I recently ran across an article entitled Indie Author Awards: The Ugly Truth, written by J.N Chaney. I opened the link, honestly thinking it would be derogatory and bashing but was pleasantly surprised. Its focus was about the entry fees and the actual return you get for winning one of the “prestigious awards,” and how instead you could use that money for purposeful marketing.
I’m sure we have all entered a contest hoping to be named its winner, and even paid for that entry. Personally, I’ve never paid more than a $10 entry fee for any of the contests I’ve participated in, which I could count on just one hand. However, I was thrilled when I got to the part in Chaney’s article that read:
“NOT ALL INDIE AUTHOR AWARDS SUCK
There are also tons of free awards with no entry cost, such as the awards being handed out in conventions like Utopia and Penned Con. These don’t cost a thing. There’s no entry fee, no costs to use the award if you win. Awards like these encourage peer review, networking, and connection — all crucial to your success as an author.”
SCORE!!! That’s one award I’ve actually WON––Penned Con: Best Cover 2015, along with a Reader’s Choice Award 2015 from a different venue. However, did it have the intended goal according to Chaney:
“Remember, at the end of the day, we're here to sell books. Awards can be a nice bonus, but their reward must be meaningful and they have to actually help you.”
Winning both of these awards was great, but did they make me more money? Perhaps. Honestly, I’m not sure, as any spike in numbers could have been contributed to sales or ads my publisher had running at the same time. For me, I was just so humbled to have even been nominated, and grateful that my work had received even the slightest amount of recognition, because that’s what it’s all about, right? Getting your stuff out there and recognized.
As for the Best Cover award, I can’t even take credit for that, lol. That was all the work of my fantastic cover designer, Regina Wamba. She was who I thanked when I told the crowd at Penned Con, “Thanks for liking what I loved.” At that same convention, however, I was also nominated for Author of the Year (Fantasy, Dystopian, Mystery) which I graciously lost to the amazing Denise Grover Swank. I was simply blessed for even being in the same category with her, Amy A. Bartol, and JD Nelson to mention a few, which brings us right back to the peer review, networking, and connection that Chaney pin-pointed.
For me, that connection with authors, readers, and bloggers is what it’s all about! Does it make me happy when I look at my award sitting on my shelf, of course, but what makes me even happier is knowing I’ll get to see the smiling faces of my friends and fans at my next event. Maybe I’ll get another nomination, maybe not, regardless, it’s all about putting myself out there, connecting, and making it count!
The Witches of BlackBrook
Winner: Best Cover Penned Con 2015
Winner: 2015 Readers Choice Award