Tuesday, March 20, 2007

My first final

But not the final final, I hope.

Eyes of Crow has finaled in the Colorado Romance Writers Award of Excellence contest. Woo-hoo! The winners will be announced at their conference in May. I purposely don't know what date that is, so I can forget about it.

A quick distinction between "awards" and "contests." Whereas the Reviewers' Choice award is what I call an award, because I didn't pay (or do anything) to enter, the AoE and several others I'm waiting to hear from are what I consider "contests."

Most chapters of RWA have contests--several for published authors, and dozens for unpublished authors. What I like about contests is that the judges weigh my book equally against others, regardless of my (nonexistent) reputation. It seems more democratic somehow.

Actually, even the Reviewers' Choice award is fair in this regard. The reviewers have to read the books, and they nominate the ones they like best. It's all extremely subjective, but at least these types of awards don't discriminate against, ahem, low-profile books like mine.

The two biggest reasons why EOC is low-profile for these purposes:

Release date: November is a great month for sales, but when the call goes out for year-end reader nominations for best book, mine is still buried in hundreds of To-Be-Read piles. (The Nebula Awards(TM) avoid this bias by making a book eligible for a year after its publication. Not that I could ever win one of those.)

Price: Eyes of Crow is trade paperback, so by simple supply-and-demand economics, fewer people will read it than its mass-market competitors that cost half as much.

But the beauty of a contest is, I can pay someone to read my book!

Er, that didn't quite come out right. But the fact is, it's a great way for a new author to get his or her name out there. Last year I judged the PRISM contest and discovered two wonderful new authors whose books I'll continue to buy. Certainly other judges might feel the same about my book.

I don't know if I'll enter Voice of Crow in all these contests next year. Its romantic subplot is smaller than that of Eyes of Crow, and overall it weighs more heavily toward the fantasy end of the spectrum.

Plus, the entry fees add up to a big chunk of change. Ultimately it's worth it to introduce readers to a new series (I'll sure as shootin' be entering Bad Company), but simple economics tells us this is a world of finite resources.

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Wonderful! Are your agent and publicist on top of this? You couldn't ask for better puiblicity or selling points.


Posted by: Anonymous Anonymous at 3/20/2007 2:49 PM

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