Opening Doors for Authors

I like it when someone is polite enough to hold a door open for me. It means that I don’t have to fumble with a door, and I can just be ushered into the building I am entering.

Sometimes as authors we knock on doors to get people to open them. Other times we try to heft the door open ourselves. Sometimes we are successful and sometimes the door remains closed to us. Each door represents another path to receive more exposure and sales for our books.

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Are you tired of grappling with doors? A book award can help. Book awards open doors for authors.

This summer at the International Christian Retail Show (ICRS) I met a literary agent who wanted to know more about Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA). As we talked, one of the things I shared with her was that CSPA is the sponsor of the Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year Award.

This literary agent recognized the award. She told me that she has a client whose children’s book won this award a few years ago. She reported that she had been working with this particular client to secure a contract for a new line of children’s books with a large Christian publishing house. They had recently signed a deal.

I wondered aloud whether the book award had some influence in that decision. Her response was that a book award always shines favorable light on an author.

Whether you are looking to secure a contract with a traditional publishing house, or simply just want to sell more books, winning a book award helps open doors for you.

Of course, you can’t win a book award unless you enter a contest. The number of book award contests grows each year. There are plenty to choose from, including the list of Christian book awards you can find at www.christianbookaward.com. Allotting some of your marketing dollars for book award entry fees is a smart idea.

The Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year Award is currently open for nominations for the 2017 Book of the Year. The award is granted in 14 categories. If you are a small publisher or an independently published author with a book that promotes the Christian faith, you can nominate your book for the award.

To read the complete nomination eligibility and guidelines and to nominate your book, simply visit the Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year Award website at www.bookoftheyear.net.

Related Posts:
10 Reasons to Enter a Book Award
Book Awards Matter
The Value of Book Awards

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Book Awards Matter

Standing out from the competition is a problem every author faces. Gaining exposure and recognition for your book is tough. One avenue to earn your book additional notice is to enter it into book award contests.

award winning author

As an award-winning author, myself, I can attest to the following five reasons to enter your book into book award contests:

  1. A book award gives you another opportunity to receive media coverage.
  2. Awards create interest in your book, which can lead to more sales.
  3. A book award can give your book an edge over other books in your genre / subject matter.
  4. If you win a book award, you get to bill yourself as an award-winning author.
  5. Entering award is a low cost marketing endeavor.

If you have written or published a book for the Christian marketplace, I encourage you to enter the 2016 Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year Award. Nominations for this award are open through November 15, 2015.

Nominations are accepted in 14 categories: General Fiction, Historical Fiction, Romance, Bible Study/Theology, Biography/Memoir, Christian Education, Christian Living, Devotional, Relationships/Family, Children’s Book 4-8 years, Children’s Book 8-12 years, Young Adult (12+ years), Gift Books, and eBook Exclusive.

To be eligible for this award, books must be published in 2014 or 2015 by an author or publisher with annual revenues of $400,000 or less. Nominated books must be Christian in nature and intended for the Christian marketplace. All nominated books must be printed in English and for sale in the United States.

Any small publisher can nominate books for the award. Nominations are accepted in the following categories: General Fiction, Romance, Bible Study/Theology, Biography, Christian Living, Devotional, Relationships/Family, Children’s Book 4-8 years, Children’s Book 8-12 years, Young Adult (12+ years), Gift Books, and eBook Exclusive.

Christian retailers and book readers will be invited to vote on the nominated titles in February and March 2016. The winners of the award will be the books that receive the most votes.

Complete guidelines, eligibility, and the nomination form can be found on the Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year Award’s website at http://www.bookoftheyear.net.

P.S. The Award Winning Author stickers (as pictured above) can be purchased on the Autographed by the Author website. They are a smart marketing idea. Any author who has had one book win an award can place these stickers on all the other books he or she has published.

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Nominations Open for Book of the Year Award

Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year honors books produced by small publishers each year for outstanding contribution to Christian life.

Nominations are now accepted in 14 categories. Two new categories were added this year:

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  • Historical Fiction
  • Christian Education

These two new categories accompany the existing twelve, which include: General Fiction, Romance, Biography/ Memoir, Christian Living, Devotional, Relationships/Family, Bible Study/Theology, Children’s Book 4-8 years, Children’s Book 8-12 years, Young Adult (12+ years), Gift Books, and eBook Exclusive.

