You’ve finished your novel and published the dang thing, and sales are starting to roll in. Your mind turns toward large checks and your second novel.
But before you do, there’s one more thing. The honors and awards you so richly deserve!
The world of Western novels has a variety of awards and honors that you can apply for and perhaps even win. In previous blog posts, I have mentioned the Western Writers of America (WWA) and Western Fictioneers, arguably the two most prestigious and valuable organizations in the world for Western writers, novice and old pro — which is why their awards are probably the most prestigious you can win.
WWA has the Spur Awards. There are 20 different categories that are available to you. A quick trip to their website will give you the details on the categories and the submission process. Perhaps the one that will be most appealing, maybe even get your heart racing, is: Best First Novel. Simple category title, but one made just for you. It may very well be that one or more of the other 19 categories are appropriate as well, so be sure to review in detail.
Western Fictioneers has their own set of awards, which they call the Peacemaker Awards. I was absolutely thrilled to have “Coyote Courage” named as a finalist for Best First Western Novel (though I lost out to a better book), and it’s an honor I will cherish. Western Fictioneers has only four categories: Best Western Novel, Best Western YA/Children’s Fiction, Best Western Short Fiction and Best Western First Novel.
The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum has their Western Heritage Awards, including a Literary section, which has a Western Novel category.
There are a variety of other awards available to you from different groups around the country. I have focused on awards that are issued primarily (or exclusively) for Westerns, but there are many, many other awards available for first-time novelists, regardless of genre. Here’s a list of Western-focused options to get you started …
High Plains Book Awards
Western Writers of America
Western Heritage Award
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
Will Rogers Award
Academy of Western Artists
The WILLA Literary Award
LAURA Short Fiction Award
Women Writing the West
Chanticleer Book Reviews
Note: This one requires an entry fee
I wish you good writing, and if you have a question or something you’d like to share, send me an email at [email protected].
Thank you, enjoy and keep writing!