This month our self-publishing company Outskirts Press announced our “Book of the Year Award.” The talented author of the winning publication will receive a $1500 credit to his or her Outskirts Press shopping cart. In essence, the author is getting published for free (since none of our packages cost as much as $1,500).
As the self-publishing industry continues to grow, book awards and contests will become more important. After all, it used to be that publishing a book was, in itself, a testament to the book’s quality. Times have changed with technology. Now that POD publishing makes the act of publishing a book so fast, easy, and affordable, readers need another method for determining if a book is worth their time and money. And writers seeking validation need another method for determining if their writing “has what it takes.”
There are those in the self-publishing industry who have said that POD publishing “opens the gates” and allows customers to determine quality rather than the publishers. More democratic certainly, but the problem with that philosophy is that it asks customers to take a leap of faith on the quality of a book, often times sight unseen. Many readers are hesitant to do that, and an otherwise stellar self-published book can have low sales volume as a result.
Book contests and awards help high-quality self-published books stand out from the crowd. With the launch of our own Award, we wanted to present our authors with an exclusive opportunity to state without reservation, “My book is the best book published by my publisher this year.” So our Best Book of the Year Award was born.
The trick to any book award is making the selection process fair, balanced, accurate, and democratic, and I’ll talk about that next time.