In VOX LIT March 2018 :
IN THE FREE VOXLIT ON-LINE THIS MONTH:
Vox Lit is getting bigger and better. As well as our usual contributors, James, Ted and Zaheera, this month you can enjoy articles, features or reviews by Priscilla McGee, Karen Smith, Maria Doane, Sherry LeClerc, Amanda Whitbeck and Rob Burton. Welcome to all of them.
In the NEWS section we have an article by Amanda on how her life was changed by a writing retreat, Sherry describes her publishing journey, Karen, who writes as Holly Bargo, talks about her creative influences, and James encourages writers to rise up against prejudice. There is also a survey of literary competitions for smaller independent publishers; and, for a bit of fun, we have taken Dickens’ Thomas Gradgrind from Hard Times and put him in a modern setting.
The BOOK REVIEWS page has a review from Priscilla as well as reviews from our usual reviewers, Ted and James.
On the FEATURES page, we have another of Zaheera’s great poems, and also one from Rob Burton about US gun control, which Facebook took down from their pages (we wonder why?). And Maria (M.G.D) introduces herself with a fabulous short story about Christmas.
This time, on the WRITERS’ NOTES page, James uses an excerpt from his novel OGG to illustrate how writers can create atmosphere for a scene.
Finally, don’t forget the CONTRIBUTORS page, which has details of all our old and new contributors with links to their web pages, where you can find out more about them.
Hope you enjoy this edition and please use the comments boxes to send us your views.
LITERARY AWARDS for the LITTLE GUYS
Last month, we published a survey of the main literary awards available to authors from the large established publishing houses. But how can new independent authors get artistic recognition for their work? The good news is that there is a wide range of competitions open to books from small independent publishers, including self-publishers. There is of course bad news: there is an entry fee for just about all of them, the prizes are small, and they don’t benefit from the wide publicity given to the likes of the Man Booker prize or the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Vox Lit wants to publicise these less well-known events. Not just because we love to champion the Davids against the Goliaths, or because we firmly believe that good quality innovative writing exists outside the closed world of the big names. We really want readers to know about these awards, and hopefully seek out the winners and short-listed authors and at least consider buying and reading their books. If we can encourage readers everywhere to expand their horizons, we’ll have done a good job in keeping the written word alive, flourishing and developing.
Most of the competitions are run by US organisations, and we’ve only found one currently active in the UK. The Rubery Book Award claims to be ‘the self-publishers' and independent publishers' answer to the MAN Booker Prize and the Costa Prize’. It offers awards in five categories (Non Fiction, Young Adult, Short Story, Fiction and Children's) and the entrance fee is £36. You can find more on this competition at http://www.ruberybookaward.com
In 2017, Amazon UK ran its Kindle Storyteller Award (more at the link below.) This was open to all previous unpublished books published on KDP, and unusually it had a significant prize (£20,000). Unfortunately, there is no sign so far of it being repeated in 2018.
That about wraps it up for the UK, but if any of our readers know of other UK competitions please use the comments box to let us know.
While there seems to a paucity of UK awards, authors who live in the US are spoiled for choice, and we have included only a small selection here. And ,even if you are based in another country, these competitions tend to be open to all English speaking authors who have their work on sale in the USA.
The Benjamin Franklin Awards, run by the Independent Book Publishers Association, offers a comprehensive publicity package to winners but no cash prize. Authors don’t have to be a member of the Association to enter, but it will cost them a whopping $225 as opposed to the $95 entry fee for members. The link is http://ibpabenjaminfranklinawards.com/ .
The IPPY awards ( http://www.ippyawards.com/ ) is another competition where the winners benefit only from publicity, with no direct injection of cash into their pockets.
Eric Hoffer Award (http://www.hofferaward.com/ ) does offer a cash prize for the winner, $2000, and the entry fee is a more reasonable $55 (chapbooks $40). There is also the publicity benefit, as the award is covered by the US Review of Books.
The Independent Book Publishing Professionals Group organise the Next Generation Indie Book Awards (http://www.indiebookawards.com/ ) with cash prizes of up to $1500 in many categories. Authors pay from $75 to enter this one.
Shelf Unbound book review magazine runs a competition with a prize of $500 and an entrance fee of $50 per title. Over 100 of the best entries will receive publicity in the magazine. The link is http://www.shelfmediagroup.com/pages/competition.html .
For a $50 fee, writers can enter the Best Indie Book (BIB) Awards ( https://bestindiebookaward.com/ ) where the prize is a package of publicity goodies rather than hard cash. The goody bag includes a rather smart digital winner’s medal that authors can put on their web pages and book covers.
Finally, in this far from comprehensive list, we’d like to mention the The Kindle Book Awards from the Kindle Book Review website. This offers winners in eight genre classes a publicity package similar to BIB and the added benefit of cash prizes up to $750, for an entrance fee of $29. https://www.thekindlebookreview.net/2018-kindle-book-awards/
Our survey talks about only some of what is available, but for writers and readers wanting to know of more competitions, there is a fuller list published by the Alliance of Independent Authors at https://selfpublishingadvice.org/allis-self-publishing-service-directory/award-and-contest-ratings-reviews/ . This survey not only lists awards, but it rates them as well, so a big thanks to the authors of this page.
So there it is: a list of some literary awards you may never have heard of. Let us encourage you, as a reader or writer, to follow up on these competitions and widen your knowledge. It’s the best way to participate in the fascinating and engrossing book world of the twenty-first century.
Acknowledgements: Thank you to Erica Verrillo from ‘Curiosity Never Killed the Writer’ (web site https://curiosityneverkilledthewriter.com/) for her useful article on US awards.
Contributed by James Gault