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Newsletter


02-01-2019

How Many Authors Entered in 2018

Hi everybody,

So, here we go! The 2018 Wishing Shelf Book Awards is now shut; no further entrants allowed. If you do still wish to enter, you can, but you will be entering the 2019 awards, not the 2018.

Now, when I enter awards with my books, I often find the organisers very – how can I put it? – I know, ‘secretive’. But we don’t work that way. So, below, you will find lots of info as to who is doing what, when they are doing it, what they are doing and who they are doing it to. Enjoy!

HOW MANY ENTERED

Firstly, let me tell you how many authors entered the 2018 Wishing Shelf Book Awards? In Category 1 (Pre-School Picture Books) there were 53 books entered. In Category 2 (Books for 6 – 8 Year Olds) there were 26 entered. In Category 3(Books for 9 – 12 Year Olds) there were 39 entered. In Category 4(Books for Teenagers) there were 58 entered. In Category 5(Books for Adults - Fiction) there were 152 entered. And, finally, in Category 6 (Books for Adults - non-fiction) there were 51 entered.

The biggest change from last year seems to be Category 1. Last year, there were only 30; so, the number in this category has almost doubled. Oddly, Category 3 dropped markedly from 56 last year to only 39 this year. The rest did not alter by very much. In fact, Category 6 went up by 1!

WHAT HAPPENS NOW

For the children's books, we have chosen six primary and secondary schools in the UK, mostly in London, to do the initial judging. The children, with the help of their teachers, will be assessing the books and deciding on the finalists in each category based simply on: which book(s) did they enjoy the most and why. They will assess the books according to:

EDITING Is there a flow to the text or is it a scratched record? Is it full of tiny/gigantic errors?

THEME Is the book current/interesting/original/exciting?

STYLE Is it a page-turner? The beginning grips you and the end knocks you for six.

COVER AND ILLUSTRATIONS Eye-catching? Age appropriate? Do they add to the book?

A smaller, select group of children then look at the chosen top books and pick the gold, silver and bronze winners for each category.

The adult books will be assessed by two Reading Groups, one in London where I often work and one in Stockholm where I live. They will decide on the finalists and from these they will pick the gold, silver and bronze medal winners. The members of these groups will not be professional editors or 'BIG' in the publishing world, but they love to read and know a good book when they see it. They will be assessing the books in a similar way to the children but perhaps the judging will be a little more in depth.

WHAT WE SPEND THE ENTRY FEE ON

If you did not know, the Wishing Shelf Book Awards is run not for profit, but to help the authors who enter. The motto for the awards is: Working to Promote Excellence in Independent Publishing. I know it sounds a little cliched, but that is what we honestly try to do. So, the entry fee is spent on the following:

  1. Owning, hosting and updating the webpage.
  2. Cost of posting the picture books between Reading Groups and schools.
  3. Designing the (super-cool!) certificate for all the finalists and winners.
  4. Advertising all the finalists on Goodreads (it costs a fortune, but it helps the authors find new customers).
  5. The cost of promoting the winning adult books on Goodreads.
  6. The cost of designing and producing the winner medals.
  7. Every year, we support Blind Children UK (Guide Dogs) with a financial donation.
  8. To cover the Reading Group organisers' travel costs.
  9. To cover the cost of 1 part-time member of staff who helps with organising and sending out all the feedbacks. I (Edward) do it for free!
  10. Membership/partnership of ALLi and general marketing of the awards.

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT

On March 1st, we will be announcing the list of finalists. It will be announced on the Facebook page, in a newsletter, on Twitter and on the website: www.thewsa.co.uk. Remember, every book that is awarded over 30/40 will be a finalist. So, it is perfectly possible for every book in a category to be a finalist; it is also possible for there to be no finalists in a given category! Don’t worry, it’s not happened yet. We will then be adding the list of finalists to the website along with a link to the book’s Amazon page. Also, the finalists will be able to download a certificate and a ‘Finalist’ logo – in lots of different formats – which they can put on blogs, book covers, etc. etc.

Also, during March, we will be sending out ALL of the non-finalists’ feedback to the authors who picked Opt. 2 when they entered. Although all the non-finalists’ feedback will have been completed by March 1st, we will only send out approx. 5 a day. Then, if the authors wish to, we can properly discuss the feedback with them, and not be overwhelmed. Keep in mind, if the author is insulting in any way, we will not try to help them. Sadly, every year, two or three authors get very, VERY angry with me if the feedback is not what they want it to be. Remember, the feedback is there to help you to improve your writing. The readers in the Reading Groups are very honest. So, if they find three hundred spelling errors in the story, they did. They are not making it up to upset you.

Then, at the beginning of April, we will announce the Gold, Silver and Bronze Winners! After that, we will be sending out all the finalists’ feedbacks, sending out the winners’ certificate, listing the winners on the website, promoting the finalists/winners on Goodreads with a $500 advert, and sending out the medals to the winners. The medal for the winners is covered by the entry fee. The finalists will also be able to ‘purchase’ a medal. They cost a fortune, so we can’t cover that too.

