In the age of spammy contests, with scammy reviews and prizes being awarded left, right and centre (and preying on our eagerness to help our books stand out), it’s nice to know that there are still a few legitimate places you can send your books.
These are folks you can trust to evaluate your book honestly against the best of what’s out there in children’s literature today. It’s a tough game, but at least you know it’s not rigged.
Is your book a winner?
Consider submitting it to one of these three free contests. (I already have, in 2 out of 3 cases.)
But hurry! They’re all closing soon…
- If your planned publication date is January 2015 or onwards, check out this challenge to indie kids’ writers from Horn Book editor Roger Sutton. Submit by December 15th. For this one, you have to send a physical copy, and there are some other requirements as well. I expect that his standards will be very high, but the prize – if someone wins it – is soooo worth it.
- Still a week left to submit to the Gittle List 2014! Submit your picture books (for ages 10 and under) by November 30th. Your book does not have to have been published in 2014 to enter. You can submit electronically or send her a physical book (if it gets there in time).
- Another one to submit to by December 15th is the SCBWI Spark Award. This one is technically free to enter, but you’ll have to be a SCBWI member first (I am for the first time this year, yay!). You’ll need to submit a physical copy of your book for this one, too. Read the full guidelines here.
To get a sense of what each contest is looking for, it’s helpful to look at past winners. It’s not foolproof, but it can help give you a sense of what each is looking for. Here are last year’s SPARK award winners, and the Gittle List 2013 winners.
When thinking about any other contests or awards (or review “services”), always check out Writer Beware first before entering. Most, unfortunately, are scams, and will charge you both to enter and to buy their rolls of prize stickers after (surprise, surprise) they announce that you’ve won.
Good luck… and may the best books win. Wait, scratch that. When we write great kids’ books, it’s the KIDS who ultimately win. So submit your heart out, if you dare – and win it for the kids!