21 July 2009

Interview time...EPIC's Contest chair

The Lyons' Den welcomes Debi Sullivan, chair of EPIC's 11th Annual e-Book Awards. There are a lot of changes this year, and people have questions. In order to offer answers to as many as possible, Debi graciously agreed to this interview.

Q: For ten years, the contest was EPPIE. Now it’s changing its name. Why is that? Will I still be able to call my old finalists/winners EPPIES?

A: Your past award may most certainly be called EPPIE. Due to legalities, it was necessary to change the “name” of EPIC’s Annual EBook Competition.

We are very excited about this change and have EPIC’s members working hard to come up with the perfect name. Yup…I said EPIC Member. There are more advantages to EPIC membership than awesome contacts and information on the publishing industry. We will have something very special for the brilliant EPIC member who comes up with the prefect name for this fabulous competition.

By the way, the new name will be unveiled at the annual EPICon Awards banquet in New Orleans on March 7, 2009.

Aren’t YOU curious? All industry professionals are invited to pull up a chair, to mix and mingle with their peers! It will be exciting!


Q: The eligibility period for this year is Oct 1, 2008 through May 31, 2009. What about my book that came out in Sept of 2008? What about my book that came out in June of 2009? Where do they compete?

A: Honestly, the main reasons behind changing the publication date requirements for this year’s competition were because we had to change our judging time frame. Pinky-swear, that’s the honest truth. Ever tried to get someone to judge anything around the holidays? *lol*

Next year we will be back on course with a full twelve months of eligibility, so June 2009 works are welcome to enter the 2011 EBook competition. Eligibility for the 2011 EPIC EBook Competition will be e-published works from June 1, 2009 through May 31, 2010…so get those manuscripts to your publisher!

Unfortunately, works released for publication in Sept 2008 are ineligible for the 2010 EBook competition as they were included in 2009’s.


Q: I entered the GLBT category last year. This year, I don’t see one. Can I still compete, and if so, where?

A: This year there is NO separate category for GLBT (Gay, Lesbian, Bi- and/or Transexual) works as we’ve changed the competition, making these works all-inclusive for GLBT…and this change will remain so for the future of EPIC’s EBook Competition.

EPIC is a progressive organization and, after much discussion (we ARE honest about how this happened) the membership and Competition Committee came to the realization that sectioning GLBT-character works in a category separate from other categories was similar to separating works containing horses or those mentioning air.

We are comfortable with this long deserved change to our competition and hope our entrants agree.


Q: Can only EPIC members enter the contest?

A: We welcome any author, publisher or editor to enter our competition, as long as the entered work adheres to the rules listed in EPIC’s Competition Guidelines. You can find these, in various formats for viewing ease, at: http://www.epicauthors.com/epicawards.html


Q: Are there any caps on entries...caps for total entries or for individual categories?

A: There are NO caps on entries. We do require, however, a minimum of six (6) entries per category.

Any category that does not meet the minimum entry count will merge with the category most closely matching it (E.g. westerns with westerns, historical with historical, etc. for entries in Romance/Erotic Romance categories) or merged into the Fiction – Mainstream category at the close of entry submissions on Aug 16, 2009.

We ask that entrants choose wisely when placing their works in any categories, as there will be no shifting of categories.


Q: How is the contest judged? Is it peer judged? Is it reader-judged? Do judges read the full book? How many people will see my book?

A: EPIC’s EBook competition is a peer judged contest – peer being authors, editors, publishers, and other industry professional of e- and print. This is not a reader-judged competition, but one designed to offer an award to those deemed superior by their peers.

Our judges DO read the entire book, from front to back, and each entry received a score from no less than three judges in both the first and final rounds.


Q: I write heavily cross-genre. Which category should I enter? I don’t want the judges to mark my book down for being in the wrong one!

A: Our best suggestion would be for you to ask yourself which genre reflects the highest percentage of the work.

