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Categorizing Your Title in a Literary Awards Contest

With the end of summer approaching, the deadline for our annual literary awards contest gets closer and closer.  As the submissions coming in keep piling up, I thought it would be the perfect time to share some awards wisdom with our authors!

        Each literary awards contest has different guidelines, categories, and submission requirements. So when submitting to various contests, it is always a good idea to keep a log that not only keeps track of when you sent each one but also shows the guidelines, fees, categories you submitted to…etc. Doing this will help to keep track of the current submissions, and it will also create a chart with information about each contest, which will be helpful for upcoming books.

·         Authors are right to assume that the genre of their title should be the main category to enter in the contest. Does this mean that it must be the only one? The answer is no. A literary novel, for example, could also be historical fiction, mystery, thriller, or all of the above! Consider submitting the title in a few categories, or even submitting the title in different categories for different contests to improve the chances of scoring an award!

·         Choosing which category to enter in an awards contest is important mostly because the category selected will determine the judge who will read the book. If the author chooses to enter their Christian fiction title in the general fiction category, it will be reviewed by a judge who prefers to read general fiction. A better fit for the title would be the judge that reads Christian fiction titles. It is essential to choose the category that is the best fit for the book’s topic.

·         As some categories are more generalized, they will have more submissions than the more specific ones. In other words, the fewer the number of titles in a category, and the number of categories entered improves the chances of being picked as finalist or winner.

In the end, all authors want their title to win. When shooting to win, competitors need to make sure they give their submission the best possible chance. In my opinion, the key is to categorize the book correctly and even submitting in different categories applicable to the book’s topic. Keeping all this straight and organized will also help when strategizing submissions and make the process easier for your next title. For more information about the Reader Views Literary Awards, click here. 

Susan Violante is the Managing Editor of Reader Views, a book review and author publicity service where avid readers can find reviews of recently published books as well as read interviews with authors.  She is also Managing Editor of First Chapter Plus, an online e-Catalog that introduces books to Libraries, Bookstores, Media, Reviewers, Bloggers and Readers.

Susan published her first book : Innocent War: Behind An Immigrant's Past - Book 1 in 2009, and released her revised edition in 2011.  Her sequel to Innocent War, Emerging from the Rubble is scheduled to be published later this year. Tuma: The Tribe's Little Princess was published in 2014 under her own label, I Have Something To Say Press.


Why Kids Should Become Book Reviewers

One of my favorite things to do as the managing editor of Reader Views is to match our authors’ titles with one of our reviewers when processing publicity packages. Being an author, I understand how terrifying it can be to have your book reviewed, so I always make sure each title gets the best chance by making sure the reviewer is the appropriate one for the title. Having a reviewer within the target market and genre of the title is very important to give the most honest and professional review possible. But, my commitment to professionalism and honesty does not go only to the authors; it is also for the readers!

Reviews must help readers decide whether a title is for them or not. It because of our dedication to readers, we decided many years ago that kids should review children’s books, and thus was born. We created the Reader Views Kids website to cater to young readers who love to read, and value other kids’ opinions about the books they want to read. Through this, we discovered that we were not only serving the authors and readers but the reviewers as well! There are many benefits for the kid reviewer. To list a few…

·         They learn better reading skills

·         They learn better writing skills

·         They learn how to form their own opinions about other people’s writing

·         They learn how to communicate their opinions

·         They learn how to provide constructive criticism

In all, becoming a reviewer helps kids become assertive, self-confident, and well-adjusted critical thinkers who are not afraid to be themselves. For more information on how to become a kid reviewer (from preschool to young adult) click here. 

To check out some of our kids' reviews visit


Susan Violante is the Managing Editor of Reader Views, a book review and author publicity service where avid readers can find reviews of recently published books as well as read interviews with authors.  She is also Managing Editor of First Chapter Plus, an online e-Catalog that introduces books to Libraries, Bookstores, Media, Reviewers, Bloggers and Readers.

