Are you a Self-Improvement Author? Then Check Out The Books for a Better Life Award


If you’re just starting out and trying to get some buzz as an author, then submitting your book to different reputable awards and competitions can be a great way to get some recognition for your efforts. Even if you don’t win or place at all, competing in these contests might just get you even more motivated to work on your book and think about it in a critical way!

One of the best things about book awards is there’s one for practically every category or genre of book — including self-help and inspirational books, which are huge in the nonfiction self-publishing world. In fact, the deadline for one of the first ever self-improvement book awards to ever exist is coming up soon! It’s called the Books for a Better Life Awards, and over the past 18 years it’s honored over 600 authors and raised more than $1.9 million to research cures and treatment for multiple sclerosis.

Want to hear more? Here’s the official press release

The 18th Annual Books for a Better Life Awards hosted by Meredith Vieira are pleased to recognize Mark Bittman and Richard Pine along with special guests Arianna Huffington and Lee Woodruff on March 10, 2014, at the TimesCenter in NY. Net proceeds will benefit The National Multiple Sclerosis Society.


The Awards are now accepting submissions with a 2013 copyright date in the following ten categories: Childcare/Parenting, Cookbook, First Book, Green, Inspirational Memoir, Motivational, Psychology, Relationships, Spiritual and Wellness. For complete details, please visit


 The deadline to submit books for consideration is Tuesday, October 15th, 2013. Finalists will be announced in November at and winners will be made public at the event in March.


For complete details on our submissions process, DOWNLOAD THE ENTRY GUIDELINES HERE and to submit books please DOWNLOAD AN ENTRY FORM. 


Questions? Please contact  Jenny Powers at

If you’re interested, you can also find out more at the Books for a Better Life website here.

Interested in learning more about book awards? Do you know of any awards coming up that you’d like to recommend? Drop a line in the comments below, or at And be sure to let us know if you decide to submit your book to the Books for a Better Life Award! We always love hearing from our blog readers in the BookWorks community.


More About Using Goodreads: “My Books”


Two weeks ago we taught you how to sign up for Goodreads and create your own account using the Author Program. However, to get the most out of your Goodreads profile, you have to be able to use it as a reader as well. Otherwise everyone will think you’re only interested in promoting yourself without actually getting involved in the community!

The easiest and best way you can use your Goodreads account to the fullest is by reviewing the books you’ve read. We showed you what the front page looked like last time around — now let’s take a look at the “My books” tab.

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The left side of the screen lists all the different bookshelves on which your book reviews are listed. Originally you start out with “read,” “currently reading,” and “to read,” but you can also create your own by clicking on “add shelf” below. I like to categorize mine by genre, though I also have several shelves to delineate the books I read in high school and college.

To add a new book to one of your shelves, go to the top search bar where you can input a title, author, or ISBN.

Screen Shot 2013-09-17 at 1.08.27 AM You should come up with a search results page that looks like this:

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Now, if you want to, you can add a book to your bookshelf right here by clicking on the “Want to read” button. Clicking that will automatically add it to your “to-read” shelf, but you can also move it to whichever shelf you want using the button to the right. You can also add a quick 1 to 5 star review here, if you’d like.

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But what if you’ve already read the book you’re adding and you want to write up an elaborate review to share with friends and other likeminded readers? The easiest way to do that is by clicking on the title of the book in question to access its individual page,, and editing a review from there.

If you scroll down at that page, you’ll find this:

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Clicking “edit review” will take you here:

Screen Shot 2013-09-17 at 1.18.12 AMFrom here you can choose shelves, change the edition that you’re reviewing, edit the date that you finished the book, and write your review. The more reviews you write, the more you’ll be able to share your views with other Goodreads users, and the better your reputation will be as a reader and writer. When you add and review more books, you’ll also get better recommendations using the Goodreads “recommendation” engine. Just don’t spend so much time writing reviews that you forget to write your own book!

Top 5 Productivity Apps to Help Writers Get Motivated

Sorry there’s no new content this week! To tide you over until next week, here’s another older one from our archives that shows you how to get motivated as a writer. We hope you like it!


You could have the fanciest word processing app on the market, but as anyone who’s currently working on their NaNoWriMo piece can tell you, it’s often tough to face the blank page and even tougher to keep your thoughts and words going once you’ve started. While it always helps to have an outline, sometimes you need a little more help getting motivated. That’s where these applications and programs all come in — some are silly, some are a little more soothing, but they were all created to get you out of your slump!

