Friday, July 12, 2013

Awards and Rewards

Jillian gets her Selah Certificate for Chameleon
Awards are few and far between for most writers. They are fun to receive as you can tell from the smile on my face, but it's not something you can expect and if you put all your hopes and dreams into receiving awards you are bound to be disappointed. Yet it's hard not to hope. 

I think there may be writers out there who don't enter contests because they don't want to be crushed. It can feel like another form of rejection when you don't final or win. I like to look at it from another perspective. In fact if you're going to enter contests you have to have another perspective other than winning.

When you enter a contest you are doing several things:

  • You are putting your published or unpublished work in front of others. Whether the reader likes your work or not it is getting read and discussed and evaluated. Not everyone will appreciate your words. Just like reviews on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc. You'll have critics and fans. 
  • You wanted to be a writer and this gives you the opportunity for feedback. That's good!
  • Even if you don't final or win you are marketing. Contests are a form of marketing. Yes, you have to pay to enter contests if your publishing company doesn't do that and the dollars can  add up, but if you want to market this is one reasonable alternative. There are contests all over the country and if you strategically pick places you want to get others to read your novels you can do that by entering different contests throughout the United States.
      So how do you find these contests? Do your homework.

Most of the big conferences have a contest. 
The Selah Award is sponsored through The Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. Here's all the festivities at the Awards Banquet if you care to watch. 

Romance Writers of America has a contest for published and unpublished writers.RWA 
If you are unaware of them and you write romance you might want to visit the page. RWA has many chapters and different chapters offer different contests. I'm thrilled that Chameleon also made it to the finals for the prestigious Daphne du Maurier Award this year for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense. You can learn more about the Daphne and the Kiss of Death chapter at RWA Mystery and Suspense. There are contests for both published and unpublished writers.

The Christy Awards  recently took place.You can read about how these awards work and just how special they are for authors.

The 2013 Carol Finalists have already been announced and the winners will be announced at conference in September.

That's a start for you and there are many, many more but I'll let you do some more footwork. Remember to develop a good attitude about awards. Be happy for others when you don't win. There will always be other opportunities. Try not to fall into the trap of the green-eyed envy monster. It's not always easy. I found this article that you might be interested in if envy is a trap for you. It's called, Killing the Green-Eyed Monster  I've never read this book. I just Googled envy as it relates to Christians.

Okay, so what do I do if I don't final or win in a contest? I pray that I can be a good sport and that's not really a problem anymore. In my earlier writing days before I had gained some self-confidence it was painful when I got those critiques back, and hurtful when I got rejected. I used to think, "What is so good about this or that book?" I learned that I had to be honest with myself about my skill level and that skill and awards don't necessarily match up. Bottom line is don't let awards go to your head, but enjoy the moment and look for a way to help others in their writing careers. 

Keep a healthy attitude and perspective and then go ahead, enter a contest.

What do you think about contests? Have good news you want to share?

The 3rd book in The Ravensmoore Chronicles

Want to connect? You can reach me at these places.               

Twitter @JillKentAuthor
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Debby Mayne said...

I agree that contests are good as long as people enter them with the right attitude. Not all good books or manuscripts will win, but it's a great way to get noticed if you final.

Jillian Kent said...

So true, Debby. I know one of the things that used to drive me nuts as an unpublished writer was the 3 scores that typically never failed to be high, low, and in the middle. Very subjective and I've really never noticed contests making a difference in sales.

Lena Nelson Dooley said...

I thought it was interesting that two of the Realms authors on this blog--Jill and me--were in the three finalists for the same category. I felt honored to be one of the finalists with you.

Jillian Kent said...

That was fun, Lena. I feel special anytime one of my books gets any kind of recognition. There's a healthy balance though and we all just need to keep on writing. Contests will mean someone is reading our book no matter the outcome.

Darrel Nelson said...

Thanks for the wonderful information, Jillian. I found it very helpful. Congrats on the Selah Certificate. Your smile is well-deserved.

Jillian Kent said...

Thanks Darrel,
I'm still smiling.

Beth Shriver said...

Congratulations, and thanks for the info. There are so many contests it's overwhelming!