On the topic of Book Awards – a Strong Opinion from an Indie Publisher Who Has Won 11 in International Contests

I stumbled upon a most interesting blog tonight (Writer Beware) and found it fascinating…because of this tagline: “Shining a bright light into the dark corners of the shadow-world of literary scams, schemes, and pitfalls. ”

They also provide “advice for writers, industry news, and commentary. Writer Beware is sponsored by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Inc.”

Truly fascinating. So naturally I became curious. I read this post from 2015 that caught my eye: “AWARDS PROFITEERS: HOW WRITERS CAN RECOGNIZE AND AVOID THEM

It contained specific info that authors and indie publishers frequently discuss: Should I or shouldn’t I enter my books into awards competitions? It’s a question I’ve answered numerous times in the affirmative.

Having won 11 international book awards in 6 years of publishing after having our literature reviewed by literary judges, I have a strong opinion on what I read there tonight.

I will say that there’s some great info in that article about organizations to avoid and why….definitely worth knowing and learning what the red flags are (especially first-time authors!)

But I saw a comment there about The International Latino Book Awards that necessitated a response.

Here’s what I wrote (that the moderator will now review and decide whether or not to include it)….just in case he/she doesn’t. LOL!

Since The International Latino Book Awards was mentioned here, I gotta pipe in. Yes, these awards have been held at the national ALA convention, because authors from 17 Spanish-speaking nations enter their literature and libraries are THIRSTING for excellent content from Latin American and U.S.-based Latinos.

My indie educational publishing company has won 5 ILBA awards for our BILINGUAL children’s books (the 1st ever in English and Spanish featuring women serving in the military and inspired by my military aviation career) – CaptainMama.com for the curious ones. Let me tell you what the entry fee resulted in just in the latest event in which the second book in our bilingual series, Captain Mama’s Surprise, won “Most Inspirational Bilingual Children’s Picture Book.”

The ILBA press release listing all the winners was picked up by many institutional buyers. NBC News covered the Awards event in Los Angeles and mentioned the title in this article.

Because that happened, a journalist at USA Today called me and then it was featured in an article in THAT paper (the nation’s largest) as seen here.

Results? We collected large publisher compensation deposits into our business account for several months due to this significant national exposure, plus many, many PAID speaking events at schools, libraries and dual-language teacher conferences have followed from people who say “I read about your books in USA Today (or NBC News)”.

Try getting THAT kind of media buzz WITHOUT entering an international literary content like this one!

This contest and organization is LEGIT and I’ve met Kirk Whisler who runs the ILBA and Eddie Olmos (yeah, THAT Hollywood icon Eddie Olmos) who sponsors it several times over the years.

Also, our nonfiction book Latinnovating won four ILBA awards at the 2012 ILBA awards held in Manhattan during Book Expo week. 

That resulted in DOZENS of PAID speaking engagements at universities and business schools…because of the huge attention that ILBA press releases attract nationwide AND outside the USA in Latin American countries!

In short, the ROI on the entry fee, early bird or regular, has been HUGE every single time. HUGE.

So thanks for this article and the warnings, but do NOT lump the ILBA into a negative category please. – Graciela Tiscareno-Sato, Bilingual Publisher, Gracefully Global Group LLC


May this resource I found tonight be helpful to you, especially when coupled with my strong opinion, based on experience, about the ILBA. 🙂  If you’re a Latino author and you’ve published QUALITY literature, professionally edited and designed, this opportunity to have your book judged and maybe receive an award is the one you MUST enter. You’ll be glad you did.

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