“How did you become Readers’ Favorite Illustration Awards Judge?”—Anna Faktorovich, PhD Interview

Faktorovich: You also served as a Readers’ Favorite Illustration Awards judge. How did you win this job? Did somebody else nominate you or did you nominate yourself? You won several awards from this group, so did they automatically nominate you to judge when you hit a certain number of award wins? Beyond what appears on the official rules for contests, what practically makes a difference between illustrations that win an award and those that don’t? Is there an obvious difference between the winners and losers? And if so, what are the most common mistakes made by the losers?

IMG_0638Adams: I met the Readers’ Favorite founder, Debra Gaynor, several times in Miami, Atlanta, Nashville and Frankfort. She solicited me like every author who had a quality book that would grow the now international Reader’s Favorite Awards and Review program. Jilli, That’s Silly! written by Christa Carpenter, received a gold medal and I planned to attend the ceremony in Miami. Debra also invited me to present on the Value of Illustration during the Readers’ Favorite two night annual awards ceremony. While at breakfast, I sketched in my current Best Sketchbook. James Ventrillo, current CEO of Readers’ Favorite, introduced himself and began an impromptu interview for the Reader’s Favorite Illustration Awards judge position.

IMG_0523The awards won through their organization did not automatically make me judge. Professional experience earned the position. Several hundred books in various genres are submitted each year. Judging occurs throughout the year based on: character development, storytelling, cover design, layout, etc. Once a book is scored, the score is final. Until the scoring is complete, who the winner is remains a surprise for them and me.

We’ve all seen books that are obvious winners and losers. I judge on the criteria specifically. Common mistakes made are strong illustrations and a weak graphic design. Cover design is 10 points. If the cover design scores low, great illustrations may not win. Another common mistake is inexperience. The art must relay the story to a non-reader.

My biggest reward in participating as the Readers’ Favorite Illustration Awards Judge is hearing a winner say, “I didn’t think I was that good,” or “There are more talented artists than me.” Receiving feedback from your peers is important!

 

Read the complete interview with Mark Adams, Award-Winning IllustratorAdams-Author Bio Photo-mwa.company-template with Anna Faktorovich, PhD

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“Do you think awards and reviews are key to sales of new releases?”—Anna Faktorovich, PhD Interview

Faktorovich: You boast on your website that over 5 years the authors you’ve published with MWA, Inc. have won over 50 major awards. To how many awards do you submit each of your releases to? How expensive is it to do a mass submission to so many awards for several books? Do you or your authors fund these submissions? Do you see a positive return in terms of sales after a book ends up winning awards? Do you think awards, reviews, or some other components are key to the sales of a new release in the illustrated children’s book category?

Christa Carpenter receives the Evelyn Thurman Young Readers Award.
Christa Carpenter receives the Evelyn Thurman Young Readers Award.

AdamsAwards—we all want them, but why? Most authors rely on publishers to submit for book awards. The publisher works within a fixed budget and may only enter a few awards competitions. What authors and illustrators may not realize is they can submit for book awards. Some awards offer monetary compensation, while all offer either local, regional, or national exposure. What value is an award? Awards offer something different for each person. Authors may use awards to validate their profession to consumers, peers, or family. Readers may see awards as a quality review from book professionals. Publishers may see the award as a reason to contract for future books. No matter what the reason, be confident that your book is of professional quality before submitting. Be open to the fact that not all submissions win. Being a finalist is as important as receiving a medal. For my fifty published books, only eleven have won awards. I use critiques from judges to enhance the next book or second edition printing of the current book. Not every book is a winner, so why not learn from each.

Read the complete interview with Mark Adams, Award-Winning IllustratorAdams-Author Bio Photo-mwa.company-template with Anna Faktorovich, PhD

Awards: The Long List

Awards—we all want them, but why? Most authors rely on publishers to submit for book awards. The publisher works within a fixed budget and may only enter a few awards competitions. What authors and illustrators may not realize is they can submit for book awards. Some awards offer monetary compensation, while all offer either local, regional, or national exposure. What value is an award? Awards offer something different for each person. Authors may use awards to validate their profession to consumers, peers, or family. Readers may see awards as a quality review from book professionals. Publishers may see the award as a reason to contract for future books. No matter what the reason, be confident that your book is professional quality before submitting. Be open to the fact, not all submissions win. Being a finalist is as important as receiving a medal. For my forty published books, only eleven have won awards. Use critiques from judges to enhance your next book or second edition printing of the current book. Where do you find book awards? Below is my long list of book awards. This list gets revised as I hear of a valid award from fellow authors and publishers. Bookmark the list for quick reference, I have.