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One of the challenges of self-publishing is that you need to be your own marketing department. You have to share the fact that your book is out in the world, and that includes letting awards committees know about it too!
It can be daunting to submit your own work for an award. I’ll admit, when I first got into self-publishing, I thought submitting my own work wasn’t sacrosanct. I thought that juries combed through books, selected their favorites, and made a ballot. Self-promotion for an award was rude and uncouth. I have since learned otherwise, and I’m glad I did.
Now, some awards juries don’t accept unsolicited submissions — but many others do! And further, they say specifically that you can submit as the author of the piece! So go on — submit that work! What’ve you got to lose?
But Sonora, where do I start? That’s where the list below comes in. I’m starting a living blog post — one I’ll keep updated beyond the initial posting — with links to awards that allow you to submit your own work. Please let me know if you know of any awards that aren’t listed, and I’ll add them as well.
Happy submitting, and good luck!
Literary Awards You Can Submit Your Own Work To (last updated: January 26, 2021)
If anyone’s working on their first book and wondering if each subsequent book gets easier to write, I’m here to tell you now that this is not true.
I almost couldn’t stop writing my first book, Please Give. I slowed down on Without Condition. Now, I’m on Book #3 — tentatively called Seeing Things — and I’m typing more slowly than molasses moving uphill on a cold day. Some days are faster. For instance, I wrote over 1200 words the other day (woot!). But other days, I’m lucky to write a paragraph; and I’ll only do it after I’ve exhausted my social media loop of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter.
But, it’s being written; which is better than the alternative. The words are coming a little faster now that I’m getting closer to the meat of the plot. I’ll be taking a break from it once I get Little Paranoias back from Evelyn with her edits, but when that happens, it’ll be good to have a nice foundation to return to and give my undivided attention.
Speaking of Little Paranoias, it’s out for edits, as I mentioned above. I’ve been working on other parts of the book, namely the back cover description. I write my own descriptions (which Evelyn reviews as well. Cardinal rule of self-publishing: always have someone else review something you’re putting together yourself, even things like the back cover description), and let me tell you, they’re hard! You don’t want to give too much away, but you also don’t want it to be too vague. Short story collections can be especially tough, since you need to pick and choose which elements you want to highlight.
I’ve been working on a few short stories as well, though I’m trying to keep my focus on Seeing Things. I submitted a poem and a short story to two different journals for consideration, and entered my Pi Day tale, “Crust,” in a contest (read it here). I also discovered a call for submission for a Penny Dreadful issue of a horror journal. Each story has to be 19 words exactly. That was a fun challenge to partake in, and I hope at least one of the five stories I submitted is accepted.
I will keep all of you posted on these pieces as they come together (heh). Have a great week!