In October of 2023, I participated in the All Author Cover of the Month contest with Isle of the Dark. I had entered a coupe of times before with other books, and usually finished around 10th. Only the top three get prizes, so I participated just for fun. I released IOTD in 2020 on my 19th birthday, but I knew the editing was pretty rough. Last year, in addition to writing Sinner, I decided to revamp Isle, including the cover.
When my awesome support community got me into first, I was thrilled, but we were up against another book that had MULTIPLE authors asking for votes. The contest lasts a month, it is a real siege, and most of the contenders lose interest quickly. After the second week, my adversary and I had pulled ahead of the pack, but they had a larger pool of people to ask.
My Mom is seriously competitive, so she went to work! She asked people she didn't even know to vote, which inspired the rest of my family to do the same. When we retained the lead, several of the authors from the other book started harassing me on social media. It was crazy! There is no cash prize, just free advertising on the All Author website and a little award saying 1st, nothing to get upset about. This made my Mom really mad, and she pushed harder for votes. We made silly posts on social media, my brother advertised on his YouTube channel, I asked coworkers.
It came down to the last day, and we won by a few votes. Who knew something so simple could be so intense! I was thrilled, and really grateful to everyone who helped.
Did winning sell any books? No. But it did teach me that being tenacious is important, because a magazine from London reached out to do a feature on me. (More on that later.) Finishing a book is challenging, putting yourself out there daunting, but nothing compares to self promotion. Everything is a journey, and being an author is no different.