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Understanding the basics of Copyright

Copyright is a big deal, so you need to know how to navigate it! Check out this introduction to the subject, which we posted earlier this year in February.


imagesLike any other system of laws or regulations, “copyright” is a nebulous, often confusing structure for even the most well-informed legal minds. Now that the internet’s made it harder to track the origins of certain intellectual properties, it can be difficult to know your rights as a creator and feel protected. That’s why today we’ll be discussing some of the most basic aspects of copyright that you’ll need to know in order to self-publish your work.

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An In-Depth Look at how to Create a Facebook Page for your Book or Self-Publishing Career

On Wednesday we showed you how to sign up for Goodreads. From the BookWorks vault, here’s a post showing you how to sign up for Facebook. Take it from us — you’ll be a Social Media expert in no time!


We’ve received some great feedback about our recent look at the ins and outs of navigating social media, but many of you requested some more complex information about each website we featured. Well don’t worry, we’ve heard your cries, and we’re here to help! Today we’ll be taking a look at how to create and manage a successful Facebook page for your book, from start to finish.

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A Closer Look at Goodreads: Signing Up and Creating Author Profiles

Have you heard about the Kindle Paperwhite? Unlike other eReaders on the market, his brand new Kindle has a button to access Goodreads built right into its browser.


Goodreads is becoming more and more vital to understand as both a writer and an avid reader.

So how do you sign up? What should you look out for? Here we cover the basics of what it’s like to create an account on Goodreads. Pretty soon you’ll be reviewing books with the best of ’em!

Signing In

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Good news for those of us who have multiple social media accounts — it’s very easy to use your Facebook, Google+, or Twitter account to create a new account for Goodreads without having to remember a new password. I have my account synced to Facebook so all my friends can see the books I’m reading and the reviews I’ve written.

If you prefer to create a separate account for Goodreads, however, it’s easy to do that as well. All you need to do is supply your name, e-mail address and a password on the homepage.

Front Page.

Here’s what the homepage looks like after you’ve logged in — you can see what your friends are reading and reviewing, as well as the number of books that you’ve current read and rated.

Screen Shot 2013-09-03 at 11.47.16 PMClicking on “My Books” will take you to where you can list the books you’ve read on multiple different shelves. On “Groups,” you can look through different book clubs and other group pages to meet new people and discuss your favorite books. The “Recommendations” bar will suggest new books for you to read based on what you’ve already read and rated, and “Explore” shows you new releases, new reviews, and featured works by Goodreads authors.

Author Program.

Now here’s the part you really care about — the author program! Unfortunately there’s no straightforward way to sign up to become a Goodreads author right out of the gate. Instead, you have to wait until your book first appears on Goodreads (you can also add it yourself — check back next week to learn how to do this!) and go to the bottom of the author profile that’s been created for you. It will look like this:

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To reach this image, you have to click on the small “edit data” button to the left of your author profile. It will look like this:

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Once you’ve signed on as an official Goodreads author, you’ll be able to add your blog to your profile so that your followers and readers will be notified on Goodreads when you post something new. You can also post information about upcoming events that you’ll be attending as well.

Remember, people don’t like to think that you’re using a social media just to market yourself, so be sure that you actually use the Goodreads services! Add books to your shelves and leave reviews for your favorite titles. You might choose to create a shelf filled with books that inspire you to show your fans where you got your ideas from, or you might choose to engage your readers through groups or other Goodreads pages. Have fun with it. After all, it’s a free service that’s all about books — what could be better than that?

Any questions about what we should focus on in our next Goodreads post? Let us know in the comments below!

Also: Remember the article that Betty Sargent wrote for Publishers Weekly Select, which we mentioned from last week? It’s now up on the Publishers Weekly website and has been getting a lot of great buzz. Check our her post about using video as a self-publisher, entitled “Seeing is Believing.” You’ll be glad you did!

How to Format the Interior of Your Book

Over the past year we have written a lot of tutorials on all kinds of different topics for you. Now that we have such a huge backlog, we’d like to feature one of our most celebrated posts once a week to show new followers what you might have been missing! Here’s a piece we did on book interiors that should be very informative for those who are interested in the full DIY experience. We hope it’s helpful!


1397558_pagesRemember when you were still in high school and every teacher had a different rubric for how exactly your academic papers were supposed to look? Your name went in the upper right corner — unless it went in the upper left — and if you didn’t do it the right way you got points off regardless of the quality of your paper “because you didn’t listen to instructions.” If you’re young enough to have used word processing in the classroom, as I was, then there were even morerules – it had to be times new roman size 12 with 1 inch margins on all edges, and if that wasn’t the default setting on your computer and you didn’t check before you handed it in, you got points off!

Well, sad news, folks – just because you’re not being graded on your writing anymore does not mean that formatting doesn’t…

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