Susan published her first book : Innocent War: Behind An Immigrant's Past - Book 1 in 2009, and released her revised edition in 2011.  Her sequel to Innocent War, Emerging from the Rubble is scheduled to be published later this year. Tuma: The Tribe's Little Princess was published in 2014 under her own label, I Have Something To Say Press.


Abstract Art Delivered in Words and Created by You

As an abstract artist, of photos and paintings I’ve discovered that sometimes I tend to be impatient in the way that I express what is in my mind’s eye.  The more patient, the more time, the more trips back to that piece of work allows for a deeper and more complete translation of what is intended to be expressed.  So should it be with writing fiction.

It is the responsibility of the author to present you with the canvas, paints, brushes and other materials through the expression of well written text, and YOU get to paint it in your mind.  How awesome is that!  It is my belief that the best fiction doesn’t give you every detailed description of a scene, or character, but provides just enough of the materials needed for you to create it the way that your mind pictures it and assembles your own unique version of that work.  Then the work is truly yours.  Yours to enjoy.

Readers of fiction partake in the art to soulfully escape into another world.  Why not be the one that uses the author’s gift as a launching pad to enter your own world?  Author’s that give you all the answers, all the ideas are constructing a piece of work that is about their ability to create something interesting or magical, and I enjoy those as much as the next person.  There is another world out there and it exists in your mind’s eye.

Challenge yourself to step into your own mind and discover the potential you have for creating the world of abstract fantasy by looking for works of literature that push the limits on what is possible through words.  I think sometimes we all hesitate to do so because we may not get the answer right, or maybe are unsure we understood the plot, or ending of a story.  Forget that.  It’s your story and the ending is exactly the way that you see it and imagine it.  There is no right or wrong answer.

Interpretation of poetry.  A good fictional work is poetry.  Sure it has an idea or meaning that the writer may be trying to convey, but if written properly there should be unlimited directions that the work could go based on the individual interpretation of that work.  Nothing brings more joy to me than to hear from a reader their critique, and more importantly, their interpretation of my writing.

Pick up an abstract novel and begin painting today!


Tim Dunn is a business executive and award winning author. He’s a Midwest native, married with three children.  Tim spends his free time during the evenings and weekends serving his community, writing, watching sports or movies and preparing for the next day’s events.  Genetic Memory won First Place - Fantasy in the 2015 Reader Views Reviewers Choice Award.  His books are available online. 


No Country for Double Standards

Some people 'really' enjoy watching rated R movies. As you know some rated R movies contain adult content that is suggested for a mature audience, such as sex, violence or possible substance abuse. However when this very content is written in books from a competent author that shows character(s) doing the 'same' thing displayed on the silver screen, all of a sudden some people can't deal with reading books of this nature. But, they'll go see the next rated R movie without a second thought...Why?

I was inspired to write this article from the recent book review I received from Self-Publishing-Reviewer (SPR). The rating I got is 3.5, sort of a mixed review. However, I emailed the reviewer and asked questions about the lousy review rating. To be specific I asked questions such as,' Do you read horror? What is 'Southern Gothic'? What commonly 'basic' errors did you see in Seasons of Pain?

I am going to share with you blurbs from the review and show why Seasons of Pain is a breath of fresh air for readers that want read a series that's unpredictable.

The Grim and Gritty of Seasons of Pain

'The book edges on common decency for the entirety of the read, and though never quite crossing any lines into the outright shocking, it cannot be stated enough that any reader put off by the grim and gritty should approach with caution.'

When it comes to writing horror, the grimy and gritty is the back bone of Seasons of Pain. Furthermore, Seasons of Pain pushes the G&G (Grim and Gritty) if you will, to new levels. Supernaturals in Seasons of Pain either have a hard life or a high mortality life style. In their day-to-day life the supernaturals are faced with obstacles in their environment, so the reader can watch them overcome them or watch them make mistakes-at times pay for the consequences. I will say artistry should never be sacrificed for a sensitive audience period. The reason Seasons of Pain stands out is because I don't censor myself. To clarify, Seasons of Pain has its gore, violence and sex. Sex, violence, and gore work together in Seasons of Pain to flesh out how cruel being a supernatural is, however I do not make the big three the main focus of the book at all. To be crystal clear the 'adult content' in Seasons of Pain is seasoning used well to serve up a good dish for the reader to enjoy.

