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Are ebook contests worth the entry fee?

Usually I’m here spouting my opinion about publishing or sharing what I find that’s useful for indie authors.

English: Ribbon for contests

English: Ribbon for contests (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today, I’m asking for your opinion of ebook awards. Help me with this, please.

I just ran across PIA (Publishing Innovation Awards), for instance. It’s $199 to submit a book in a single category. Wow. (That qualifies as a “wow” because it’s the most expensive contest I’ve seen.) Huge companies are behind it, which is reassuring, though one wonders how much their corporate sponsorship has put a dent in that entry fee? Most entry fees for awards available to indie authors seem to be in the $50 to $69 range. The one I’ve spotted that’s free to enter is also no doubt the best known: Amazon’s Breakthrough Novel Award. Other awards ask for a more hefty fee for one book but you can enter a second book at a much reduced fee.

I googled for reviews of some of these contests, but that got me pages and pages of the winners trumpeting their books (not reviews of the contest experience itself.) Maybe that means these awards are totally worth the expense of entry and the winners gained readers, provided social proof of excellence and improved sales. A seal of approval on any book is no doubt somewhat reassuring to potential readers, even if they’ve never heard of the award.

FYI: The Book Designer has a handy list of contests here. It’s a little out of date but most of the information still applies. Note that it’s just a list, not an endorsement of any particular contest.

I’ll start you off with this observation: My first thought about the QED award was that it looks good and has a happy track record according to their website. There was an awful lot of reading and pitching before I found the cost of entry. (It’s on the FAQ page, though I’m not sure what the alternative $125 for QED consideration might include. Is $125 for getting evaluated on their 13-point form? Hm.) The search for the contest fee was annoying. If the QED is an awesome opportunity and I’m a fool for hesitating, jump on it. Their deadline is November 15.

What’s your experience? Do contests for authors excite you or are you suspicious some may be merely moneymakers for those who conceive them? Would you enter your books into a contest or is your promotional budget best spent elsewhere? I welcome your thoughts and comments. Thanks for helping me with this.

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Winner of Writer's Digest's 2014 Honorable Mention in Self-published Ebook Awards in Genre

The first 81 lessons to get your Buffy on

More lessons to help you survive Armageddon

"You will laugh your ass off!" ~ Maxwell Cynn, author of Cybergrrl

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An autistic boy versus our world in free fall

Suspense to melt your face and play with your brain.

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Jesus: Sexier and even more addicted to love.

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