes (but remember, that doesn’t mean badger them!).
Have you entered any writing contests? What was your experience like?