Monday, May 20, 2013

New Voices Young Writers

Once again, Larry and I will help judge the New Voices Young Writer's Competition™ this year. Here is some information about the contest.

EPIC, The Electronic Publishing Industry Coalition, established the New Voices Young Writer's Competition™ in 2006 to encourage reading and writing in public, private, and home-based schools. EPIC is a leader in electronic publishing with a global membership consisting of published authors, publishers, editors, cover artists, and other industry professionals. Literacy is extremely close to the hearts of EPIC members.

Young writers, ages 11 through 18, are invited to enter their essays, poems, and short stories. The response has grown each year. New Voices is truly an international competition, with entries coming from Bulgaria, Canada, China, India, Japan, South Africa, the United States, the United Kingdom...just to name a few!

New Voices inspires young writers and poets to spread their wings, to allow their dreams to become reality. Our no-cost global writing competition is open to students attending private, public, or home schools. Our intention is to encourage young authors by offering the opportunity to showcase their work and receive positive encouragement from industry and educational professionals, and to enlighten and educate students, as well as their parents/guardians and the education system, about ebooks and the e-publishing industry.

Each entrant receives feedback from professionals from both the electronic and print publishing industry, including teachers and librarians. The judges offer constructive criticism and encouragement. The very best entries are included in the annual New Voices Anthology.

All entries and correspondence are handled through email and an online entry form. We use secure storage for entries and scanned signature authorizations as a safeguard. Only the most basic information is shared with judges.

The New Voices Young Writer's Competition™ has earned the highest respect from the entrants and the educational community. Free downloads of past years' anthologies may be found on the New Voices anthology page.

EPIC is proud of every student who has entered our competition and we look forward to many more years of new and innovative work from our global artists!
Our children are not only the readers and writers of the future;
they are the VOICES of the future.
EPIC has given that voice a place and time.
Here is that place.
Now is their time.

For more information about New Voices young Writers, see the website at:

Monday, May 13, 2013

The EPIC eBook Awards are Coming!

This week I'm interviewing EPIC's fearless eBook Award Competition Chair, Debi Sullivan.

Disclaimer: Several of our books have finaled in this contest, and one, Directions of Love, won. I have had the privilege of presenting the award at several EPICon conferences.

Debi, you have been managing this contest for quite a few years (akin to herding cats). How long have you taken on this challenge?

I initially volunteered to work behind the scenes and started out as a judge, moved to category judge coordinator, then inherited *grin* the Competitions Chair position in 2007. At the time, I was already the New Voices Young Writers Chair, which made for a VERY chaotic and wacky first year as EPIC’s overall Competitions Chair.

What are the biggest challenges you face?

Entrants following the rules; doesn’t matter if they are young or old, folks just don’t pay attention to the details. *sigh* Best suggestion I can give any entrant: Read the RULES! *grin*

How does a book qualify for entry?

Any English-language ebook published and available for sale to the public between June 1, 2012 and May 31, 2013 is eligible for this year’s contest.

How many entries do you usually receive, and how many awards are presented?

We usually average 700 entries within a four-week period. The numbers of awards we present vary as we constantly update the current categories to reflect genres within the electronic industry and past entries. This year we are offering 24 categories for the eBook Competition and 11 categories for the Ariana eBook Cover Art Competition.

How do you recruit judges? Who is eligible?

I am blessed to have a loyal group of volunteers who step up every year, for both the eBook and New Voices Young Writers competitions. But we can always use more. For eBook, we seek published authors, publishers, and/or editors; for New Voices, we add teachers and librarians to that mix.

What makes this award different from other writing competitions out there?

EPIC's eBook Competition has garnered a reputation for excellence from both entrants and judges, a reputation that continues to shine as we move into the future. I am extremely proud to know that I play an integral part in the progressive changes to our competitions.

What do the winners receive? How about the finalists?

Our eBook and Ariana competition finalists receive gorgeous certificates and are prominently posted on our website. The category winners receive stunning trophies and are honored at our annual EPICon ( awards banquet before being announced on our website.

