The Gittle List 2014 received 63% more entries this year! Last year, 60 direct submissions were received and 40 books that I reviewed during 2013 were also considered. This year, 95 entries were received. I have considered only direct submissions this year.
First, let me say that it takes guts to enter your book into a contest. You are asking someone to judge your work. No one likes to be judged. But most of us want to know what others think about our work. That said, my method is completely subjective. Why? Because what makes a person buy your book is completely subjective. That’s how it works in the real world.
I will let you in on a secret: I am not swayed by bells and whistles. Some authors were concerned that by sending me the PDF version of their book, I would not get the full “experience” of clickable glossaries and optional audio. Others wanted to send the print version because they felt that seeing the full-page illustrations and touching the pages would give me a fuller reading experience.
But I focus on two things in this order: story and illustrations. That’s it. I will admit to enjoying the experience of holding a printed book – sometimes. There are some books that just sing in print. But, in order for a book to land on The Gittle List, I must love the story and feel that the illustrations do a good job of supporting that story. In other words, great illustrations without a good story will never trump a great story with sufficient illustrations. I can hear artists around the world screaming in frustration.
There are reasons a book is not selected. I will write a separate article on this topic.
Let us celebrate! Our joyous holiday season where we get together with friends and family, exchange our love and our gifts; some bought, some baked, some inedible, but forged with our own hands. During this time, I hope that The Gittle List 2014: Top 10 Self-published Children’s Picture Books are read, enjoyed, and appreciated by the little ones we hold so dear.
Aviva Gittle writes and publishes children’s books in English and Spanish. She is a passionate self-publisher and hosts an annual contest, The Gittle List, to select the best of self-published children’s picture books. Aviva is the author of several books, including the Kitten and Friends series.