A few years ago I was happy because I had signed with my first choice agent. Things didn’t work out, and shortly after that I had to put the brakes on writing because of an unrelated problem. About two years ago I decided to get back into the game, but unfortunately it was more challenging than the first time around because my agent had already blown the contacts for traditional houses in the CBA (once a house has considered a manuscript, they will not look at it again). Although I knew many of the places Lever had been, I didn’t have a complete list of which editors, and which houses, that my agent had talked to.
It took a few months to learn that no other agent would touch Lever. I had three options: 1) rename the book and try again; 2) finish *Nest Among the Stars* (the prequel) first, then make the rounds with two books in hand; and/or 3) try for another route to publication. I think I’ve also already mentioned that I was uncomfortable with some aspects of traditional publishing, so I decided to give untraditional publication a shot. I figured the worst thing that would happen was that I would have tried and failed, but I believed in Lever. I figured it’s God’s book, so I’d do my best and that would be enough.
My goal was to make Lever’s quality inside and out indistinguishable from any book from Tyndale, Thomas Nelson, or any other big house. THIS quest is another long series of steps and learning that maybe you’d also find interesting sometime.
My prelude here was necessary to explain another marketing effort I made: two prestigious contests given every year for self- or independently-published books. Even though these contests both have stiff competition, I felt like I had a possible, albeit small, chance of placing (hope springs eternal).
The first is the Writers Digest Self-Published Book Awards. Interestingly, about ten years ago at some parent group or something (don’t quite remember), I met the wife of the grand prize winner of this contest. She was impressed that I recognized the title of her husband’s book! (I read Writers Digest religiously). That was about it, except she said it was a fabulous opportunity for him. The grand prize winner receives $3,000 cash, endorsements, guaranteed reviews in major review houses, consultation with marketing experts, etc.
The second contest is the Independent Publisher Book Awards. There are a number of categories. While this contest doesn’t offer so much in prizes, an IPPY award is well-known in the industry and gives a *seal of approval* that increases the chances for reviews, ordering by libraries and other venues, etc.
Another contest that Lever won’t be eligible for until next year (since it has a 2009 release date) is the Christian Small Publisher Association Book Award. This is another award for books from small publishers, and like the IPPY, gives a *seal of approval* and a foot into better buying venues.
All I can say is, the applying and hoping for gateways to open never stops! Oh well, it’s something to keep one busy. The contests are still ongoing, and I’ll give an update if I win.
The Ultimate Prayer Guide – Part 1
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