January’s Third Thursday Wrap-Up: An Evening with the 2011 WLT Book Award Winners

By Lexie Smith

The 2012 Third Thursday series began where authors might like to end-up – at an awards presentation for their book. Thank you to all of you who came to applaud your fellow writers.  Congratulations to the 2011 WLT Book Award winners.

Fiction Russian Winter by Daphne Kalotay

Non-FictionBefore Brown: Herman Marion Sweatt, Thurgood Marshall, and the Long Road to Justice By Gary M. Lavergne

PoetryWorks & Days by Dean Rader

Writing for Children & Young AdultsCrossing the Tracks by Barbara Stuber

Each author read a selection from their book  and was presented with an inscribed award and a cash prize.

I know you’re happy for the winners, but you may be wondering, “What’s in it for me?”

Here’s what’s in it for you:  you can learn from someone who has done what you want to do – publish a book and get recognized for it.  You may not think you care about the notoriety, but a pat on the back for a job well done, and some cash, is always nice.

To help refresh your memory of the evening and for those who couldn’t make it, I’ll share a few things I learned from hearing the 2011 WLT Book Award winners talk about and read from their books.

1) Enter contests. Wining a contest helps with your book’s publicity. (Outside of the authors’ friends and family, had any of you heard of these books before tonight? I hadn’t.)  Also, receiving a prize is a nice bit of motivation.

2) Enter local and national contests.  Three of the four winners live out of state. Austin and Texas are fabulous, but don’t forget to to bless people in other states with your writing.

3) Publishers do work on behalf of their authors.  All of tonight’s books were submitted to the contest by publishers, not the authors. If you self-publish, remember to submit your books to contests.

4) Social media and platform are important, but you don’t have to be an expert at it. Pick one thing, such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or blogging, and start using it. The awards weren’t won because of a social media campaign, but it was nice to learn about the authors online.

5) Make videos about your topic or book, if you’re interested, per #4.  Barb hired someone to do a book trailer. Gary uses YouTube, “It’s not great quality, but it works for what we want to do.” Dean and Daphne are on YouTube because others posted clips from book readings they have done.

(Stop by YouTube to visit their videos. Gary brought his own videographer, i.e., his wife, to record and post his portion of the evening his YouTube channel.  Dean’s fans have posted a  few videos of him reading at different venues.  Both Daphne’s video  and Barbara’s book trailer share parts of their books we didn’t hear tonight. )

As you see, the WLT Third Thursdays are full of information and inspiration for writers, even on an awards night.  So make plans now to attend February’s Third Thursday and learn about “Burning the Midnight Oil: Balancing the Act of Life and Writing” with Greg Levin, DJ Stout and K.A. Holt.

Lexie is a WLT member who enjoys connecting people with information through LexicalLight.com, BloggingForWriters.com and 64mascots.com. A University of Texas graduate, she taught middle school English and, until recently, homeschooled her children. She lives in Round Rock with her husband, five kids and two rescued Boxers.

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