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Winning Book Contests: It's too Late to Enter Most of the the 2012 Competitions, but You Can Still Be Hysterical Waiting for the Results

19 Apr

I just received a notice from Jim Barnes of the Jenkins Group, which hosts the IPPY (Independent Press) Awards. The IPPYs are the oldest and largest contest for books produced by independent presses.


In honor of the last phases of book contest participation, I’m re-posting my Mother’s Day bulletin of 2011. In it, I set out exactly what I do to win awards in contests. It’s too late to do any of that stuff this year, the contests are closed and in the judging process. (Though you can still get into the Best Books of 2012 (USA Book News). They have the latest closing and award announcement dates of the indie contests.)

If you do read my earlier article, which follows these introductory remarks, you may want to run screaming, vowing never to think about book contests.

Is that what it takes to win? Yeah. That’s exactly how I’ve done it.

Lady Grace Launches Officially on May 1, 2012

9 Apr

Lady Grace, Book II of Tales from Earth’s End will be officially launched on May 1, 2012. We at Vilasa Press think you’ll be as pleased with the book as we are. We’re

planning gala launch activities, including free books and who knows what. We’ll be announcing the details here. Information about the book follows. You can also read more on Sandy Nathan’s website.

Award-winning Book, Award-Winning Cover

9 Nov

I’ve got a great article from designer Lewis Agrell about what an award winning cover needs already posted on Your Shelf Life. You can read it here. Lewis says that the most successful book covers are the most beautiful. I think so.

They’re a few other things winning covers need as well. Here are some guidelines for award-winning covers, illustrated with covers of award-winning books.

The Angel & the Brown-eyed Boy
The Angel & the Brown-eyed Boy–This book won four national awards, including the Gold Medal in the 2011 IPPY (Independent Press) Awards in Visionary Fiction, the Visionary Fiction Category in the 2011 Indie Excellence Award, and New Age Fiction in the Best Books of 2011 (USA Book News). It was also a finalist in Fantasy/Sci-Fi in the Best Books Awards. This cover achieves dominance by being light and airy. It’s theme, the transcendent dancer, carries out the theme of the book. It is a beautiful cover, meeting Lewis Agrell’s standards. (It should: He designed it.)

The text on your cover should be visible from six feet away. Some designers are in love with the notion that “small is beautiful.” Maybe, but not on book covers. If the type on your cover is tiny, blurred, or unintelligible, your sales and saleability will be impaired.
“Achieve page dominance.”A concept from telephone book ads. For a quick tutorial on commercial design, let’s look at phone book ads. Open the yellow page ads in any phone book. Scan the page quickly. Where do your eyes land? Note the ad. Do it again on another page, and another.In all probability, the ad that draws your attention is simple. Uncluttered. Either black, white, or mostly empty. The ads that grab your eyeballs and hold them have attained page dominance. People hire consultants to create dominant ads for them.