There's also a great number of fairly basic errors, as well as general oddities in the writing of the book that feel like stones against the windshield when drifting through the book, all of which seem like they should have been picked up by a re-read.

I can only assume the reviewer is conditioned to read 'author voice work'. Author voice work is the homicide that's being done to creativity in the literature world. To clarify, character slang is sacrificed for proper spoken English. More so, the reviewer refers to how she cannot understand and follow Jesse's thought process in Seasons of Pain. Jesse Lelrik, the main character in the Seasons of Pain, is in her early twenties. I tailored Jesse's thinking process and reactions like typical twenty something year olds today. I did that for the sake of artistry betwixt making her stand out from the typical role of a female lead in supernatural horror books. Jesse, despite her flaws is not a damsel in distress, she holds her own in a fight. Also, Jesse doesn't run for help when trouble comes her way. To me this places Jesse apart from typical female leads in horror books.  The most important attribute to Jesse, she gave up her magic - this is showing the reader her strength in giving up her birthright.

There are 'no' basic errors in the Seasons of Pain, the spelling of some words in Seasons of Pain are creative. To explain, some words I made up in the Seasons of Pain, or they're old words that have been set aside to make room for idiot social media words. Slang in Seasons of Pain is richly identical to American culture, which brings to address 'basic' errors in detail. Let's face it, in America no one speaks perfect English.  The majority of the American spoken word is slang that is a grammatical bomb of lunacy attempting to tailor itself as perfected spoken English. As for implementing it into Seasons of Pain, it really makes all the characters have their own voice and they do not suffer 'Author voice.' What I am saying is the characters in Seasons of Pain are alive, how they act and express themselves verbally is artistry to give the readers an unforgettable experience reading Seasons of Pain.


I do believe there's a double standard that exists today when it comes to books versus movies. People like this book reviewer on SPR will enjoy watching movies that have all the mindless violence in it. When it comes to Seasons of Pain showing all faces of horror, the double standard arises. As I shared with you the variables of the double standard from the review I got from SPR, which opens the doors to explore other 'oddities' that are not in favor for creativity to really blossom in literature today.  Notice how some publishing companies will want authors that have trending stories similar to what movies are coming out these days? But that's another topic and something to discuss amongst your friends or me.


I strongly feel my topic should be further investigated.  There may be a plethora of variables as to why the double standard exists towards books. Seasons of Pain is an aggressive read for a reason because the supernatural life is action packed and far from being a 'milk and cookie’ read. When it comes to horror and supernatural, I deliver on a gold platter to the reader and go the extra mile on making 'all' characters possible lead characters as Seasons of Pain progresses. Most importantly, I 'do not insult the reader by making Jesse perfect. I have given her flaws to build a bridge to the readers immediately. On that note I have done that to all the characters if you will.  I want to reader to grow with Jesse as she strives to get back to the high point in her life. I have no idea what Jesse is going to be in the end. And neither do I know how long this series will be. So you can say in confidence I am on the same level as the readers when it comes to figuring out what Jesse will be in the end of her long journey.

Imowen Lodestone


Imowen Lodestone  was inspired to write Seasons of Pain in large part because of his admiration for the creative genius of fellow writer H.P. Lovecraft. He always wanted to write a novel dominated by Supernatural characters that showed readers that these individuals, although endowed with special abilities and keen senses, still get scared and make assumptions. As a result of these failings, they sometimes make mistakes. His goal is to reveal to the reader how Supernatural beings experience fear while telling an action packed tale that does not stop with a scary monster but embraces all brands of fear. For more information on Imowen Lodestone and his book visit his website at