Contests take time and money to enter. Are they worth it?
For the Unpublished Author: A contest win shows that a set of judges believes this author possesses talent. When the unpublished author is seeking an agent or publisher, a contest win adds to the author’s credibility. Not only does it show potential, but the fact that the author is entering contests shows commitment to the profession.
For the Independently Published Author: A contest win adds cachet and credibility. The author can publicize the award to show readers that others agree the author writes exceptional books.
For the Traditionally Published Author: This author already has proven that he can attract the attention of a publisher and, particularly at a major house, has a team of marketing professionals behind the book. A contest win gives the traditionally published author an additional boost, showing potential readers that the author’s work has been singled out for an award.
Sales: Years ago, one mother told me she only bought books for her children that had won a Caldecott or Newbery Award. While I think readers should be open to a variety of books, it’s true there’s a small percentage of readers who’ll take the shortcut of buying books with award stickers when choosing gifts or personal reading.
Regardless when an author wins an award, the recognition is always welcome and does help distinguish the author as someone worth noting. So yes, I recommend entering contests. As to which ones? Ask your agent for guidance.
Does an award affect your decision to buy a book?
What contests do you most respect?