2007 EPPIE Contest Opens

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The premiere e-book contest enters its 8th year with a bang. Authors world-wide, from all walks of life and 23 genres are welcomed to this year’s event.

The premiere e-book contest enters its 8th year with a bang. Authors world-wide, from all walks of life and 23 genres are welcomed to this year’s event.

When the EPPIE first opened its doors in 2000, it was to 15 categories with a handful of entries each. The contest has grown remarkably in the years since, now sporting well over 500 entries yearly in 23 categories. Estimations are that they may top 600 entries this year. Carol MacLeod, this year EPPIEs Contest Chairman, states, “There are so many different types of e-books out there that it was hard to choose just 23 categories.”

Brenna Lyons, president of EPIC, the Electronically Published internet connection, which sponsors this yearly contest, is upbeat about the proceedings. “EPPIE ranks up there now. People ask me in June when it will open for entries. Others plan all year, keeping a database of what they intend to enter in September or early October. One new publisher, a former EPPIE finalist herself, told me how excited she is to be watching her company’s books compete this year.”

But, what’s the hype? Why does anyone care?

“It’s simple,” Lyons continues. “It’s one of only a few awards that are only for e-books. Major industry awards are slow in allowing e-books in, despite the fact that e-book sales are rising by a reported 35-65% per annum according to figugures supplied to us by IDPF and Fictionwise. The old print houses in NY are starting lines of e-books and releasing bestselling print books in e-book. Add to that the fact that three NY houses have publicly stated that they are adopting new lines and authors based on sales in e-book and you have a good indication that e-books are coming into their own.”

Many other contests that do allow e-books want them submitted in paper copy, sometimes bound editions that may or may not be available through the publisher. The means there will be an added cost of $50 or more to those entering e-books in contests that started with all paper books...at least $25 extra dollars for those who also have a trade paperback edition of their book available through the publisher. “EPPIE doesn’t do that. If you enter EPPIE, you enter with the e-book copy, which doesn’t add to the entry fee you pay,” Lyons states.

And, it’s not just the independent/small presses playing in the EPPIE these days. In addition to reprints of NY Times bestsellers entered in previous years, queries are coming in from the new NY e-book lines, authors who want to know if their books are eligible to enter. MacLeod and Lyons both are absolutely thrilled with this development. “I was incredibly jazzed when we had one NYC published author ask me if she could enter the e-book version of her print book. We have definitely arrived,” beams MacLeod with pride.

“Of course, they want and are entering our contest,” Lyons answers. “This has never been an indie press-only affair. The guidelines for entry have always welcomed NY authors with e-books as well as indie authors.”

In addition, the rules were changed several years ago to allow self-published books to compete. There are relatively no contests which allows self-published books entry. “When looking at some of the great quality books out there that are self-published, we realized we had to change that rule,” MacLeod adds. When asked about all the bad press self-publishing has received over the last few years, she answers, “Sure there are some very bad self-published books out there, but there are also some very bad NYC books out there too. It’s like anything else, you have to take the good with the bad. The cream of the crop will rise to the top. Each year the entries are getting better and better. And frankly, I haven’t been able to tell the difference in NYC published books and the indie or self-published e-books for quite some time now. They are the same in quality, cover art and are definitely more convenient to those of us who love our computers.”

Their call for entries, posted all over Yahoogroups on the web, makes it clear that EPPIE is open to all who conform to having an e-book released for sale within the time period for eligibility, in this case Oct 1, 2005 through Sept 30, 2006. It doesn’t matter if there is a corresponding paper book released, the call states, and it certainly doesn’t matter where you live, as long as the book is published in English.

EPIC representatives state that it is the longest-standing and most inclusive e-book award of its type. With categories in everything from children’s/YA to romance and erotica, straight genre science fiction, fantasy and horror to historical fiction, westerns and inspirational fiction, that isn’t hard to believe.

One might wonder how EPIC handles such a monumental task every year, especially considering their projected growth on the contest. It would seem that they keep a committee formed year-round, taking suggestions on new categories, rule changes they might consider and new file types. MacLeod has a long history of chairing contests for both published and unpublished authors and was happy to offer her services this year. She has taken over from the joint leadership of herself and Anita Gunnifson last year. Carol and Anita have run many RWA contests, including their acclaimed RITA and Golden Heart awards, which makes them ideal candidates in running a growing concern like EPPIE.

MacLeod chuckles when asked about this. “I knew Anita was recruiting me the moment I joined EPIC. When she asked me to co-chair last year, I saw the writing on the wall. This contest is a lot different from those in RWA. First, every entry must have been e-published within the required time frame. Second, there are a lot fewer entries. But regardless of those things, I just love being involved in a technology growth area.”

Huh? Technology growth?

“Yes, technology growth. e-Books are imperative to our future. More and more kids are computer proficient in ways we could have only dreamed about. My feeling is we can get in on this growth and help create a great foundation or we can let it pass on by. My money is on the growth of e-books. Statistic show every day that this is a growth industry and the projections will surpass all expectations. Whether we like it or not, e-books are here to stay and I for one intend to ride this wave.”

Lyons nods. "Many people read e-books now and don't even know it, children as well as adults. That's part of the reason we put teacher education CDs in our New Voices packets for the kids. Computers are already in the classrooms. We want them able to maximize their effectiveness in education today, because computers are only becoming a more ingrained part of our lives. You can't get many jobs without proficiency in computers, and you can certainly research a heck of a lot faster that way.

"In the meantime, children and young adults are spending more time enjoying electronic entertainment than they have in years past. As a parent, I'm always happy to make that entertainment e-books and not some mindless video game."

Contest particulars:

Eligibility- ANY e-book of 10,000 words or more (or less for poetry or Children's) published between Oct 1, 2005 and Sept 30, 2006 and REALEASED FOR SALE. It doesn't matter if there was also a print release. It doesn't matter if the e-book is self-published, subsidy/vanity published, with indie press or in NY. It doesn't matter if you are an EPIC member or not. It doesn't matter where in the world you live, as long as the book was released in English. Re-releases in the contest period ARE allowed, as long as the book was not entered in the EPPIE in a previous year. All are welcome. Questions can be directed to the contest coordinator, Carol MacLeod, at xoddity @ cox.net

Categories and rules- See http://epicauthors.com/eppiefaq.html and http://epicauthors.com/eppierules2007.html Please, pay special attention to the category descriptions and the file naming requirements. These have changed this year.

Cost to enter -- $20 for EPIC members and $30 for non-members. Payment is accepted in US Dollars by PayPal, check or money order. Details on the entry page.

Deadline for entry -- Midnight EST 7 Oct, 2006. Finalists announced Dec 2006. Winners announced 11 March, 2007 at EPICon in VA Beach.

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