This title is a bit misleading since traditionally published and self-published authors can enter many different book awards contests, including the Readers' Favorite Book Awards Contest, but I've found that most of the people asking me questions about the importance of these contests are Indie authors.
To those of you wondering whether or not entering these contests are worth your while, the answer to that is yes.
Consider how much more likely a reader will be willing to buy a book from a NYT, USA Today, or Amazon bestselling author compared to a book or an author without any accolades. It may seem a bit snobby when you get right down to it, but at the end of the day those accolades and awards can be used for some seriously advantageous marketing.
I'm always drawn to a book cover that has a shiny awards seal on it. I think to myself, "Hey, this book received some recognition. I wonder why." When fighting to be noticed on Amazon amidst a sea of wonderfully written books by talented authors, anything that can up your game and keep your reader glued to your book's Amazon page, prompting them to click the "One-Click" button or sample the chapters, is a definite win.
Us authors need all the help we can get.
So the next question you're going to ask is if I have put my money where my mouth is, braved the possibility of rejection, (as authors we do that everyday), and entered a few contests of my own?
Allow me to share my experiences with the Readers' Favorite Awards Contest. It's an international book awards contest held every year. Here is a little quote from the site.
"Nearly 300 authors and guests attend the Readers' Favorite International Book Awards Ceremony in Miami each year from as far away as Pakistan, Australia, Brazil, Peru, Switzerland, Singapore, India, the UK and more. Guest speakers have been industry experts and celebrities including Paul Michael Glaser (Starsky & Hutch), Eriq La Salle (E.R., Coming to America) and Dete Meserve, president of Wind Dancer films (Home Improvement, What Women Want)."
I was first drawn to their site because of my need for some credible reviews, and this site offers them for free. As I explored the website throughout the week I discovered an awesome author forum, an opportunity to get paid to review books for other authors, and an amazing book awards contest I could enter my book in.
I'd never done anything like that before, but I really wanted to challenge myself, get out of my comfort zone, and enter the contest. Since I never seem to do anything half arsed, I didn't enter just one book. I entered two.
I entered The Healer and Marry Your Billionaire before the deadline during the first week of April. They promised to announce the winners in September. In each category, there is awarded a gold medal, silver medal, bronze medal, and an honorable mention. I entered and then tried to forget about it since I had several months to wait.
In September I received two different emails from Readers' Favorite. Allow me to post them here so you can see what I saw. I think it will explain why I ended up in a shocked heap on the floor of my living room,
I got second place for both books in their categories?
Shut the front door!
I was so excited. You have no idea. Once you win, you get all this information on extra things you may have won like a possible movie deal, publishing contracts, free marketing, etc. You also get to download that awesome seal up above and add it to your cover.
You don't have to attend the awards ceremony they hold every year in Miami, Florida, but it was the first time I had ever won anything, and my husband and I decided to splurge. We headed to Miami for the ceremony, met some amazing people in the industry, and had a fabulous time. My mom and best friend also attended for added moral support. Check out these fun picks.
Since then, I've been involved in lots of author collaborations that required authors to have been awarded in some way. I've also been told by several subscribers to my newsletter that the award on my books were what caught their eye and made them stop to take a closer look at everything I had to offer.
I've gone on to do presentations at various colleges and writer's conferences, discussing marketing tactics (book awards being one of them) that involve gaining recognition for your work. Obviously, the more exposure I received, the more books I sold. Crazy, that.
I think, as authors, we truly deserve the awards we receive for the many grueling hours we spend on creative writing, edits, rewrites, and everything in between.
We bleed a little every time we put pen to paper. It's nice to get rewarded for it. There are obviously many other amazing contests for writers to enter, and I hope you'll enter as many as you can, when you can.
To get you started on your book awards adventure, take a look at Readers' Favorite Awards Contest and discover everything it has to offer. I think you'll be thrilled that you did.
As always, happy marketing my author friends!
The Blond Guerrilla
An aspect crucial for any compelling character and crucial for your plot as well is assigning some kind of inner conflict to your protagonist. The best way to do that is to give them two things they want most-or possibly two goals-and putting those wants in direct opposition to one another.
An example of this is a particular inner conflict that is used quite often in romance. The well known and sometimes dreaded love triangle. Nothing is more conflicting than loving two people at the same time and trying to stick with either one or the other.
