A few months ago, I bit the bullet and entered My Novel into the Writer's Digest 25th Annual Self-Published Book Awards. I wasn't going to enter any contests--I couldn't afford to enter any contests. But I did anyway with low expectations because after all the positive feedback I'd been getting in the TOPIC community, I think I wanted to see how the book would fare with a general readership. A few days ago, I received news that it received an Honorable Mention in the MG/YA category. My first reaction was shock, then thrilled. I don't know if it's a big deal in the long-run, but it feels like a big deal in this moment, so I'm remaining grateful for it.
But that brings me to my issue. I know that books only have a shelf-life of so long, but I feel like MY NOVEL has growing momentum--particularly in the past few months, particularly with the events I'm doing that quickly sell out of books. With the launch of my non-profit, where a portion of the proceeds are now going, I can only predict it will continue to do well in the TOPIC community. My concern now is expanding its reach outside of that target audience, as I now believe it will do well with a broader readership as well...
So, my question, which I'm so hesitant to ask because I don't want to be that guy: is there a chance that MY NOVEL could be picked up by an agent and/or a traditional publisher for greater reach? Is it worth sending it into the trenches? Or has that ship long sailed and I should just focus on publicity as much as possible (which, truth be told, I've done a ton of press for this book and I'm out of ideas).
I feel in my heart that this book has a long way to go yet, and I have to trust that feeling--I don't want to give up on it just yet. I just don't want to make a huge mistake as I continue on this journey, if I can help it.
Yes, and no.
How's that for clarity.
Yes, it can be picked up.
No, don't send it.
The reason someone will pick it up is they'll notice you out there and get interested on their own.
If an agent or an editor notices the book and wants more, they'll get in touch. You do have your contact info on your blog, right?
I should say that this is EXTREMELY unlikely for a novel.
Sales are hard to get (I'm not telling you anything you don't know of course) and there is a shelf-life to novels.
That said, be prepared for opportunity to strike.
And the way to be prepared is to keep pushing the book.
Be prepared by being reachable (your contact info on your website!)
But more important, Be prepared by being visible (writing articles on your topic, reviewing books on your topic, etc.) An editor isn't going to find you or know much about you from an Honorable Mention in a contest. They WILL notice you if you write article/s on your topic, or you regularly boost books by interesting authors.
None of this is a waste of time, even if Big Pub doesn't come calling.