New Cozy Mystery Award


June 18, 2022

MWA has announced the Lilian Jackson Braun Award for contemporary cozy mysteries. It’s gratifying that the cozy subgenre has finally been recognized by Mystery Writers of America. Ever since I’ve been a member, the Edgars have leaned toward serious crime fiction. Conferences such as Malice Domestic, Killer Nashville, and Left Coast Crime offered cozy writers a chance to win their own awards.

Books submitted for the Lilian Jackson Braun Award must be at least 65,000 words and be published by a traditional MWA-approved publisher in the year prior to the award. The story must feature an amateur sleuth in a setting with a sense of community, a lighthearted tone, and a crime to solve. Historical mysteries are not eligible.

While I applaud this recognition for the cozy mystery genre by our national organization, I yearn for the day that MWA also accepts indie published books into their contest. Fortunately, there are other competitions that indie authors can enter. Usually, these require an ISBN number and may ask for a publisher name, but they don’t distinguish between trad published and self-published titles. The Alliance of Independent Authors puts out a good list.

Do readers look for the publisher’s name when considering which book to buy? Or are peer reviews, the storyline, writing style, and price more important? How about contest wins? The well-known awards naturally garner more attention and respect, but how about first place wins at other sites? Do these influence readers in any way? What do you think?

Also see my previous post on Writing Contests for Published Authors.

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