Judges take into consideration strong influences from genres other than the “primary” category, however, we do suggest that the entrant - the person who knows the most about that specific work - choose the one category that most strongly represents the work.


Q: It says to click if I have excessive violence content, but what if the judge disagrees and doesn’t think it’s excessive? Will I be marked down?

A: No. There is no marking down for violence of any level, excessive or not.

We ask for this indicator because one person’s response to violence is seldom the same as another’s. This simply offers our judges heads-up to expect more than say a stubbed toe or two. Some judges prefer not to read what they consider extremely violent events. Using the basic standards set by the film industry, we consider extreme violence in the realm of NC-17. If you have heads rolling down hills or a slew of blood and guts, clicking this box makes it possible for us the option to match those preferences where possible.


Q: What if my publisher doesn’t sell PDF? What if they sell PDF but not with cover art in the file?

A: We work with all entrants and investigate every entry link for entry viability.

If your publisher does not sell you work in a PDF format, we will come up with a solution so you can enter your work.

If the work is being entered “as sells”, but has no cover, please indicate this in your entry notes.


Q: How do you change the file name on a PDF?

A: That is a question we are QUITE familiar with. *lol* OK…here you go:

On a PC: Go to the folder where the PDF is located and right-click on the file “name” area. You will see multiple choices. Near the bottom, under Create a Shortcut and Delete, you will see Rename. Highlight Rename and left-click. A text box will open under your PDF file. You can type in the new name. Click anywhere off the text box and, voila!, you have renamed your file.

On a Mac: Find your file and right-click on the file icon and click Get Info. Once the dialogue box is open, delete and retype the file name. Your files is ready to be sent as an attachment.

Another option is to use Adobe: To keep the ARC clean and tidy and create a new PDF, you open the file and use the Save As function under File/Save As. You would label the new document and, once it is saved, you are good to go.

The proper name for your file is:



Q: Why unsecured or non-DRMed PDF? How do I know if mine is unsecured/non-DRMed?

A: You will know if your files is a non-DRM file if you do not have to use a password to open it. Since we have more than one person judging your work, password-protection does not work for us.


Q: But, doesn’t that mean someone can pirate my book entered in EPIC’s contest?

A: The only people who see your entry, outside of the judges, are the entry verifier (who verifies your entry in regards to date published, copyright date, is “as sells” – including cover if required), the Competition and Judging Coordinator checks that the naming convention is correct and your listed link is valid, and me, the Chair, who oversees everything.

As industry professionals, the same as YOU, every EPIC EBook Competition Committee member, coordinator, and judge are just as concerned about violating copyright and industry rights as you would be if placed in the same situation. ALL books are erased from servers and electronic devices at the close of the competition, usually around mid-November (just in case you are wondering).

The repercussions that would result from violating ANY EPIC Competition Coordinating or Judging rules would be far-reaching and none of which would be pretty. I have voodoo dolls and know how to use them!

But, seriously, this is the best competition around.

We offer a wide range of categories, will answer any questions (NO question is too dumb *eg*), and will do our best to keep you updated and informed.


Q: What makes EPIC’s e-Book Contest unique among the industry awards?

A: EPIC's EBook Competition is unique for the patience and understanding (*lol* ) of the Competition Committee, made entirely of e- and print publishing industry professionals who are members of EPIC. This competition has garnered a wonderful reputation with both entrants and judges; a reputation that has exceeded, and which will continue to exceed, even our expectations as we move into the future.

Whether they are Committee members, or competition judges and coordinators, all participants of this competition go out of their way to treat each entrant's submission equally, whether they are a member of EPIC or non-member. Judging is performed by industry peers, both from e- and print. All entrant information and scores are held in utmost security and confidentiality (bribery doesn't work, though it HAS been tried).

We are constantly open to suggestions on improving, streamlining, or modifying EPIC's EBook Competition, going the extra mile to formulate EPIC's competition to reflect the current mores of the industry and e-publishing, listening to both EPIC's membership and entrants - past and future.

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