The Official Best Indie Book Award was not won by me. But it was the first book competition I have ever entered. A bit of fun to extract yet more excitement and pleasure from my first novel (FREE), waiting in giddy anticipation for the result, and perhaps the opportunity for more exposure. It is also one of the cheaper competitions and I like the look of their award sticker – reasons enough to enter, I figured.
So, I paid my fistful of dollars, chewed on my metaphorical cheroot and waited. Not soon after, an email popped up, to paraphrase – we have received your novel, thanks. Oh, and good luck. A good start, but nothing auspicious foretold.
I then began the long wait, a growing frustration at the sheer lack of information/input/feedback. No updates – judges appointed, the number of entrants, long list, short list, any list. Absolutely nothing. Although I had read the FAQ’s, I had not really thought through their implications. Pay your money and go away. Before December we shall decide who has won and put their names on our site. No individual notification – despite having email list, no commiseration, nothing. I learned on my twitter feed it was all over, a couple of weeks earlier than I anticipated, and winners announced. End of story.
What did I expect?
Well, I am no particular fool, or desperate for attention, or seeking the approval of others. Yes, I wanted to win. To be crowned victor would have provided ample opportunity to display my magnificence, evidenced by book sticker and trophy. But hey, I am not utterly deluded. Whilst hoping for success, I realised my first book would be up against stiff competition. I guessed a lot of people had entered and I know there are many great post-2012 copyright books out there.
What I really wanted was to be a part of something, amongst other hopefuls. To delight in the enthusiasm of shared experience, facilitated by the organising principle of a well-run competition. To take part, be immersed, amused, enthused, educated, enticed. A collective of willing participants united in the well-spring of imagination’s store.
Perhaps I am foolish.
What I got was receipt of entry and a generic twitter feed notification of winners. Oh well. I suppose entering competitions is yet another steep learning curve on my writing journey. I have learned a lot with this one. Of course, it would be nice to be a winner, but I now see, for me, of more importance is the taking part. That is really where I, like all but the winner, are going to derive pleasure from the process.
And for anyone who says, ‘yeah, yeah, it’s the taking part that counts, blah blah…’ I say this. I shall not enter any more competitions now unless I see I will be included in some sort of process. I want to be a part, not apart. I don’t want to throw hard earned cash at some competition with only the distant and extremely unlikely expectation of winning. I want more for my money.
To this year’s winners of the Best Indie Book Award – Congratulations. In particular, Andrea Domanski, who won best Fantasy category with Chaos – book 4 of her Omega series. You all have my admiration and warmest applause for your achievement. I hope you go on to sell shed loads of books. Really.
Pictures courtesy of Creative Commons