I'm gonna use twilight here despite the many eye rolls that may follow. It has a lot of critics, and many people have asked why it was so popular in the first place, but for those of you criticizing the writing in general and questioning its appeal to readers, one thing you have to look at is what Stephenie Meyer nailed, and that was inner conflict, the type of inner conflict that struck a huge emotional chord with readers everywhere.
Bella is torn between two supernatural creatures. She can't live without Edward, but she's sure she'll never recover from losing Jacob. As if that wasn't enough to deal with, she wants more than anything to become a vampire, but she'll eventually have to say good-bye to her immediate family if she chooses to give up her human life. And once she does become a vampire will she lose her humanity in the process and turn into some crazed, uncontrollable blood sucker? The inner conflicts keep piling up one right after the other.
Bella isn't the only one with conflicting issues. Edward is a huge tangle of wants and desires that can't peacefully coincide with one another. He wants human blood, but he doesn't want to kill humans. He wants to hold onto his humanity, and he wants what will tear that humanity from him. He wants Bella to be his forever, and yet he loves her so much he can't imagine turning her and subjecting her to an existence he loathes. He wants to protect her and he wants to be near her, but his close proximity to her threatens her safety as well. Protecting her involves letting her go.
Yep. Stephanie Meyer nailed it, and then targeted it towards teens who are generally chalk full of dramatic inner conflicts themselves, though those are usually of their own making. Ha! You may or may not like Bella and Edward's story, but there's no denying that they are compelling and memorable due to the compiling inner conflicts thrust upon them. If authors weren't writing about vampires before, they're certainly doing it now, as evidenced by the now saturated paranormal genre.
Emotionally tear your characters into two opposite directions. Go ahead. I give you permission.
If you want people to consider your characters compelling and memorable and to be thinking about them even after they finish your book then inner conflict is a weapon in your arsenal of writing techniques that you can't afford to ignore.
Now think of your own characters and consider a few things.
Just remember that inner conflict equals compelling characters, and compelling characters equals a story your readers won't be able to put down.
If you're looking for more resources on crafting compelling characters, I highly recommend you pick up the book, Writing The Breakout Novel by Donald Maass. I have highlighted this sucker like crazy!
I love this book. It has been an incredible guide and reference whenever I begin crafting plots and characters. I hope it can be a helpful resource for you as you continue refining your writing process.
Happy writing author friends!
The Blond Guerrilla
As authors, I believe many of us are so busy writing our own books, setting up our websites, and figuring out how to promote our books on said websites (among other venues) that the idea of building an email list and marketing our books to that list becomes so overwhelming we just don't get started on it at all.
However, I have learned you need two very important ingredients if you want to make a living as a writer.
1.) A product to sell(your book)
2.) An audience to sell your product to.
I know you're thinking I've oversimplified this, but at the end of the day, the best way to build that audience is by building your email list and learning to develop a relationship with your subscribers. Which means email marketing is something you can't afford to live without.
You've gotta learn how to do it, folks, but you need to make sure that the information you gather on the subject is relevant and valuable, otherwise, you're wasting your time on email marketing strategies that don't net you the results you want.
I know I've mentioned how much I love AWeber, but I'm going to say it again. I love this company so much. They offer so many insightful tutorials on this particular subject, and that's why I am super excited to introduce you to their most recent tutorial.
The Ultimate Guide To Email Marketing!
"Email marketing doesn't have to be intimidating. You just have to know how to do it right. This guide covers everything from planning an email marketing strategy to growing your email list to optimizing your emails for success.
If you're brand new to email marketing (or just looking to give your campaigns a boost), this guide will help you get started and attain the results you actually want. We've tapped into real-world examples to give you inspiration and even asked our industry friends to share their tips for email marketing success.
Create real connections with your community through email and grow your business in the process with The Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing."
AWeber has made quite the promise in those opening lines above, but they truly have provided an amazing guide, plus some bonus materials you can grab from them in the process.
I especially like the section on building great landing pages and creating subject lines that get people to open your emails. Honestly, it's all good and the information is all free. So if any of you are interested in learning how to build an audience of loyal followers then I suggest you grab this guide and start your journey as soon as possible.
The step-by-step guide is easy to follow and has assignments that are easy to implement. You can grab your free copy of the guide by clicking on the pic below.
As always, I hope this information helps you on your author journey.
Happy email marketing my friends!
The Blond Guerrilla
The Blond Guerrilla is your one-stop guide to all things Indie writing, self-publishing, and marketing! I hope you find everything you need to make your author journey a success.
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