Archive for the ‘Awards’ Category

Do Book Awards Matter?

December 1, 2016

rf2016-awardReceiving Readers’ Favorite Award, November 2016

That depends on you, your book, and what you hope to achieve from entering contests.

We know from Bookscan sales data that very few book awards actually help to sell books.

The Pulitzer does, but most others make no measurable difference.

Sadly, from experience I have to agree. I’ve written six books and collected five awards, but the world isn’t knocking down my door.

Still, awards are helpful.

They signal a book’s quality to potential readers. They add credibility that gives assurance the book is worthwhile.

You get a little touch of magic from a third party endorsement. When an authority says your work is worthy, that’s actually priceless.

If You’re an Indie Author
Here’s a list of my Top 8 book awards worthy of your consideration:

    1.Entering IndieFab Awards should definitely be on your literary to-do list. Formerly ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year Awards.

    2.Find out how to make it on the Indie Next List to win an Indies Choice Book Award

    3.The National Indie Excellence Book Awards selects award winners and finalists based on overall excellence of presentation in dozens of categories. Created especially for indie and self-published authors.

    4.Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards. Here’s your chance to enter a competition exclusively for self-published books. One winning entry will receive $8,000 with nine first-place winners who’ll receive $1,000 each.

    5.Readers’ Favorite Awards receives submissions from independent authors, small publishers, and publishing giants like HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster, with contestants that range from the first-time, self-published author to New York Times best-selling authors.

    6.The Eric Hoffer Award for independent books recognizes excellence in publishing with a $2,000 grand prize and various category honors and press type distinctions. To enter, a book must be from an academic press, small press or self-published author.

    7.Next Generation Indie Book Awards. Thousands of dollars in prize money. Finalists and Winners receive a listing in the Next Generation Indie Book Catalog distributed to thousands of book buyers, media and others. Plus the top 70 books will be reviewed by a top New York Literary agent for possible representation.

    8.Shelf Unbound Magazine’s Best Indie/Self-Published Book Competition honors more than 100 indie/self-published books. In addition to $1,500 in cash prizes, they’ll feature the winner, five finalists, and more than 100 “notable” books in the December/January issue of Shelf Unbound.

    Any independently published book in any genre in any publication year is eligible for entry.

Entering a Competition
Was it worth it for me? Definitely.

Judged by competent professionals in the publishing world and deemed to be one of the best in its category, potential readers do take notice when a book wins an award.

Did book sales for Blood Lake increase? Did I recover the costs of entering the contest? Not yet, on both counts … and certainly not when I add the cost of round-trip plane fare to Miami, car rental and reserving nights at the Regency Hotel.

However, the book, if nothing else, has gained a measure of prestige. Who knows what the long-term benefits will be?

What Do You Think?
Should you send your book off to be judged alongside others? That depends. Are you confident you have a professional product that can compete and perhaps even win?

If you think so, then go for it. As Hockey great Wayne Gretzky said “You Can’t Score Unless You Shoot!”

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On December 3, 2016, I’ll be signing books from 1:00-4:00 pm at the annual “Giving Season” event at the Orion Township Public Library (825 Joslyn Rd).

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My books have all garnered some terrific reviews and you can see the ones I have available by using the Amazon link below. Look for them. Better yet, buy one and read it. You just might like it.

buy now amazon

You’re invited to visit my web site, BROKEN GLASS, or
like my Book of Face page. You can find me on Goodreads, or follow
some of my shorter ramblings on The Twitter.

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Comments posted below will be read, greatly appreciated and perhaps even answered.

How Has Your Week Been?

October 11, 2014

Oakland University Campus
Oakland University Campus, Rochester Michigan

Last week was certainly an interesting one for me.

On Saturday, October 4, 2014, I attended the Rochester Writers’ Conference at Oakland University. Well-organized as always, the break-out sessions offered something for everyone.

Discussions ranged from establishing theme, to writing poetry, to using social media, querying agents … and a great many other things related to the craft of writing. The organizer, local travel writer Michael Wylie, does a terrific job of putting it all together.

Surprises
I was surprised to learn I’d taken second place in the micro-fiction contest (a complete story in under 500 words) from last year’s conference. I was surprised a second time to discover I’d also won a prize in their flash fiction contest (a story in 100 words).

Both are extremely difficult exercises (try it sometime … here’s a challenge: write a complete story in exactly 100 words; no more, no less, and you must include the words onyx, circuitry and fermenting). When you try it you’ll know why winning felt pretty good. It’s hard to do.

Of course, I also had to read each winning selection to the entire conference audience, which can be a little unnerving if you’re not used to doing it. Fortunately, at my age, stage fright is not a problem. You have more trouble keeping me off the stage.

This year’s keynote speaker, Lev Raphael, was worth waiting to hear. The author of twenty-four books in genres from mystery to memoir, he teaches creative writing at Michigan State University, and his speech was both engaging and inspiring.

I’m already looking forward to attending the conferences Mike is organizing for 2015.

More Surprises
Then on Monday I returned to my orthopedic surgeon for a follow-up on the rotator cuff surgery I had in July. I’m making progress with my therapy, but it still hurts to move my arm and my range of motion hasn’t completely returned.

Doc reminded me that three of the four ligaments in my shoulder had to be repaired … one of the worst repairs he’s had to do (and shoulders are all he does). He warned me I probably have six more months of rehab to go.

Joy. Like I said before, it’s not exactly the way I wanted to enter the record books.

independence television logo100
On Wednesday, things were beginning to look up again when I was interviewed about my books by Independence Television, one of the small public television producers in this area.