Eligibility Requirements

  1. Books must be published by a small publisher with annual revenues of $400,000 or less.
  2. Nominated books must be Christian in nature and intended for the Christian marketplace.
  3. All nominated books must be printed in English and for sale in the United States.
  4. Any small publisher or independently published author can nominate titles for the Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year Award.
  5. Each book can only be nominated for one category.
  6. Nominated books must be published in 2013 or 2014.
  7. The nomination fee is $45.00 per title.

To view the complete eligibility guidelines and to nominate your books, visit www.bookoftheyear.net. Nominations must be received by November 15, 2014.

Christian retailers and book readers will be invited to vote on the nominated titles in February and March 2015. The winners of the award will be the books that receive the most votes.

Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) is the sponsor of this book award.

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The 2014 Book of the Year Award Winners!

The votes are in and counted. The winners of the 2014 Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year Award have been determined!

Over 3,100 Christian book lovers and retailers voted on 108 nominated titles in 12 categories. This year the voting was very competitive. Two categories had ties for first place—a first for the Book of the Year Award.

Award 1The winners in each of the 12 categories are:

FictionThirty Days to Glory, Kathy Nickerson, CrossRiver Media Group

RomanceShenandoah Nights, Lisa Belcastro, OakTara

Christian Living (tie)A Bead and a Prayer, Kristen E. Vincent, Upper Room Books &
Life’s A Pain: Journeying By Faith When Every Step Hurts, Todd Rettberg, CrossLink Publishing

Bible Study / Theology: The Epic of God, Michael Whitworth, Start2Finish Books

Devotional:  This I Know, Toby Holsinger, CrossRiver Media Group

Biography (tie):  SuperGal vs. GOD, Lori Hynson, Broken Shoe Press &
Crossfire: The Life of Chuck Svoboda, a Foot-Soldier in God’s Army, David J. Bauer, Grace Acres Press

Relationships / Family:  25 Ways to Communicate Respect to Your Husband, Jennifer L Flanders, Prescott Publishing

Children’s (age 4 to 8):  The Potter, Cindy Starr Stewart, Carpenter’s Son

Children’s (age 8 to 12):  Where the River Rises, Rosie Boom, Boom Tree Publishing

Young Adult (age 12+):  A Cry From Egypt, Hope Auer, Great Waters Press

Gift Book:  101 Surprises! Sayings with Scriptures You Didn’t See Coming, Wilma Shepard Caraway, Fruitbearer Publishing LLC

eBook Exclusive:  Subject Your Flesh, Beyr Reyes, ShadeTree Publishing

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Congratulations to the winners!

The Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year Award is sponsored by Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA).

Looking for a great book to read next? Try one of the winners of the CSP Book of the Year Award listed here.

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Don’t Miss This Opportunity

Over 200 books by small publishers and independently published authors pass my desk each year. That is a lot of books that I get to look at and learn from.

A Bead and a Prayer

Some of these books have great elements that fascinate me and I think are wonderful marketing techniques and ideas. Others, while good books, sometimes miss important opportunities.

A Bead and A Prayer: A Beginner’s Guide to Protestant Prayer Beads by Kristen E. Vincent was one of the books nominated for the 2014 Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year Award. The book caught my eye mostly because of its unique subject matter, but also because it has a nicely designed cover.

The book is a short read. I read it quickly. At the end, I noticed that the author gave instructions on how to make prayer beads and included websites where readers could purchase supplies to make their own prayer beads. For those who were not interested in making their own prayer beads, four websites were mentioned where pre-made Protestant prayer beads could be purchased. I think all these resources were great.

However, one of the buzz phrases in publishing today for authors is, “Don’t look at a book as an end product.” In other words, consider the ways your book can direct readers to make more purchases—whether that is for a service or a product.

This author did miss an opportunity. She missed the opportunity to sell Protestant prayer beads directly to her readers either through her own website or through partnering with someone who made these beads via an affiliate relationship. Doing either of these would have brought the author increased revenue, as well as allowed her to collect customer information for future marketing efforts.

I encourage you to take this message to heart and don’t miss an opportunity with your next book.

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