What is EPICon, for those who don’t already know?

EPICon is EPIC’s annual convention. It is three days chock full of marvelous and informative workshops reflecting the current needs of the industry, both electronic and print. You never know who will be there—whether it is a well-known author or the latest marketing/promo guru and/or agent. It is the perfect venue to mingle with publishing peers. And there is so much going on that there is sure to be something for everyone.

Can only members attend EPICon?

Any industry member, aspiring writer, or reader is welcome. I would definitely suggest checking to learn about the fabulous events scheduled for March 2014. And it is taking place in one of my favorite cities—San Antonio, Texas! What’s not to love about cowboys, ghosts (the Menger Hotel is chockfull!), the Alamo, the Riverwalk, great food, the Reader eFiesta, door prizes, and incredible workshops?

When does the contest begin this year?

Both the eBook and Ariana eBook Cover Art Competitions open for entries on June 1, 2013.

Where can authors get more information?

There are links to all our competitions at

Thank you so much for all the good information, Debi! Next week, we’ll hear about the exciting New Voices/Young Writers program.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Learn About EPIC, the Electronic Publishing Industry Coalition

This week, I am interviewing the president of EPIC, the Electronic Publishing Internet Coalition, Betty Kasischke.

Disclaimer: Larry and I have been members of EPIC since2005 and have learned a great deal about the publishing industry from the group.

Betty, tell me a little about how EPIC came about and its history:

First, thanks, Lorna and Larry, for giving me this opportunity to talk about one of my favorite subjects.

EPIC began in 1997 with a small group of 11 romance writers who wanted to learn more about emerging electronic publishing industry. At first, that group shared their information among themselves. As the industry grew, and as people continued to greet talk about ebooks with, "A what?" we decided that we could do more if we incorporated, established a website and started really promoting the industry.

The next big thing was establishing the eBook Awards (then called "EPPIE") and an annual conference, EPICon. The first EPICon was held in Omaha, Nebraska in August 2000, and our very first EPPIEs were presented that weekend.

As the years have passed the eBook Awards, the longest-standing awards for ebooks, has grown and earned an enviable reputation. But our Competitions Chair, Debi Sullivan will tell you more about all EPIC's competitions later.

We remained a published authors' organization until 2003, when we opened our membership to publishers and other industry professionals. This gave us more of an industry focus, rather than an author focus. This makes EPIC unique.

Since then, we've changed our name to reflect that new focus, EPIC, the Electronic Publishing Industry Coalition. EPICon also has a greater emphasis on industry topics.

Who can join EPIC?

Our membership is open to published authors, publishers, editors, artists, and booksellers. Other industry professionals are also eligible on a case-by-case basis. Our membership criteria and application are available on our website:

What are EPIC's activities?

Our major organizational focus is education and sharing information. We love to share news about the ePublishing industry, so much of the information is available to the public on our website. We will continue to expand these resources.

Our major activities are the eBook Awards and EPICon. These celebrate the industry and give us and those who participate the opportunity to spread the word.

EPIC sponsors the New Voices Young Writers Competition. Every year, our members participate as judges and we sponsor the prizes that the talented winners receive, including the publication of the winning entries in a print anthology. We maintain the New Voices Young Writers website and are in the process of creating a forum where kids can safely learn about writing and learn from their peers and publishing professionals.

EPIC is also creating partnerships with companies to get discounts for our members of valuable services.

All our work is done by volunteers, and I'm very proud of all of them.

How can industry professionals join the organization? What is the cost?

EPIC membership is $30 per year. Our membership qualifications and application are on our website.

What else would you like to say about the organization?

As a founding member of EPIC, I'm very proud of our history and our vision. The members of EPIC are generous and willing to share their experiences and knowledge. Some of the most lasting friendships I've made have been in EPIC.
It's a great place to be!

Thanks for being here with me. EPIC has been an important part of our journey as authors, and we’ve made many friends over the years among it members. We always recommend EPIC membership to our friends who are e-published.