Last week, I won the adult fiction category of the 2022 Selfies Book Awards*. I have just about stopped grinning gormlessly by now. But I am still in shock.
I thought I would share how I found the experience, so if you’re fortunate enough to be involved with an award ceremony in future, then you will hopefully be better prepared than I was!
The winners were going to be announced at the London Book Fair at Olympia. I arrived about 45 minutes early, already nervous. That was only exacerbated when I met several other shortlisted entrants for my category and suddenly realised who I was up against: authors who had written multiple books over many years; authors who had sold many thousands of copies of their nominated entry; several authors who had been short-listed previously; and some who had done super-interesting & innovative marketing. All wonderful, lovely people to talk to. And so much experience.
Consequently, as I sat down with everyone else and waited for the announcements to start, it was suddenly clear to me that there was, therefore, no way I was going to win. Which rather relaxed me. So, when all the shortlisted authors were encouraged to bring their books to the front of the room, so that the winners could hold up their book when announced, I didn’t bother! I only had one copy with me that day, and I had left it on the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) stand, across the exhibition hall.
Which meant that when my name was announced as the winner by David Roche, BookBrunch’s chair, not only was I absolutely gobsmacked, but when I walked bow-legged to the front of the room, I then had to run across the hall, and back, to get my only copy from the ALLi stand!
I can’t remember anything which David said after that (although I recall I texted my brother saying, I fucking won!)
No sooner did the announcements finish, then we had to have photos taken and then ALLi’s CEO, Orna Ross wanted to interview me. I think I garbled my answers from about ten feet above the ground, with no idea of what I was actually saying. I’m not particularly looking forward to seeing how I come across when the video is released…
I was fortunate to meet two of the judges for my category after the announcements had finished, and they were kind enough to tell me what they thought of my book, which was wonderful to hear.
So, to anyone who enters such awards in future – and if you’re an indie author, I encourage you to get involved with The Selfies, as it’s a great experience if you do get shortlisted – do make sure you’re better prepared than me! Keep a copy of your book to-hand, maybe think about at least a couple of things you might say if you are lucky enough to win, don’t knock back two glasses of wine in five minutes before being interviewed, and don’t waffle when answering questions.
And do enjoy it – I did at least do that 😊.
* The Selfies awards were created to recognise excellence in independent publishing, and are judged not just on the quality of the writing, but also on the success of the author’s PR and marketing campaign, sales success and overall production values, including cover design.