Updated: Nov 8, 2021
The novel, Still Breathing, has been announced as the winner for Literary Fiction in the 10th annual Kindle Book Award Competition sponsored by The Kindle Review, an Indiana-based book review company that seeks to promote quality eBooks and authors.
The Kindle Book Award competition is a yearly event for Independent and Small Press authors sponsored by Kindle Book Reviews. The first winner in its first contest in 2012 was the famous book, WOOL, by Hugh Howey. This year’s contest was open to books with publication dates from May 1, 2018, through May 1, 2021. Submissions were divided into seven categories: Horror/Suspense, Young adult, Romance, Mystery/Thriller, Non-Fiction, Literary Fiction, and Sci-fi/Fantasy. 20 Semi-Finalists in each category were named on September 1, 2021. Five Finalists were announced on October 1, 2021. The winners were announced on November 1, 2021.
I have to say that I was pretty nervous about this contest. As an author, every time you enter a competition you tell yourself to keep your expectations low. You pay the fee, send off the files they request, make note of the announcement dates, file and forget. Well, you try, anyway. You consciously push it out of your mind, live in self-imposed ignorance, and go back to work on your latest WIP. Of course, none of this ever succeeds.
Waiting is torture. I entered this competition way back in March, for goodness sakes! The 20 semi-finalists in each category wouldn't be announced until October 1. By then, I was a closet basket case. I hid my stress from my wife with a stone face and a fraudulent cheerful cloud. She noticed immediately and stared at me. "Is there a writing contest, or something, coming soon?" So much for my poker face.
As the weeks slowly passed my inner self kept telling me that surely Still Breathing should make the top 20. My inner, inner self cautioned against hoping for anything positive. It was a long six months. So, September 1st dawned and I timidly fired up the computer. I went to the site and trepidatiously clicked on "2021 Contest Semi-Finalists." Scrolling down to Literary Fiction, it was the sixth category in the list, I froze the page just short of revealing the listed titles. I took a big breath and slowly let it out. What if it's not there? I slowly rolled on, single title after single title. And there, finally, my book title appeared, near the bottom.
I was relieved, excited, and felt the building dread of another month before my next crisis, the revealing of 5 finalists from the 20. I won't bore you with the angst I endured until October 1. The day arrived and again I did the painful slow scroll but this time I encountered my book title right away in the list because it was at the top, and in red! Ecstasy! Relief! Dread! I survived to be a finalist.
I told myself that being a finalist should be enough. I was happy I made it that far and should be proud--and satisfied. They sent me a finalist badge in a digital file and I virtually stuck it on my virtual book. I showed off the image on Instagram and got a flood of hearts and thumbs up from followers. None of this made me feel any better. I looked at my four remainng competitors on that red list of finalists and searched out their books on Amazon. I counted reviews and downloaded samples. Each book was good in its own way but somehow I felt cautiously optimistic until I read the sample from the fourth book. It was absolutely wonderful and poignant and timely. I admired the writing. I was moved by the theme. I became so convinced that this would be my book's nemesis that I tracked down the author's contact info and sent her a text. I explained who I was and assured her that if I had to lose to someone, I hoped it would be her. What is wrong with me? Why do I do this to myself?
Inevitably, November 1 arrived. I entered the site at the crack of dawn but no winners were posted. Thoroughly distracted all morning, I finally gave up and busied myself with book promotion minutia when I noticed a change in the contest site. The winners were now listed! My heart sank into my shoes. Do I dare click the menu item? Should I walk away, make lunch, and come back later? I steeled myself and clicked on the "2021 Contest Winners." This time the categories displayed the winner's book cover at the top of their listed names. I counselled myself to relax. Whatever happens, happens. It's already history, I just don't know about it yet. I scrolled down all the way to Literary Fiction and stopped. I clicked one pixel at a time trying to see only the top edge of the winner's cover to delay the inevitable. It looked familiar. Could it be? I rolled the mouse wheel fully and my cover jumped into view! What? It was my familiar cover at the top of the list. I had won!
I sat at the computer, stunned. I didn't leap for joy, I didn't shout, I did nothing, nothing at all. I just sat in my office chair and stared. The immensity of my long months of doubt made it nearly impossible for me to digest the wonderful news on the screen in front of me. Slowly, I stood and made hard fists. I shook them at myself and spoke softly but out loud. "We did it. We actually did it! We won. My book won."