Entering competitions and...what?! WINNING awards??
So sometime around February (4 months after the book was released) I came upon some information which lead me to believe I should have been entering award competitions from the start. There are many different types of competitions. Some are suitable for books published by larger publising houses (Caldecott, Newberry, etc) and there are competitions for smaller Indie published books (Indie Awards, Moonbeam, IPPY etc). There are even awards for best book trailers or best cover design. I thought I would start in a place that would make the most sense, so I entered 3 different indie award competitions which happened to have deadlines within the coming months. This involved choosing the category (or categories) that the book fits best, mailing a book or two and paying a fee for each category one entered. Then you just sit back and waaaaaait to hear if your work has been chosen. I had no idea what to expect and yet I had a gut feeling that 'The Bezert' might have a shot at an award in one or another category...I just wasn't sure which. The categories are broken down into genre and then there are even sub categories within each genre (ie Childrens Storybooks: ages 2-6, 8-12, inspirational, illustrated etc). They also have specific other groups such as first novel, best illustrations, cover design and more. So I chose different categories for each competition depending on the options. Trusting my instincts, with no idea what the outcome might be.
The first winners deadline came and went with no results. I saw the final list of winners and was not shocked or disappointed by the results. It was fun to look through the winners in each category to see what had been chosen. Then one afternoon when I was least expecting it, I received a random email with the header "Congratulations on your Win in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards". It was very surreal and as I opened the email to read on, I saw that it was indeed REAL. The Bezert had won a national award in the category of 'Gift Book'. Not just a finalist...but a winner. This particular organization is the largest of the Indie Book Awards and is considered to be the "Sundance" of book awards. It also holds an annual banquet in NYC to award and celebrate the winners & finalists. So, of course, we HAD to go. What an amazing opportunity to meet other authors, agents, publishers and more. So we booked 2 tickets and spent a long weekend in Manhattan. It was all that I could have imagined it to be and more. What an honor. I had read that The Next Generation Indie Book Awards is highly a professional organization and very supportive to Indie authors and publishers. The banquet proved this to be true.
About a week before we left for this event I received a second email from the Indie Excellence Awards group indicating that I had indeed won in that competition as well. This time the category was for Children's Inspiration/motivational. What an amazing month this had been! Although I missed a few opportunities to get in on awards right after the inital launch, I am grateful that I still took the steps to follow up and make this happen. I will continue to enter a few more upcoming competitions in the coming months & years. Seeing the lovely gold foil stickers on the books and meeting wonderful people along the way makes it oh so worthwhile.