I spent some time applying for a prestigious children’s book awards program today. The Story Monsters Book Awards program is a really great place to submit your books, especially if you are an indie author like me. As book awards go, they are not very expensive, and it is an easy application process.
From the Story Monsters website, it states that “The Purple Dragonfly Book Award Contest is a worldwide book competition that began in 2009 to celebrate the best in children’s books in 57 categories. We are looking for stories that are original, innovative, and creative in content and design.” It is also a unique competition in that there is no limit on the publication year, so even if you published your book five years ago, you did not miss out on this competition.
There are many reasons why you should apply for book awards. I definitely will not capture all the reasons here, but I have listed a few things to consider below.
- An award from a reputable competition is like a seal of approval. You can hold your book up and say, “See, it’s not just my mom who loves my work. This committee loved it too.”
- In a world where we are trying to gain attention for our work it helps a lot to have your work listed on another site and it helps to show your journey on your own platforms, just as I am doing now.
- An award can garner you a lot of visibility among the exact group of people you hope to reach. It is better than an advertisement in many ways. It is an endorsement.
- You published a book! That alone is a huge accomplishment, but can you imagine winning an award!? I think applying to book awards is a way to celebrate yourself- whether you win an award or not.
- Book awards can give you instant credibility as a writer and as a self-publisher.
When you are considering how to create buzz for your book, applying to awards should be a must on you book launch plan. I have one book that I am launching right this minute, two I published two years ago and one I published last year. I am submitting them all to Story Monsters for the Purple Dragonfly Award! To keep from being overwhelmed with the whole application process, I print out all the rules and all the categories. I list the books I plan to submit, then go through and select my categories with a highlighter. This makes it all so much less overwhelming. The vast majority of these categories will not apply to your book, but you don’t want to overlook any either. Mark all the categories you could apply for then highlight your best bets. You want to apply for as many as you can afford. If you can only afford one or two, you want to be sure you have applied for the categories that you have the absolute best shot of winning. For example, let’s say you have a picture book about recycling. There will be far more authors vying for the picture book category than the Green Books category. Green books may be the category that is your best shot at winning if you cannot apply to both.
In 2019, my book titled This Is The Earth, won 1st Place in the Purple Dragonfly Cultural Diversity category. Talk about a proud moment. You couldn’t tell me nothin’. I sat out to write books to teach us all how to relate to one another better and this win was validation that my work could reach someone outside of me. It’s a double edged sword because you have to know in your heart that your work is valid whether you ever get an award or not. However… it sure is nice to win sometimes too. I even listed my first place award in the front of my printed book for all the world to see.
I am very grateful for all of the book awards programs and the opportunity to spread my message to a crowd of people who might have been beyond my reach. And, while I am proud of all of my books, I have some really great books lined up to launch this year. I am eager to try and enter as many categories as I can. If I win, I will be ecstatic! But if I don’t, that’s okay too. I know that there are many many many great books out there. When my book didn’t win in the past, I knew that did not mean that my book was not good. It just means I need to keep writing. It’s like hitting the New York Times Best Seller list. Think of how many wonderful stories are told every day that never see that list. It means everything for those who are on it. It really does not mean a whole lot to everyone else in terms of publishing credibility. Go forth and keep writing with that attitude, but don’t miss out on what is truly a great experience and something you should give a try! I hope to see your name out there. Keep telling your story!