June 25, 2008
With Book Contests - Winning Isn't Everything By Kelley R. Taylor | printable version
In December 2007, I read an article in WritersWeekly in which C. Hope Clark talked about book contests that welcome self-published authors. Having just published a women's health book about coping with infertility, I immediately began visiting the websites for the various awards. At that moment, I had no idea how valuable that one article, and my reaction to it, would turn out to be.
Of the nine contests mentioned in the article, I selected four for which my book, "Pregnancy Wishes & IVF Dreams: A Story & Lessons About Life, Love & Infertility," seemed to be a good fit. After marking down the entry dates on my calendar, I went back to my daily grind and quickly forgot about entering any of them. When I finally flipped my calendar to April, I had to rush to send my entry applications in on time. Even so, I felt confident. Like most authors, I believe in my book--I would not have written it otherwise.
A couple of months later, ForeWord Magazine's 2007 Book of the Year Awards listed Pregnancy Wishes as a finalist in the women's issues category. Not long after that, my book was also acknowledged as a women's issues finalist for the 2008 National Indie Excellence Awards. Later, a third contest announced its finalists. Pregnancy Wishes wasn't among them. Still, that didn't matter. My book, which I had labored over for two years, had been recognized in two national book contests.
Those finalist designations are significant for many reasons. From a business standpoint, they have brought new exposure to Pregnancy Wishes, and have enhanced the marketing aspect of my website. Additionally, the accompanying gold finalist seals will serve as a positive distinguishing feature on the front or back cover of the book, and hopefully translate to increased book sales.
But more important than the apparent promotional benefits, entering these contests and being recognized for my writing as a result, has given me new confidence. My work has been validated in a way that it hadn't been before. As a first-time book author, having that kind of confirmation is just as good as actually winning the contest. Even so, I've still got my fingers crossed. The final book competition I entered won't announce its winners until fall.
Kelley R. Taylor is an award-winning legal and business journalist whose work has appeared in national publications including WritersWeekly, The Dabbling Mum, Principal Leadership Magazine, and the Education Digest. Kelley is also the author of Pregnancy Wishes & IVF Dreams: A Story & Lessons About Life, Love & Infertility. A poignant story about coping with infertility and becoming stronger as a result, Pregnancy Wishes was a finalist for ForeWord Magazine's 2007 Book of the Year Awards and for the 2008 National Indie Excellence Awards. Visit http://www.PregnancyWishes.com for more information.