Why You Should Consider Entering a Book Award Contest
Today I’m sharing why you, an author, should enter a book award contest. There’s nothing quite like it.
You write a Christian book. You turn it into your agent … or to an editor who you hope will notice your talent. And then, after some time, yes! The book is contracted. It goes into print. It has a cover and pages and even words on the pages. There could possibly be pictures.
Or … it’s a blog post. Or an article. Or a devotion within a devotional. Or a short story within a collection. Seriously, it really doesn’t matter. What matters is that you wrote something and that something—those words that stirred in your heart and then poured out from your fingers onto a keyboard—are published.
Then … you get an email. Someone read your work and they liked it. It spoke to them. Changed them. Made them think and then do something positive. Or, they read it to their children (because it’s a children’s book, after all) and the kids begged to hear it again and again. Or, they forwarded your online article to a friend who is going through a rough time and the friend’s world changed.
All because you wrote something.
Simply nothing like it.
You may receive a check for all your efforts. And that’s pretty fantastic too.
But then … you start to hear about book contests. “You should enter that into a contest,” someone tells you. “I bet it could win. Or, at the very least, final.”
How to Enter a Book Award Contest
So, you look into these things called “contests.” And there are so many of them! Whew! Which one or ones do you “go for”? Once decided—whether one or twenty-one—you fill out the forms . . . you write your entry check (or pay through PayPal) … then send off your baby and wait. You may circle the day on the calendar when they say you’ll hear something. You may not; you may forget all about it.
And then … you receive an email. Or a phone call. Your work made it into the finals! Great galaxies! Who do you call first? (Well, first you thank God . . . and then you dance around a little . . . and then you call your mother. Or your spouse. Or your best friend. Perhaps your neighbor.)
Sometimes there are banquets or ceremonies where all the finalists gather in sparkling or pressed attire and wait to hear if their book went on to win. Other times you simply wait to hear on a Facebook Live announcement or via email. Sometimes there are plaques. Sometimes there are medals or medallions. Sometimes there are even engraved silver boxes. If the event is live, there are always lots of photos taken. Thank goodness for smartphones.
Well now, during all this, you’ll probably hear yourself say things like, “It’s an honor just to final.” But, the truth is, you kinda really sorta wanna win.
Either way, the finalists and the winners walk away with a sweet kudo for their book.
But why be a part of a book award contest, really?
Well, for one … it is thrilling to hear your name called from the podium, receive the certificate or award, have your photo taken, and being able to say, “I’m an award-winning author.” (You know publishers and readers notice things like that.)
There is a discipline in following the exact instructions of a contest. This is the same type of discipline that is necessary when working with agents and editors. Oftentimes, the money you spend goes toward helping newbie writers to attend conferences, etc. Entering book contests is also an opportunity for writers to release their words to someone else. To say, “Yes, I wrote this” and to trust that it will be all right.
Whether you win or not, entering a book contest is your chance to shine.
And you get to have your photo taken, sometimes with people you know! Better still, they may get to have their picture taken with you, too.
Eva Marie Everson is the President of Word Weavers International, a Christian writers critique group. She is also the Director of the Selah and Foundation Awards, a Christian book award contest, which is part of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference.