Thursday, April 15, 2021

Do Contests Matter?

Should the winner medal from the Killer Nashville Claymore Award contest go on the cover of The Body in the Beaver Pond? That was one of the many questions my cover artist and I discussed as I prepared for the release of the novel. 

Cathy Perkins wins Killer Nashville award

As Dar and I chatted, I wondered, do writing contest even matter?

Authors know how competitive the contests are, but do readers care? Let me know what you think in the comments.

Of course, there are the other reasons authors (or their publicists) enter. Little secret – we’re incredibly insecure! Think about it. We’re putting ourselves “out there” for the world to critique. We’re sharing pieces of the deepest parts of us. And we worry all the time that maybe our books are actually terrible and any previous “success” was a fluke. Maybe a contest offers a tiny bit of affirmation, that says, Yeah. This is good.

Then again, that may be more than most readers need or want to know.

While I’ve had a great time writing this novel and look forward to the release, I decided to add a layer to my usual low key launch plans. I decided to make the release about all of you.

Nearly everyone knows friends or family who’ve lost loved ones, jobs, nearly lost their home, and faced a host of other challenges this year.

The Body in the Beaver Pond touches on many of these challenges, offering a tangible (if somewhat snarky) perspective from Keri, as she struggles to adjust after loosing her marriage, home and job. (And for an extra writing challenge – the book is funny!)

Now that I have a funny main character I hope people relate to, I need a place to make all this happen. (Imaginary) Liberty Falls is drawn from a number of small towns in Washington state’s Cascade Mountains. Lingering economic inequities, the pandemic, life throwing curve balls – all this hurt many people, especially in these smaller, rural areas where social services are few and far between. As a result, I’m donating the royalties from presales (and the first few months of sales) from The Body in the Beaver Pond to HopeSource, a multi-purpose agency, which serves Kittitas County (the first county you discover when you venture over Snoqualmie Pass from Seattle.)

I’d appreciate your help in getting the word out about both the book and the donation. 

Get your presale copy and help me help our friends and neighbors -


An award-winning author of financial mysteries, Cathy Perkins writes twisting dark suspense and light amateur sleuth stories.  When not writing, she battles with the beavers over the pond height or heads out on another travel adventure. She lives in Washington with her husband, children, several dogs and the resident deer herd.  Visit her at or on Facebook 

Sign up for her new release announcement newsletter in either place.

She's hard at work on Peril in the Pony Ring, the sequel to The Body in the Beaver Pond, releasing May 2021!) which was recently presented with the Killer Nashville's Claymore Award. 


  1. Good morning and thank you for the great question. I DO think contests matter - to those who enter. I'm not a runner, but I go to races and watch the runners crossing the finish line. To them, crossing the finish line matters, and they didn't quit just because there were runners crossing the line ahead of them, just as a contest matters to me when I enter my book. For me, it gives a sense of accomplish and a sense of hope (I might place, I might win, I might gain a loyal reader or two). On the flip side, I don't agree with giving trophies for participation, and when I enter anything with a possible prize, I do it with the understanding that I won't win. I learned a very valuable lesson from a doctor with whom I used to work. He did a few triathlons each year. After one, I asked him, "Did you win?" He answered, "No, but I finished." There are times when that in itself is a winning trophy. We should always push ourselves to be better, to improve, contests allow for that.

  2. What a perfect analogy! (Did you know I'm also a runner? And I'm definitely running marathons for the accomplishment, not to win.) You captured the important part about writing contests - challenge yourself to be a better writer.


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