Mascot Blog

The Author’s Guide to Award Submissions

To a first-time author, the award submission process can seem daunting. To shed some light on the subject, we chatted with Lori Orlinsky, #mascotauthor of Being Small (Isn’t So Bad After All) and the recent First Place Winner in the Children’s Category at the Author Academy Awards! She shared her award selection process, best practices for researching awards, and her tips for future award-winning authors.



Q&A with Lori:
  1. What was your award selection process like for Being Small?
    Because Being Small is a bullying prevention book, I submitted Being Small to a number of awards that have categories in that realm, such as school issues, social/emotional issues, mind/body issues, etc. There are so many awards out there (many of which come with a high price tag), so I had to pick and choose the awards that offered categories in which the book fit the best.

  2. You were recently awarded First Place in the Children’s Category at the Author Academy Awards. Congratulations! What was that experience like for you?
    Thank you! There were thousands of applications, and the Top 10 global finalists were chosen in August by popular vote only. Leading up to the Top 10, I did a huge campaign across my social media channels to encourage my fans to vote for the book. After I made it to the Top 10, there was another round of popular voting, coupled with a 90-second presentation I made in front of judges at a conference in Columbus, Ohio. I brought a growth chart with me as a prop for my presentation, and spoke from my heart. The most ironic part was that I could not reach the podium! You can see the video below. Later that evening, there was a big award ceremony with a red carpet. When they announced my name, I was so relieved to know that all of my hard work paid off. It all came full circle for me.



  3. What other types of awards have you found the most success with?
    Earlier this year, I was lucky enough to win both a Gold Mom’s Choice Award and a Purple Dragonfly Book Award.

  4. While there are a lot of credible and honorable awards for authors out there, unfortunately there are also some incredible ones. What would be your advice to authors who are interested in submitting their book for awards, but do not know where to start or what to look out for?
    1. Do your research! Look into the company that hosts the award you are considering applying for to ensure they are credible and reputable. Search the Better Business Bureau for anything that may be fishy.  Trust your gut, too. If something sounds scammy, it probably is.

    2. Reach out to other authors who won a particular award that you are interested in applying for. Find out directly from them if the costs were worth the benefits and if they would apply again. One thing that is great about the author community is that most people are willing to share their experiences to benefit others.

    3. Take advantage of discounts! Ask the company hosting the awards if they offer discounts on entry fees for indie authors. Because Mascot is a hybrid publisher, its authors are called indie authors. That’s a huge benefit, because many awards provide a discount specifically for indie authors. Additionally, take note of early bird entry dates because the savings add up.

    4. Don’t apply for awards in general categories unless you have to. Instead, find the best match for your book. As mentioned, I generally enter Being Small in bullying prevention categories over general picture book categories because the alignment is naturally there.

  5. Was there a particular moment when you realized Being Small was a potential award winner?
    I had a feeling I would be a winner after the presentation I made to the judges. I walked off that stage and just felt that I nailed it. I believe my passion for the book came shining through. But that presentation was a long time coming. I feel like I had been practicing for it every time I gave the elevator speech about my book, every time I read at the library, at a book store or was interviewed in the media.

  6. Is there anything else about your award-winning experience that would be helpful to our authors?
    The awards process is very overwhelming, so take a deep breath and understand it is natural to feel that way. Mascot staff are a wonderful resource, so take advantage of their experience and ask them questions. Above all, believe in yourself. Less than 1% of the population writes a book, so bask in your success. You wrote a book! Now it’s time to get noticed for it!

Get your copy of Being Small (Isn’t So Bad After All) at the Mascot Bookstore
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