Wednesday, April 9, 2014


The Passive Voice carried an article today about a monthly “Competition” for DIY (also known as self-published or “Indie”) books. It’s sponsored by the Guardian, a British newspaper, together with publisher Legend Times to “find the best self-published novels in any genre, every month.”

Entries must be written in English, or translated into English. It would appear it’s open to U.K. authors only, but I’m not positive about that.

Comments on the TPV blog were mostly skeptical of the value of entering such a contest. They felt that self-published books don’t need to have a competition of their own, but should be judged with all other books in the already-existing yearly writing contests. Romance Writers of America has opened its Rita Awards to self-published books for the first time this year, which is a good start.

Other commenters thought it was too much like the old traditional way of rewarding what was considered “best.” Readers are different and like different books. That doesn’t make one better than another and worthy of accolades. Most writers I know just want to be found by enough readers who like their style.

There’s also the worry, at least among some authors reading about this, that it might be just another scam. Writers are targeted relentlessly by those who see a way to make money on someone else’s hard work. Not to insinuate it’s another Author Solutions, which preys on beginning and naive writers, but many have been fooled occasionally by the offers that sound “too good to be true” and, later, prove to be so.

In addition, when there is so little time and so many ideas floating in our heads, do we need another reason to leave our WIP and follow a Pied Piper? As a member of RWA, I used to enter contents by its local chapters, but I’ve stopped doing that. These days I save my energy for the big ones.

I was a finalist in the RWA Golden Heart Awards, and when I lived in San Diego county, I won the San Diego Book Award with my romantic-suspense novel, NORTH BY NORTHEAST. I’ve also been a finalist in the St. Martin’s Press Malice Domestic Mystery Contest in both 2009 and 2012. When I finish my current mystery novel, I’d like to try for an Edgar Award. Until then, I’ll pass.  Of course, I wouldn’t say “no” to a National Book Award, Pulitzer Prize or Nobel.


  1. Hi Phyllis,

    One sure measure of successful indies is the amount of sales they have. That's a contest which is strickly subjective between the author and the readers who love her. I wouldn't pay money to enter an indie contest because it implies (like you mentioned) a sort of second best stopping point.


  2. Bob:
    I completely agree. After all these years, the world is finally learning that traditional publishing often ignored excellent books, which are at last getting their chance for success. Thanks for the comment.


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