I’m starting with a disclaimer here, lest anyone think I’m out to bash contests. I’ve written at least one book that’s won an award, two that have finaled in contests. Even before I was published, I entered contests, finaled and won. I still enter my books in contests when I can.
I think it helps sometimes to hear that affirmation that our book somehow fills a need, touches a heart, resounds with someone. Hearing that affirmation makes those thousands of hours of research, writing, and revising worth it.
I continue this post with a confession: last Friday I kept one eye on my phone and the other on my work throughout the day. I knew that this was likely the day I’d get a phone call if I finaled in a contest. The hours ticked by and the day wound itself down. Then came the weekend and I knew that the phone call wouldn’t come, at least not this year.
Not to negate the importance of contests, but books in contests are measured by a small group of judges, likely a trio or a quartet. Most of the time the book is judged by industry experts, fans, and sometimes library pros.
I find myself going back and forth between loving contests yet not quite believing in their value. I find myself still entering and still waiting for a phone call. There are books that I’ve read and loved that have never won a prize. There are some books that have won prizes that truly deserved the award.
I’ve found myself giddy with delight at an awards banquet, hearing a friend’s name called as they won an award for their book. The year I won, I was speechless and could scarcely breathe as I made it through my speech.
Where do you stand? Does it matter to you if a book has won a particular prize? Does the judgment of a trio or quartet of readers outweigh the rankings of readers in places such as Goodreads? I want to know.
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Lynette Sowell writes fiction for the inspirational market, from contemporary romance to mysteries. She’s always looking for the perfect recipe for a story–or a great dish–and is always up for a Texas road trip. Her next book The Sweetheart of Starlight releases through Heartsong Presents in August and spotlights Texas barbecue.