Even though I’d been exposed to television production occasionally during my professional career, it was still both interesting and fun to be in front of the cameras for a change.

tv interview3 tv interview4
What things look like on-screen … and what it really looks like in the studio

While their broadcast reach is relatively small, I’ll be able to post an online link to the interview as soon as it’s available. It’s part of the “earned media” I’ve talked about here before … trying to generate word-of-mouth publicity.

I’ll be sure to let you know if the exposure does the kind of things I’m hoping for (I probably won’t be able to help myself).

Publishers Weekly
On Thursday, Publishers Weekly declined to review my latest book, ONE WAY STREET, but that’s OK. As their email pointed out:

“Our review process is highly competitive – both for self-published and traditionally published authors. We review a relatively small percentage of the books submitted … If your book is chosen, know that it truly stood out.”

They’re already looking at my novel, REICHOLD STREET. Based on their comment today, I take that as a very good thing … and I hope you’ll pardon me for tooting my own horn.

Friday the day was sunny and cool … a nice fall day. Therapy on my shoulder in the afternoon, and dinner with good friends in the evening. A pleasant end to the week.

I’m writing again and, as always … I hope you are, too.

Keep reading … keep writing … have fun.

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You can find my books as eBooks or paperback on Amazon, or at Barnes & Noble. You’re also invited to visit my web site, BROKEN GLASS, or like my Book of Face page. You can also follow my shorter ramblings on The Twitter.

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Comments posted below will be read, greatly appreciated and perhaps even answered.

 

Year of “The Yearling”

December 26, 2013

Cover_of_The_Yearling_1938_Original
Original Book Jacket Cover for The Yearling

The Things You Discover
With the bustle of Christmas preparations behind us for another year (and the sound of tearing wrapping paper still fresh), I began my usual year-end review of the many things I meant to do in 2013, but never got around to.

I also started making an updated list of the things I probably won’t do next year, either.

I’ve been extraordinarily blessed with new acquaintances, good relatives and great friends this past year, but my bride and I also have many pressing family issues to deal with right now (life is always like that, isn’t it?).

I wasn’t doing my usual patient search for literary things to write about, so it took me by surprise to come across a notation about the year 2013 that I had overlooked.

This past year was the seventy-fifth-anniversary celebration of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings 1938 novel The Yearling.

So, you ask, what’s the big deal?

A Best Seller
Well, for one thing, The Yearling was the best-selling novel of 1938. It held the number one spot that year for twenty-three consecutive weeks, sold millions of copies and has been translated into Spanish, Chinese, French, Japanese, German, Italian, Russian and twenty-two other languages.

It was also awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1939.

But it’s only vaguely familiar today to young American readers, and in 2012, it only sold about six-thousand copies … in all formats.

Although that’s an annual sales figure that would thrill most indie authors … they’re dismal numbers for a book considered a classic.

Running Out of Steam
It seems The Yearling is slowly sinking into obscurity. Why? How does such a classic novel run out of steam?

It wasn’t as if The Yearling was Rawlings first book. She also wrote the little-remembered South Moon Under (which, remarkably, was also a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize … in 1933).

south-moon-under2
Original Cover for South Moon Under

One factor might be Marjorie Rawlings herself. Matronly and angry-looking, she was not a very good public speaker … and she was certainly not a sexy figure. As a woman of independent means, Rawlings could live as she chose, but her abuse of alcohol increasingly ruled her life.

She advanced no politics and didn’t have a spectacular, memorable “rock star” life or death that was covered by all the available news media … just a lonely, broken-hearted alcoholic one (1896–1953).

200px-Marjorie_Kinnan_Rawlings
Majorie Kinnan Rawlings

Despite her apparent successes, some critics considered her writing to lack the depth of great literature, although they praised her skill in reproducing the color, characters, speech, local customs and way of life of backwoods Florida.

“Writing is agony for me,” she once told an interviewer. “I work at it eight hours every day, hoping to get six more pages, but I’m satisfied if I get three.”

Wrong Genre?
Another factor in its apparent demise might be the prevailing view today that The Yearling – despite a few uses of the “n-word” – is a book for young readers. I find that surprising, because Pulitzer’s are not an award for children’s books.

Perhaps, in the final analysis, sales of The Yearling are fading because the story reflects a world view here we’re also losing … a much more simplistic time, where self-sufficient farming and hunting were individual necessities, and families only survived by their daily hard work and wits.

As that world disappears it seems almost inevitable the book, and the stunning landscape it evokes, would continue to lose audience.

Readers today expect their protagonists to come face-to-face with the true meaning of hunger, loneliness and fear in other ways … like road rage, sex, vampires and zombies.

5491372-lyearling poster
MGM Movie Poster for The Yearling

As someone who read the book at a fairly young age and who also remembers the many early television broadcasts of the old, tear-jerker black & white film based upon it, it seems the world spins now at a different rate. Faster and more unrelenting.

ClaudeJarman_a533_300w375
Click picture for a scene with young actor Claude Jarman from The Yearling

Perhaps … just perhaps … the book, with all its heart-tugging sentimentality and backwoods charisma, is fading away because it can no longer keep up with the pace.

I think that’s sad.

It’s like forgetting that it’s the intention you bring to the simplest gift of time, love, laughter or friendship that is worth far more than anything you could put a bow on, because the best gift you can give your loved ones is you.

Hmmmmm. I think I just made my resolution for 2014.

Happy New Year.

 


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