Yup, I would love to display a sticker like that! Who wouldn't?
There are so many books out there proudly displaying their literary award winner stickers. Of course, I would love to have a shiny sticker on all of my books and have a chance to brag about being an award winner author, but... here is always a but. Which contest should I enter? Are these award contest legitimate? Will it help my writing career if I would win one of these contests? Is it worth entering any literary contests just because they have an attractive website and promise recognition? . I wouldn't do that without a very thorough research on the prestige of the contest.
Many writers enter literary contests hoping to be noticed by agents and publishers, a way to add writing credits, or promote a self-published book. This can definitely worth adding to your writing resume if the contest is sponsored by an organization with high standing in the publishing industry.
I id some research to get a general idea about the real and fake award contests. I know that there must be a lot of fake contests out there, so I started my research with the scams.
Here is what I found so far:
There are very few of the hundreds of award contests out there has prestige that would make entering their contests worthwhile. Winning a contest run by an internet contest mill probably don't carry any weight with agents and readers because they may be aware that small contests are much less likely to have professional judging standards.
However, we can't really label literary CONTEST MILLS scams with high entry fees and dozens of entry categories, since there usually are winners, who generally do receive the promise prize. But keep in mind that they conduct the contests with their high entry fees (anywhere from $60 to $80) with the sole purpose, to make money. However, because of the probable lack of rigorous judging standards (judges are rarely identified, and in some cases we can suspect that they may not exist at all), are unlikely to carry much weight and professional prestige. They promise much of the benefits that prestigious awards can bring to your career, and there’s even a nice trophy or a shiny sticker. Some of them advertise enormous prizes up to $15,000 for the winners, but if you read the fine print (usually hard to find on their website), you’ll see that the contest owner reserves the right to award prizes on a pro-rated basis. It means that the prize amounts are determined by the number of entrants, thus guaranteeing their profit no matter what.
Similar to the contest mills are the AWARD MILLS that mostly focus on a small press or self-published authors, who face major challenges in getting their work noticed. Although there may be a real prize (money, gift certificates, consults with literary agents), winners are most likely receive little more than a shiny sticker and an announcement on the organization’s website.
Contests by fee-charging publishers. Often the prize is a book contract, but winners don’t find out until afterward that the contract terms are restrictive, or that they must pay a fee for publication, or agree to pre-purchase large numbers of books.
The most common of the fake contests I've found are those conducted by the vanity anthology companies. They publish anthologies of poems or short stories, which are NOT sold to the public, only to the contributors, so the writers are pressured to buy multiple copies.
After about three hours of searching for the perfect award contest for my books, I gave up for now.
I decided that I need to do a lot more research before I consider entering my books in any contest.
My good friend gave me the best present today by sending me this picture with a heartwarming message, that made me cry with joy.
It made me so happy to see two grown men reading my English and Spanish children's books and enjoying the story. Jeanne's husband, who is a hearing person, is learning to sign to communicate easier with his friend.
Jeanne wrote in her email:
I thought you should see this picture. You will notice my husband, on the left, trying to learn how to sign. On the right of the picture is our friend Jimmy. He is profoundly deaf, but reads lips and we communicate very well. I was sitting across the table with Jimmy's wife, Lucy, who is deaf, but can hear some and can speak fairly well. I can vouch for the fact that there is so much more to communication than speaking. We all fully enjoyed the book you wrote and Jimmy and Lucy commended you for the Spanish version, which they say was excellent as well. Apparently there are subtle differences in the sign for Spanish. Anyway, I wanted you to have this picture. You have written a wonderful story, with a great message!
I meet a lot of wonderful people with some form of disability in my line of work as a nurse. It always saddens me when I see the difficulties their illness or condition cause and the ridicule and isolation they have to endure. I write fantasy novels, but I decided to publish these books for children about the hardship of hearing loss that is a vital part of good communication .
As a nurse, sadly, I come across a lot of people with deeply embedded preconception or prejudice about disability, skin color, gender, ancestry, and so on. It is very hard for an adult or especially for an older person to change how they relate to others.
However, if we can teach our children how to judge people by their personalities and actions instead of judging them just because they happened to be deaf, sitting in a wheelchair, have a different skin color or were born in a foreign county, we can raise a compassionate and unbiased next generation.
I hid an important message to children in these English and Spanish picture books, how to learn not to judge, bully or make fun of anyone just because they’re different. The life of any disabled person is no fun and living with a disability has many challenges, but we can learn to make their life easier and not harder.
Look, I Can Talk With My Fingers!
A little girl teaches her family and her friends how to relate to someone who is hearing impaired.
If you'd like to have an eBook or paperback copy or just read about the story, click on the BOOK'S PAGE
Mira, ipuedo hablar con los dedos!
Sandra enseña a su familia y amigos a comunicarse con personas con discapacidad auditiva.
Rad about the story on the BOOK'S PAGE
Pages from the English book
My good friend, J.E. Rogers
My friend, Jeanne, is also a children's book author.
She is, very cleverly, without sounding educational, introducing Australian wildlife to children with amazingly well-developed characters and fascinating, adventure filled story-line in her anthropomorphic fantasy stories. She manages the perfect balance of plot, tension building and conclusion with moral messages to keep the reader entranced and engaged. Her stories also teach children about true friendship, tolerance, the importance of family and dedication to a good cause. I can highly recommend it to middle-grade children, but as an adult I really enjoyed her stories as well.
Visit her WEBSITE and read about her books and about the fasscinating Australian wildlife.
Erika M Szabo
Author of epic fantasy/magical realism novels and children's books, Publishing Coach at
Golden Box Books Publishing
Click to read my portfolio