I'm a few posts behind because of my trip overseas. I arrived back home last week and then got struck down by the worst flu I've had in years. I don't know if I caught it off the plane or I brought it back with me. Anyway, on the 17th of August I was emailed that INNER CITY had been judged a finalist in Dan Poytner's Global ebook award.
The winners were announced on the 20th with all finalists invited to USA to attend the awards ceremony. Wow - talk about needing to be in the Amazing Race just to make it there.
This was the first year of the awards so I thought I'd put down my thoughts about the experience I found from entry through to finale.
Firstly let me say I am no writing award virgin. I have a Writer's Guild award for theatre sitting on my shelf, I was nominated for another in TV. I was a finalist in the Southern Cal independant film festival, in the screenplay comp in 2009, Scriptapalooza finalist for a Reality TV concept and an AFI winner as Script Producer for Neighbours way back in the late nineties.
There are a huge number of competitions for writers to enter - all ask for entry frees of between 30 and 75 USD. If you're a writer and want a fast easy and comprehensive way to know when how and which to enter... check out and join 'Withoutabox'
So back to the Global Ebook awards - any award helps a writer - so I hesitate to go negative. I'm sure some readers will come to Inner City as a result of being named a finalist.
But I did have a few concerns so will simply list them...
First, Inner City seemed to be nominated because it was entered. It was certainly listed as nominated before I sent a copy of the book in. I may be doing them a disservice - someone may have gone to the provided link to the book, read it and decided it had merit, but it seemed quick.
Next I noted an email asking for people to act as judges a good time after I had been listed as a nominated entry.
Then my announcement as finalist came 3 days before winners were to be announced at a big ceremony. And finally, promised feedback from judges hasn't eventuated.
So where do I sit about this competition and whether or not it is worthwhile... I would say too early to call. Ebooks are so new that it's a great initiative and may well turn into something really important. I am on the fence because it's a first year and I applaud their effort to get something started. But with anything, prestige comes by high standards. It shouldn't be easy to be nominated, or listed as finalist or to win. Judges need to be in place and respected people in the community - they need to be listed as part of the reason people should enter in the first place - not be wrangled into place at the last minute.
And finally, the campaign of publicity for finalists and most importantly winners should be awesome and ongoing. It is now 10 days after the competition has ended and my inbox should be filling up with notifications of interviews and links that have been made, forged, found and created to help get the winning books out into the Ebook reading community. To date I have had 3 emails - 2 offering to make me trailers for my book at a cut price and one to let me know if I haven't received feedback to date - probably not going to happen.
So should you enter next year - I will again. But if some of these things are not improved as the competition moves into future years, I'd be tempted to give it a miss.
UPDATE*** I've just received 7/9/11 an email from the competition offering a guide to help self promote my book. I'll have a better look at it when I have time - but it looks like some fairly interesting tips towards self promotion and this was also part of what was promised for winner/finalist in the competition. It says it's the first of more - just letting everyone know - they are certainly trying to make the awards more than just a entry fee/scalping exercise so good for them! I'll keep you updated.