IT IS MUCH EASIER TO HAVE SOMEONE ELSE NOMINATE YOU
Modesty and lack of bragging were bred into my generation by our parents.
But if you write indie, you’re going to be in charge of your own publicity and marketing, and that means doing everything a publisher does for one of their favored authors – up to and including suggesting their authors’ work to the various prize committees who choose the award winners.
Bit of an incestuous circle process, but some competitions that are meant for traditionally published authors actually don’t bar indies from applying.
Whether or not said indies are truly given a blind reading, so there is no bias – assuming the judges MIGHT be biased against SPAs – you’ll just have to trust them if you want your book considered.
If you don’t submit your book for an award
there is very little chance, astronomically small, that you might win that prize.
There is usually an entry fee, often substantial, always non-trivial, and indies have tight budgets: it takes a lot of sales at, say, $2.99 on Amazon and with the 70% royalties option, to cover a $75 entry fee – about 36 sales.
Plus you have to be very sure that your book, considered fairly, is the kind of book which might win that award – or you’re just throwing money down a hole.
And that’s where an honest look at your own work, by yourself or via the reviews people have left, and where you have to decide who is astounded at your writing ability and who is being nice or supportive.
The types of books which have won the award in question in previous years
may help to decide if yours is worth the investment.
You must be prepared to lose.
I’ve just applied for an award I think Pride’s Children: NETHERWORLD could conceivably win. It would be a real coup for an indie. And no, unless I win or even get long-listed, I’m not going to name the award – because it’s exactly that reach the Browning quote talks about.
And I’m not that brave.
Things change as you go along
Having PURGATORY named 2021 Best Contemporary novel by Indies Today has emboldened me to seek other awards, because, after how tough on me physically this year has been, I could use a win.
My writing matured between the time I started writing a mystery (1995), and the time I had the idea for Pride’s Children, and acquired polish from then to when I published PURGATORY in 2015.
There were many nice words in the reviews the first book received, and some of those reviews were embarrassingly good.
I hope NETHERWORLD is as good as or better than PURGATORY; I think it goes places the first novel in the trilogy wasn’t ready for, and has a powerful ending, but that’s me. It hasn’t received enough reviews yet for me to tell if only my beta reader and I like that ending, or if it’s going to be a game changer.
But then I remind myself that I bought myself an Airwheel S8 as my own 70th birthday present (as my mobility device), because I told myself I would regret it the rest of my life if I didn’t even try – and I’ve had the pleasure of being bionic (and showing off at all occasions – I’m such a ham) for over three years now, and I was right about being able to use a bicycle on a hoverboard to get around.
Andrea del Sarto – a few more quotes:
…Speak as they please, what does the mountain care?
Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp,
Or what’s a heaven for?…—
…At any rate ’tis easy, all of it!
No sketches first, no studies, that’s long past:
I do what many dream of, all their lives,
—Dream? strive to do, and agonize to do,
And fail in doing…—
…Pouring his soul, with kings and popes to see,
Reaching, that heaven might so replenish him…—
…Had you, with these the same, but brought a mind!
Some women do so. Had the mouth there urged
“God and the glory! never care for gain.
“The present by the future, what is that?
“Live for fame… I might have done it for you…
[Thanks to the Poetry Foundation for the text.]
I’ll post anything that comes from these submissions, but I am so glad I made them.