IWSG — Book Awards! And October Question of the Month

Today’s the day for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) where, on the first Wednesday of every month, writers get together to share their insecurities and offer encouragement. The IWSG was created by Alex J. Cavanaugh, and you can learn all about it and sign up for it here. insecure-writers-support-group-badge


I know there are quite a few book award contests out there, and I’ve often wondered if it’s worth the upfront cost to enter them. Sometimes it feels like throwing money down the drain. If you don’t win or place, you have nothing to show for the investment.

And are all those contests really legit? Or are some of them created by unsavory characters preying on authors desperate for any recognition that will lift their books up out of the ever-widening sea of published novels? And if the contests aren’t big name like, for example, the Hugo Awards, will readers be influenced to buy your book if you do win?

I don’t know the answers to the first two questions, but I’m about to find out the answer to the third one. I received notice a few days ago that my first book, Lady, Thy Name Is Trouble, won a Finalist award in the Independent Publishers of New England Book Award contest I entered a while back. Whoo, hoo! I’ll be going to the IPNE fall conference in New Hampshire on October 21st and 22nd to accept the award and hopefully do a book signing, and just enjoy the conference. It will be interesting to see if the award and the publicity surrounding it have any effect on sales.

What experiences have other authors had with book contests? What ones did you enter? If you won or placed, what happened then? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.


And now for the October IWSG question:

When do you know your story is ready?

My basic rule is that if I can read through my story without tinkering or making any edits, it’s ready. Of course, this is after it has gone through the necessary revisions and professional editing. But if I can read through it and not find anything that feels just a little off, and if everything reads smoothly without any wording that trips me up, it’s done.


And Don’t Forget the 2016 IWSG Anthology Contest!

Last year’s contest was science fiction — parallel world/alternate history — and the result was Parallels: Felix Was Here. This year, there’s a new theme and all members are invited to submit.

 Eligibility: Any member of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group is encouraged to enter — blogging or Facebook member. The story must be previously unpublished. Entry is free.

 Word count: 3000-6000

Genre: Fantasy

Theme: Hero Lost. It could be about a hero turned villain, a villain’s redemption, a hero’s lack of confidence, a hero’s lack of smarts, etc. It can be about any kind of hero including superheroes, mythological heroes, unexpected or unlikely heroes, or a whole new kind of hero. This theme has plenty of scope and we’re open to pretty much anything along these lines. No erotica, R-rated language, or graphic violence.

 Deadline: November 1st, 2016

How to enter: Send your polished, formatted, previously unpublished story to admin @ insecurewriterssupportgroup.com before the deadline passes. Please include your contact details and if you are part of the Blogging or Facebook IWSG group.

 Judging: The IWSG admins will create a shortlist of the best stories. The shortlist will then be sent to our official judges.

Prizes: The winning stories will be edited and published by Freedom Fox Press next year in the IWSG anthology. Authors will receive royalties on books sold, both print and eBook. The top story will have the honor of giving the anthology its title.

We’re excited to see the creativity and enthusiasm that’s such a part of this group put into action. So don your creative caps and start writing. And spread the word!





© Lori L. MacLaughlin and Writing, Reading, and the Pursuit of Dreams, 2016. All rights reserved.

57 thoughts on “IWSG — Book Awards! And October Question of the Month

  1. Congratulations, Lori. I am so happy that you won the award and yes, I hope you do sign a book contract when you get there. Such news build me up and keeps me going.
    All the best.
    Shalom aleichem,

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I entered a few contests, and I received some publicity for one of them – even though I didn’t win, I made a top ten list. That didn’t last long, but it helped. The other just seemed like I threw money at a hole in the ground. I think it depends on the contest.

    However, for you – CONGRATULATIONS!!!! I think that’s awesome that you won and I hope it helps you gain recognition and publicity for your awesome books!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve never had any luck with contests. I’ve entered a few contests over the years but never won. I think winning an award for your writing is a great achievement. Congratulations!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Congrats on your award, although in my experience, awards don’t mean anything for sales, unless it is something like Hugo, recognized everywhere. One of my novels won 2015 EPIC eBook award, and the other was a finalist. Neither translated into sales. But it was sure nice to receive the award – a validation of sorts that I’m not a bad writer.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi, Lori, one of your co-hosts here; belated, but better late than never. I like the simple approach. I also like the fact that you’re relying on your “gut instinct” when after so many pages of “playing chess”, trying to make the plot work, make the characters believable and teasing out all of those little nuances, you’re finally able to read through the creating and pronounce, “stick a fork in it; it’s done!” Thanks so much for sharing! Mary

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I have the same questions as you did on entering writing contests. I haven’t been able to let go of money to enter one yet. I do admire those who can add “winner” to their bio though and it certainly gives one more “street cred” when guesting on a blog or podcast/radio/TV show. I’m sure one win will lead to more.
    JQ Rose

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Woot woot! Grats on the award! I’ve considered the Idaho Author Awards before, but with a $40 entry fee, I haven’t had the desire to make that step. It looks like it panned out well for you!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi Lori, I read your first book recently & really enjoyed it – fantasic cover & the blurb pulled me right in, so a well deserved award, I reckon. 🙂
    Where’s the castle in your banner photo? It reminds me of one I visited in France a couple of years ago. Gorgeous pic.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Angela! Thank you so much for reading my book! I’m thrilled you enjoyed it.
      I’m not sure which castle you saw. I have a revolving header with five castles: the ruin on an island in a lake is Castle Kilchurn in Scotland; Urquhart Castle ruin on Loch Ness, Scotland; the castle with the round towers and moat is Bodiam Castle, England; the angular one with the round tower on the left is Arundel Castle, England; and the distant ruin with trees/vines on and around it is my ancestral Lachlan Castle. The photos were taken on our trip to Britain in 1995.


  9. I add my congratulations to the others. Well done. Any acknowledgement, winning or being a runner up or even being short listed is good. Every little bit of exposure helps. We all know how extremely competitive this business is.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Pingback: Celebrate the Small Things! – Writing, Reading, and the Pursuit of Dreams

  11. Congratulations, Lori! Whoo Hoo!!! We have a contest page on our IWSG site. I try to keep it up to date. I should probably ask for any feedback. I will. I’m thrilled for you. Have a lovely time. Bask in the sunlight.

    Liked by 1 person

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