While gaining recognition as a writer can be a long and hard road, literary awards and contests offer a valuable opportunity to showcase your talents and receive validation for your efforts. Even authors who write solely for their own satisfaction often daydream of their work being acknowledged and celebrated on a broader scale. But those daydreams need not daydreams remain.
Select the Right Awards and Contests
The first step to gaining recognition through literary awards is to choose a competition that best suits your work. Each award has its own set of criteria, categories, and eligibility requirements, so make sure you choose one that aligns with your genre, style, and publication status. Keep an eye on submission deadlines and ensure your work meets the specified criteria to the letter.
Polish Your Submission
When preparing your submission, set aside ample time to revise and polish your work. Make sure your manuscript is free of typos, grammatical errors, inconsistencies, and any other stylistic or syntactical issues. Compose a compelling synopsis or entry essay that not only conveys the essence of your work, but sells it. Think of it like applying for a job: you are putting your very best foot forward, so leave no stone unturned in the quality of your presentation.
Take Advantage of Niche Awards
Consider submitting your work to niche or lesser-known contests that cater to specialized genres, themes, or demographics. Niche awards often have less competition, increasing your chances of recognition. Furthermore, winning a niche award can have the added advantage of marketing your work to groups of readers who share a passion for your subject matter but may not have otherwise heard of you.
Participate in Anthologies
Many anthologies are comprised of award-winning works harvested from various contests. Having your work published in such anthologies can significantly boost your visibility and credibility as a writer. Award-winning literature has a higher perceived value, so readers often turn to these anthologies to discover brilliant new authors.
Publicize Your Achievements
Have you won an award or content? Great, tell everyone! This is no time for modesty. Prominently display the awards on your book covers, author website, social media profiles — anywhere readers will see them. Announce your victories in press releases and author interviews. The more you share your success, the more readers will take notice, and the more your stock as a credible author will increase.
Networking and Building Relationships
Participating in literary awards and contests can also lead to networking opportunities. Attend award ceremonies, author events, and book fairs to connect with fellow authors, publishers, literary agents, and influencers. Building relationships within the writing community can lead to future collaborations and even broader recognition, so you can never be too connected.
Feedback for Growth
Even if you don’t win, the feedback provided by judges or contest organizers can be invaluable. Use this feedback as an opportunity to grow as a writer. Constructive criticism can help you identify areas for improvement and refine your skills. After all, there will always be another contest. Use the feedback from one contest to polish your work. Take that polished work to another contest, and your odds will have already improved.
Gaining recognition through literary awards is an extremely competitive — and therefore challenging — process. You must stay resilient. Keep on submitting your work, even in the face of rejection. This is no place for thin skin. Many of our most celebrated authors, after all, faced numerous rejections before achieving even a modicum of success.
Most importantly, remember to always celebrate your successes and never stop striving for literary excellence. With the right combination of skill and perseverance, you’ll be on the right path toward receiving the recognition your work deserves.
At Presto Page, we’re here to support you every step of the way. Whether you need assistance with self-publishing, design services, or any other aspect of self-publishing, we’re your partners in success. Contact us today to see what we can do for you!