If anybody wants to ask me anything regarding the awards, they are welcome to do so. I can always be contacted at thewishingshelfawards@gmx.com. Finally, I wish you all the best of luck. Remember, you have all written a book. And, that, I think, is the biggest accomplishment of all.

Chat soon!

Edward

(B B Buttons)

 




03-11-2018

FINALIST MEDALS

Hi,

As most of you probably know, the gold, silver and bronze winners now get wonderful MEDALS! The medals are amazing; individually designed for the awards, gold-plated in a velvet padded box. Last year's winners loved them. Anyway, I'm just organising them for the 2018 winners (to be announced April 2019; I'm so organised) when I remembered a number of finalists from last year asked if we could have medals for them too.

The thing is, they are not your typical school sports day medals i.e. they cost a fortune. All the winners get them for free - it's covered by part of the entry fee - but if I had them produced for all the finalists, the awards would go broke!

However, what I could do is this. As a past finalist in The Wishing Shelf Book Awards, if you would like a finalist medal, let me know ASAP. We would charge the exact cost of having them produced (if I remember correctly it's £25) plus whatever the postage is. Then, when I have a full list of all the past finalists who want a medal, I will order them and then send them out.

So, if you wish to have a medal, reply to this message with a 'Yes' and with your FULL NAME and POSTAL ADDRESS (don't forget to include the 'country' at the end).

They really do look wonderful; big and heavy too! They will look amazing at booksignings, on a bookshelf or even on your writing desk.

Remember, we will only charge the cost of producing and sending them; the awards will make no profit whatsoever. We just thought you all might be interested.

Edward




20-04-2018

MY BOOK AWARDS

My Book Awards:

Fun to Run or a Total and Utter Nightmare

 

Five years ago, I set up the Wishing Shelf Book Awards. Why? Well, I was upset with book awards open to self-published and independently published authors. I felt they were a total rip-off. I remember, I was a finalist in one America-based award - I was so excited – and they didn’t even bother to tell me. Then, in another award, also America-based, I did very, VERY well but all they were interested in was selling me dodgy winner stickers at a crazy, inflated price. Then there was the feedback I got from the Writer’s Digest Award. It was a joke! It was 19 (yes, 19!) words long and congratulated me on writing a wonderful adult book set in war-time France. IT WAS A CHILDREN’S BOOK SET IN A MAGIC BOOKSHOP!     

So I went for a walk…

I went for a walk and decided in amongst the tall chestnut trees to set up my own book award. And that, my fellow authors, is what I did.

But it had to be different. Much, much different to what was on offer at present. So I thought to myself, what do I want from a book award? Well, I want the organisers to see me, actually see me – and my book. I don’t just want to be a ‘$’ sign or a ‘£’ sign to them. Also, I want to get ‘value for money’ so, even if I don’t win, I want to get feedback from the judging. And, finally, I don’t want to pay lots of money to enter.

So, from this, I set up The Wishing Shelf Book Awards (www.thewsa.co.uk).

Over the last seven years, it has grown. Wow! How it’s grown. In the first year we had 42 authors and publishers enter. This year it will be closer to 300! Now we have a very interactive Facebook page where the authors and publishers can discuss the award and how best to run it. Now we provide the authors who enter a catchy quote to help them to market their books. Now we post reviews – based on the feedback – on Amazon and Goodreads. Now we actively support Blind Children UK, helping them to produce books for children with sight problems. Now we have over twenty schools and two adult reading groups (1 in London, 1 in Stockholm, a total of 62 adult readers) helping us to judge the books. Now we send authors who enter feedback of between 400 – 1,500 words based on the readers’ comments. They look at the cover, the content, the editing and the style. We even provide the authors with statistics e.g. How many of the readers would read another book by this author. How many of the readers felt the cover was strong etc, etc. And the prize list for the finalists and winners is pretty impressive too.

So now, my tiny award is a bit of a monster and is taking more and more of my time. Is it fun? Yes, most of the time it is. And that’s important as the Award is not run for profit and every penny of the entry fee is spent on running the award and helping to support Blind Children UK. In fact, most of the time it is very rewarding and our reputation on and off the web is ‘glowing’. Don’t get me wrong. We do mess up. Two years ago, for example, it took too long to get all the feedback to the authors. So, this year, I’m employing help. The Wishing Shelf Awards actually has a member of staff! An ex-primary school head teacher who will help me to correlate all the feedbacks. It’s all very exciting.

But do you know what the best bit is? The very, VERY best bit. Twice now, one of the US-based awards I hate has attempted to buy my small awards. And I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed telling them to go to…well, you know where. Now THAT was fun!

Edward Trayer, under the pen name Billy Bob Buttons, is the author of thirteen children’s books including the UK People’s Book Prize Winner, I Think I Murdered Miss. He is also the organizer of The Wishing Shelf Book Awards

 





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