Self-Publishing News: 4.30.2019

the word "april" from the wooden letters

And now for the news!

Some highlights from this month in the world of self-publishing!

Remember how we recently mentioned the Library Writers Project from the Multnomah County Library in Oregon? It looks as though the entire state of Minnesota is now on board and doing something similar as they launch their Indie Author Project. The IAP. One significant difference from the collaborations we’ve highlighted earlier is that the IAP is competitive, with winners receiving both financial and promotional rewards for their involvement. (Multnomah County Library, for comparison, partnered with Ooligan Press to help move certain leading lights of their Library Writers Project into print.) They do share some core DNA, however, in that the IAP’s “Winning authors will reach hundreds, if not thousands, of new readers via Minnesota’s libraries, and can also leverage being an award-winning author for additional marketing opportunities.” The barriers to entry are low, with the only requirements being that submitted works be:

• Indie-published
• Written by a Minnesota resident
• In an adult fiction or young adult fiction genre
• Available in either PDF or ePUB format

If you are a Minnesota author and are interested, there is more information on submissions in the original article, which you can access by clicking the link, above, and following the instructions and links provided there.

If you’re a science fiction and fantasy fan, you’ve likely heard about some of the many award-related controversies taking place in the world of SFF literature. Recently, the Nebula Awards had their own controversy. The Nebula’s parent organization opened their awards to considering indie and self-published books for their awards in 2013 (which was actually rather ahead of the trend, we’d note; many literary and book awards still to this day do not allow indie and self-published works for consideration). The upside of this has been that their ballots have become ever more inclusive and diverse, a fact of which the Nebula organizers are proud of. They’ve gone on the record to encourage voters to vote according to each book’s individual merit, not outside agendas: “The work that stays with you, that moves you, that work that you love the most should earn your vote,” the article quotes. Unfortunately, the downside of opening up the eligibility is that new legions of participants and supporters are now being asked to learn what might be termed “award-season etiquette.” Unfair promotional campaigns, of which there are many kinds, can sway voters in ways that ignore the merit of individual works. A “slate vote” is one such campaign, and often entails someone putting together a list (or “slate”) of books for others to vote for without having read the works themselves. (And yes, often these slates are put together based on ideologies, not the works’ merits.) So what was this most recent controversy? A very well-intentioned influencer put together a recommended reading list of indie publications up for the 2018 Nebula Awards, and the Internet went a little nuts, with widely-varying opinions all being expressed very strongly. The influencer, one Jonathan Brazee, has since written an apologetic explanation for the reading list, which has made clear his good intentions—which were not to sway voters to vote on books they hadn’t read, but rather to boost awareness of the awards’ growing diversity in nominated works.

It’s good to know that even in this age of polarized online debate, people can still come to understand each other better. And we agree with both parties involved—with Brazee, that indie and self-published authors are totally worth celebrating as we exit awards season, and with the Nebula organizers, who are understandably concerned that new audiences may not be aware of some of the inherent pitfalls to award voting processes. Each award has its own rules and recommendations.


As a self-publishing author, you may find it helpful to stay up-to-date on the trends and news related to the self-publishing industry.This will help you make informed decisions before, during and after the self-publishing process, which will lead to a greater self-publishing experience. To help you stay current on self-publishing topics, simply visit our blog each month to find out the hottest news. If you have other big news to share, please comment below.

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In Your Corner: 2018 Awards Time!

Fellow authors, if you’ve spent much time browsing the various self-publishing resources available thanks to this magical thing we call the Internet, you’ll already be more than aware that awards are a big deal for self-publishing authors for a lot of reasons. In fact, a quick search of our own archives here at SPA reveals dozens of articles and hundreds of mentions over the years (our first post on the subject was in 2009, a quick blurb discussing the Reader Views annual awards). We’ve even spent some time discussing why awards are important for self-publishing authors in a way they aren’t for traditionally published authors; I particularly like Kelly’s retrospective on the those very same Reader Views annual awards from 2016.

My favorite thing about indie and self-publishing awards is that there are simply so many of them now, when once they didn’t exist at all. The diversification of awards has been a slow process, but now there are lots to choose from (I recommend choosing them all; they’re all excellent). Below I’m including a list of some of my favorites, as well as the submission dates for 2018 to ensure that your book gets in on time. Before you submit, you’ll need to double-check your copyright dates, as each of these awards has unique dating requirements, and you certainly don’t want to pay a submission fee only to discover your book was published outside of the acceptable date range!

There are more awards competitions you can enter, of course. Just make sure to budget ahead for them, as most (if not all) of these awards are only made possible by the entry fees they charge. Publisher’s Weekly has a list of additional award competitions to consider (with some overlap), and while I haven’t had a chance to verify each on Curiosity Never Killed the Writer‘s list, I like that it includes a cookbook-specific award as well as several newer awards which might prove fertile ground for new authors. The work that the Watchdog Desk of The Alliance of Independent Authors does is also impressive, and their curated list of awards may prove helpful, when taken with a grain of salt.

And lastly, if you’d love to submit your book for awards but are worried about meeting all of the necessary requirements or are worried about meeting those various deadlines, you might consider exploring options like the various awards submission packages available from indie and self-publishing companies. There are a number of them out there, and they really do take the hard work out of the process, allowing you to focus on what you love best: writing! Keep these kinds of services on the table, as the financial investment often repays itself in the time, energy, and logistics they save you. But in the meantime, take a look around that fabulous Internet … there are simply too many awards to list here, today, and we’d love to hear from you what awards you endorse or warn against!

Oh, and keep an eye on that deadline for ForeWord Reviews–it’s coming up this next Monday!

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You are not alone. ♣︎


ABOUT ELIZABETH JAVOR: With over 20 years of experience in sales and management, Elizabeth Javor works as the Director of Sales and Marketing for Outskirts Press. The Sales and Marketing departments are composed of knowledgeable publishing consultants, customer service reps and book marketing specialists; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Elizabeth Javor can put you on the right path.

Self-Published Book Awards – Reader Views

Last week Reader Views announced the official winners of their 2008 Literary Awards and just in time for National Reading Month.

The Reader Views annual literary awards were established to honor writers who self-published or had their books published by a subsidy publisher, small press, university press, or independent book publisher geared for the North American reading audience.

If you’re looking for something good to read this month, why not try one of these award winning books: Click here to view Reader Views winners