On this blog every Tuesday and Friday I write about story techniques, structure, and/or publishing. Comments and questions are welcome. I also have a personal blog, Amy Deardon, on which I write about a variety of topics purely as they catch my fancy.

I've written one novel, A Lever Long Enough, that I'm honored to say has won two awards. In my life BC (before children) I was a scientist who did bench research.

My book, The Story Template: Conquer Writer's Block Using the Universal Structure of Story, is now available in both hard-copy and e-book formats. I also coach would-be novelists and screenwriters to develop their story. YOU CAN CONTACT ME at amydeardon at yahoo dot com.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Best Contests for Self-Published Authors by Andy Baldwin

Today's entry is from Andy Baldwin's blog. Andy Baldwin is a publishing expert with more than 20 years in the industry, an undergraduate degree in Journalism, and an MBA in Marketing.  He is President of Bookstand Publishing which offers self-publishing and marketing services so authors can become successfully published.

The original Blog entry is HERE.


Book contests offer extra exposure, recognition, and the chance to claim “award-winning” during your marketing efforts  as well as the chance to win cash and prizes.  Here are the Book Contests I recommend for Self-Published Authors:

Benjamin Franklin Awards

The IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards, which includes fifty-five categories recognizing excellence in both editorial and design, is regarded as one of the highest national honors in small and independent publishing.

$190 for first title, which includes one year’s membership in IBPA;

$90 per title, per category for second and subsequent entries.

Indie Book Awards

The largest not-for-profit awards program for independent publishers including self-published authors. The top 60 books will be forwarded to a leading literary agent for review and possible representation.

Fee: $75
Readers Favorite

Readers Favorite is the fastest growing book review and award contest site on the Internet. The annual Reader Views Literary Awards were established to honor writers who self-published or had their books published alternatively by a self-publishing company.  You can win this esteemed literary award as well thousands of dollars in marketing support

Early Bird (January 1) $45

Regular Fee: $65

USA Book News

The  Annual USA Best Book Awards are specifically designed to not only garner MEDIA COVERAGE & BOOK SALES for the winners & finalists but to PROMOTE awarded books to the PUBLISHING & ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRIES!

Open to self-published book in all categories.

Fee:  $69

Writer’s Digest Self –Published Book Awards
(NOTE: listed link didn't work for me; the link is http://www.writersdigest.com/competitions/selfpublished)

This is the only self-published competition exclusively for self-published books sponsored by Writers Digest. They offer over $17,000 in cash and prizes

Early Bird (April 1) Entry fees are $100 for the first entry, and $75 for each additional entry.

Fee $75

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Girl in the Tree

When I was entering college, some student committee asked all prospective freshmen to submit a yearbook photo so they could compile a "New Student" booklet for us newbies to recognize each other. Well, I went to a small high school and sadly did not have a formal photo (I still regret this, Mom), so sent a snapshot of me standing beside a tree.

During our first week, I was surprised that so many people recognized me as I walked down the sidewalk to class or met students in the dorm or did other freshman-type activities.

"You're the girl in the tree!"

"Umm, yes."

Thinking back on this now, I recognize a valuable lesson for writers, book cover designers, and others in the arts. This is the lesson:

Do something different from everyone else.

For example, I'm working with an author now to publish her book. Her genre, YA spec, shows multiple books all with a mysterious or beautiful or otherwise intriguing girl in the forefront, with a mysterious or beautiful or otherwise intriguing setting in the background. What does this tell me?

I DON'T want to have a mysterious or beautiful or otherwise intriguing girl in the forefront.

Going through the book, I'm thinking of putting three characters on the front, and have them in some sort of action pose. I'm playing with how I might include a recurring item in the book as a symbol. The book cover will have the same-ish *feel* as the other YA spec covers, but will be different enough that it will stand out.

Yes, just like the girl in the tree.

I'll let you know when I've got it nailed. But so far, I'm happy reflecting how to do this. I hope you also can work to recognize differences to make your work stand out.