Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva

The Pros and Cons of Writing Contests

Are book awards worth it?

You’ve published your book and now it’s time to enter into a writing contest.

But wait!

Before making a definite decision, you should weigh the pros and cons and determine whether winning a book award has any bearing on your writing career.

I’ve entered into tons of contests and actually have won a few, so therefore I have firsthand knowledge on how tedious, but yet rewarding some of them can be. Each contest is different and comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Some contests tailor to children’s books and others are designed for self-publishers. Some contests have affordable entry fees whereas some others are extremely expensive.

Take your time and research which contest will offer you the most for your money!

1. Prestige – Your name is now attached to this well-known literary prize so therefore you can begin to market yourself as an Award-Winning Author.

2. Award Ceremony – You and a guest will be invited to an award ceremony which is usually held in conjunction with some sort of book event or festival. At the event, you will be able to network with other authors, publishers, and librarians.

3. Publication – Many contests are connected with magazines and online newsletters and therefore will publish your award-winning status in their upcoming edition.

4. Prizes – You have the ability to win a medal, certificate, trophy, and sometimes a cash prize.

1. Entry Fee – Most writing contests charge between $69 to $89 per category per book. If you want to submit your book for two categories (since it appeals to multiple age groups or genres) then you would need to send in two entry fees. Unfortunately, if you do not win, the money is not returned to you.

2. Minimal Prizes – Although a few contests offer medals or trophies, and sometimes even a cash prize – many just send you a certificate plus offer to charge you an additional fee for book seals.

3. Lack of Prestige – Some of the smaller contests don’t offer any publicity for your book. It’s great that you’ve won the award, but it doesn’t always open up the doors to the big retailers.

4. Competitive – There are tons of people in desperate need of validation for their book and therefore apply for these sort of contests every year. Unless your book is unique and well written, it’s a small chance that your book will get the recognition that you’re looking for.

1. Research the upcoming contests and look for those with affordable entry fees.
2. Go with a larger contest that offers some sort of publication or acknowledgment in their newsletter or website.
3. Pick the contest that offers a tangible prize – cash, medal, trophy, or at the least, a certificate.
4. Sign up for the early bird special – you normally save about $30 if you register way in advance.

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