Thursday, October 9, 2014

Movers & Shakers - The Wishing Shelf Book Awards - Billy Bob Buttons

Aspiring Self Published Authors be warned: You will read lots of articles about how the Self Publishing world is changing, evolving, and it is, the thing is it is only changing because some people have taken it by the scruff and physically dragged it forward. Make no mistake, it still has a long way to travel before it can realistically be classed as anywhere near an equal to the well established publishing houses, and old school Editor/Publisher network - but the journey is underway.

Momentum has been built upon the initiatives. efforts and sacrifice of those that have gone before.

One such person that has taken the industry by the proverbial horns is Edward Trayer - Who? I hear you ask, and this comes as no surprise. Edward Trayer is Billy Bob Buttons, an author of  Childrens and YA books such as The Gullfoss Legends, (A Rubery Award finalist), Felicity Brady and the Wizard's Bookshop, (UK People Book Prize runner-up), TOR Assassin Hunter and TOR Wolf Rising. 

Married to Theresa, they have twin girls, and by the look of this picture it is easy to see why he is so motivated to write such great childrens books..

But writing great stories wasn't enough for Ed - as part of the Indie Revolution he decided to do something about the status quo, to step up and pioneer a whole new concept in the world of Authordom - fairness.

Here, in his own words, is what happened:-

My Book Awards
Fun to Run? Or a Total and Utter Nightmare?

Four years ago I set up The Wishing Shelf Book Awards. Why? Well, I was upset with all the other book awards open to self-published and independently published authors. I felt they were a rip-off. I remember, I was a finalist in one award and they didn’t even bother to tell me. Then, in another award I did very, VERY well and all they were interested in was selling me dodgy winner stickers at a crazy, inflated price. Then there was the feedback I got from the Writer’s Digest Award. It was a joke. It was 19 (yes, 19!) words long and congratulated me on writing a wonderful adult book set in France. IT WAS A CHILDREN’S BOOK SET IN A MAGIC BOOKSHOP!!!
So I went for a walk…
I went for a walk and decided in amongst the tall chestnut trees to set up my own book award. And that, my fellow authors, is what I did.
But it had to be different. Much, much different to what was on offer at present. So I thought to myself, what do I want from a book award? Well, I want the organisers to see me, actually see me – and my book. I don’t just want to be a ‘$’ sign or a ‘£’ sign to them. Also, I want to get ‘value for money’ so, even if I don’t win, I want to get feedback from the judging. And, finally, I don’t want to pay lots of money to enter.
So, from this, I set up The Wishing Shelf Book Awards (
Over the last four years, it has grown. Wow! How it’s grown. In the first year we had 42 authors and publishers enter. This year it will be closer to 200! Now we have a very interactive Facebook page where the authors and publishers can discuss the award and how best to run it. Now we provide ALL the authors who enter a catchy quote to help them to market their books. Now we post reviews – based on the feedback – on Amazon and Goodreads. Now we actively support Blind Children UK, helping them to produce books for children with sight problems. Now we have over twenty schools and two adult reading groups (1 in London, 1 in Stockholm) helping us to judge the books. Now we send every author who enters feedback of between 400 – 1,500 words based on the readers’ comments. They look at the cover, the content, the editing and the style. We even provide the authors with statistics e.g. How many of the readers would read another book by this author etc, etc.
So now, my tiny award is a bit of a monster and is taking more and more of my time. Is it fun? Yes, most of the time. I only upset the odd author! In fact, most of the time it is very rewarding and our reputation on and off the web is ‘glowing’. Don’t get me wrong. We do mess up. This year, for example, it is taking too long to get all the feedback to the authors. So, next year, I’m employing help. The Wishing Shelf Awards will actually have a member of staff! An ex-primary school head teacher who will help me to correlate all the feedbacks. It’s all very exciting.
But do you know what the best bit is? The very, VERY best bit. Twice now, one of the US-based awards I hate has attempted to buy my small awards. And I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed telling them to go to…well, you know where. Now THAT was fun!
Edward Trayer

Edward Trayer, writing under the pen name Billy Bob Buttons is the author of Rubery Book Award finalist 'Felicity Brady and the Wizard's Bookshop' the much-loved 'The Gullfoss Legends' and People's Book Prize runner-up 'TOR Assassin Hunter' and 'TOR Wolf Rising'. His latest book, 'I Think I Murdered Miss, won the 2014 UK People's Book Prize. He is also the organiser of The Wishing Shelf Book Awards.
My thanks to Ed for agreeing to 'guest blog' here on Wilsons Way! But also for all of his efforts in bringing the WSA to us. Personally, long may you remain custodian of the WSA.

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