Do you want people to notice your book?
Not just because you'll sell more - though that would be nice - but also because you've put a ton of work into it. You want to get it into kids' hands so they can enjoy it.
And more than work, you've put a ton of love into it.
Maybe your illustrator has, too?
Doesn't his or her work deserve recognition, too? (Or your own if you're the illustrator.)
Are you fearless enough to toot your own book’s horn? I hope so.
But most book awards are for the text of the book only. What about those visuals???
In a children's picture book, they're supposed to carry half the weight of telling the story, yet they get so much less than half the recognition.
Most children's book contests miss this important point. Here are four contests you'll love because they reward great art and illustration... along with one I hope you have. (Plus, keep scrolling for a bonus contest.)
1. INKed 2016 CALENDAR COMPETITION
This one's not specifically for kids’ illustrators, but it is open to anyone with a great sense of what you can do with ink on a page. There's no cash prize, but this is a legit opportunity to get featured in a terrific calendar full of illustrations by talented artists all over the world.
2. GOLDEN KITE AWARD - PICTURE BOOK ILLUSTRATION CATEGORY
True, you do have to be a SCBWI member, but if you haven't joined yet, WHY haven't you joined yet?! Maybe this will be your incentive. You'll have to submit a bunch of books, but it may be worth it for approval from this esteemed organization.
2. TOMIE DE PAOLA AWARD
Who hasn't fallen in love with the quirky, fun style of children's writer and illustrator Tomie de Paola? Now, you have a special chance to make him personally FALL IN LOVE with your illustrated twist on a classic tale. Which one? Click through to find out.
4. BOLOGNA CHILDREN'S FAIR - ILLUSTRATORS EXHIBITION
Talk about prestigious. Entering this contest, connected with one of the world's most beloved book fairs, makes you eligible for the Bologna Book Fair's annual award for illustration. Trust me, with that in your pocket, you'll be able to do anything you like with the next project you dream up.
5. CALDECOTT AWARD
Sure, you've heard of this. But did you know that you could enter?
This is the big one, the top prize for children's illustration in the U.S. Their site says it's open to any book published in the U.S. by a U.S. publisher. I don't know if that includes self-published books, but I'd assume so unless told otherwise. You are your own publisher, right?
But wait - I know I said five, but there's one more...
You already know that an award is a great way to get attention. I'm not talking about the kind of contest you pay to enter. Or the kind of contest where everybody wins. I'm talking about a REAL award, as chosen by actual judges.
Sometimes, just seeing a great book cover, you know it'll have terrific art inside. A wonderful cover makes us want to tear into a book and discovering what lies inside.
Even if you've got a great cover, you might not be ready for the Caldecott just yet, but you should definitely submit it to the Indie Children's Book Cover Contest.
Maybe you wonder why you should bother entering at all. You'd only be devastated if you didn't get that top place, so you don't enter. Is that you? It shouldn’t be. Be fearless; charge ahead.
If you want to win the lottery, you've got to at least buy a ticket. Somebody's going to win – get your name in that hat and this time, it could be YOU!