Wednesday, December 8, 2010

What Entering Book Contests Will Get You

When I first moved here, I couldn't get a library card. Really. It frustrated me to no end and I tried every angle. What had we done moving to such a literary forsaken place??!

But then I took Doc Hensley's writing class at Taylor University in Ft. Wayne and he got me started on the road to writing book reviews--and with book reviews came FREE BOOKS.

Back then (about ten-twelve years ago) that was a revelation to me. I also got on board with Multnomah Publishing as a reviewer, giving feedback to them on books they sent to me. Before I knew it, I had started libraries in two churches and in an elementary school. Of course, I didn't give away the ARCs (Advanced Reading Copies,) but I did give away many books to these libraries.(And still do.)

Now, after a thousand published reviews and countless copies of books, you would think I have had enough. Not so. Even though I gave up my book review column in a magazine, I still review for Church Libraries Journal and will influence for Christian authors as I am able. And I sometimes enter drawings on blogs for books I am thinking of getting. That's what I did when I entered the contest for Dining with Joy by Rachel Hauck in the Thomas Nelson contest.
Dining with Joy by Rachel Hauck (Thomas Nelson) released November 2010
I was hoping to win her new book. Well, I ended up winning the grand prize, too--a Kitchen Aid mixer! That was something I would have never thought would happen.

I influence heavily for my Indiana ACFW authors, but also any ACFW member, so don't tell anyone, but I'd do this without winning a book or a mixer, but I can't tell you the boost of joy that it gave me on Tuesday to learn I'd won!

Do you have a blog where you do influencing for authors? Do you belong to a book review group where you are sent books in exchange for a word about them?Do you ever enter the book contests either to win a book or other prizes?

If nothing else, I will always be a reader. And when you offer a reader a free book, how can she resist?? We didn't have to in this contest (though encouraged to do so,) write a food preparation faux pas, but I put mine in the comments section on Rachel's blog.

Here it is:

"I've been married about 30 years now and have done LOTS of cooking since for our four sons and my hubby and lots of family and friends. BUT when I first got married, my husband was in school and we lived on scant groceries and creativity. One night I was in a big hurry to get supper on after teaching all day. I had chili powder, but for some reason as I mixed chili ingredients, I got the cinnamon! I dumped out the cinnamon before I realized what I had, so frantically I scraped as much of the cinnamon off as possible. It wasn't even an option to start over!

I gave the chili extra chili seasoning, as I knew some of that cinnamon soaked in. Then, I got out some applesauce and sprinkled generous cinnamon on top. I set that next to my husband's bowl and hoped he wouldn't notice. Back in those days I was still sensitive about my cooking, so no way would I admit what I'd done.

Hubby took a bite and then put down his spoon. Little did I know I'd married a man who would could discern every ingredient, could taste the difference between Coke and Pepsi, Lay's Potato Chips and Seyfert's. He says to me, "Is there cinnamon in this chili??"

And I'm alarmed but still not wanting to own up to my mistake. I say, "You have cinnamon on your applesauce." (See? Not really lying....) He puts the applesauce on the other side of our table and takes another bite.

"Yup. Tastes like cinnamon. New recipe?"

At that point I broke down. We laugh about it now....

I can't wait to read Dining with Joy! Love stories like that."

See what admitting your mistakes can do? Enter a book contest today! (I'm a happy camper.)Now, to find a good cookie recipe to mix up in my new Rachel Hauck/Thomas Nelson Kitchen Aid mixer so I can eat cookies with my new book.(Check my blog tomorrow for a new cookie recipe.)
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all! Blessings on your writing in 2011.

~Crystal Laine Miller


  1. If I'm not mistaken, I believe Skyline Chili's famous "secret" ingredient is cinnamon, Crystal. Don't quote me on that... We should talk. I have my first book out, if you need another book at add to your collection. Congrats on winning the Kitchen Aid mixer! That's awesome...enjoy! Blessings to you.

  2. Wow, what an awesome prize! I've won a few books in contests, and it makes me keep coming back for more. :)

  3. Like all writers, I'm a book junkie. Although I've won a few after commenting on blogs, some of them are still sitting on my shelf (or my Kindle) waiting for me to get to them. Is it possible to have too much of a good thing?

  4. Yes I have won books on blogs also.
    My first time to have company my gravy was so lumpy Mom helped me bury it in the back yard before the guests got there.