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This is my first time posting. I have a question and I would like an opinion.

I have decided to self-publish my first novel. I have had no luck finding a publisher or agent. However, the book was a finalist in two well know writing competitions, St. Martins Press' Malice Domestic contest and the Private Eye Writers of America's Best First Private Eye Novel Competition.

My question is, should I include that fact in my blurb or book description?  Will people (and by people I mean potential book buyers) think, "It almost won, so it can't be too bad," or will they think, "Finalist is just another word for loser."?
 

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In answer to the question posed in the title of your thread, in this era of fragile egos, 'finalist' is the sympathetic, non-threatening, PC way of saying you didn't win. See link below.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-K2Yi_y7Y4w

On a serious note, I'd include it. I don't know whether it will garner more credibility with all readers, but as difficult as it is to gain traction for a self-pubbed book in this day and age, I say use any legal, unobnoxious way you can.

Good luck with it.
 

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Gordon, I was also a finalist in the First Private Eye contest, Post Pattern finished in 3rd place. As I'm sure you know, 1st place meant you get published. 3rd place meant you got a nice letter (I think the 2nd place contestant might have won a set of steak knives).

I included the tidbit that my novel was a finalist in the contest on my author page on Amazon. Why? Mostly because I think it sounds good. It is less important than other things, including getting good customer reviews. But I don't see how it could possibly hurt. I don't think anyone would ever consider you a loser for being a finalist. And if the author(s) ahead of you didn't submit anything that year, you would have won.

http://www.amazon.com/David-Chill/e/B00BD9F8AO/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0
 

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Whenever I see someone declare they were a finalist in some contest, I always look up the contest and try something from the person who WON the thing. Not trying to be an ass, but I honestly do that, and I'm probably not the only one. I have become more willing to try the OTHER works, the longer I've been writing, but I still do it, even knowing how subjective judging can be at times.
 

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No reason not to say finalist.  But you should be careful not to hype it.

Remember that most of the readers won't have heard of the competition in question and won't know what it means... and don't actually care. To them it's just a factoid.

I think it used to matter when most of the early promotion we could do was to "indie-savvy" readers who were looking hard for any sign of amateurishness.  I have a collection of previously published (and nominated/finalist) stories that seemed to do better with that mentioned in the blurb 3-4 years ago. Not sure it makes a difference now.

Camille
 

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Perspective-wise, some would argue second place is just the first loser. Those people are pessimists. I consider myself a realist. Sure, being a finalist means you didn't win first place. But how many published author's can use being a finalist in their marketing campaign? Just because you don't win doesn't mean your efforts can't pay off.
 

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First off congrats on being a finalist of two awards.  I have never heard of either award though I do know St Martin's press.

Now as a reader, put it either on your author page or at the bottom of your blurb.    When I am looking for a book, I want to know what the book is about.  Not who liked it or what awards it got or almost got.
If I see finalist in the St Martin's press Malice Domestic contest on the first line of a blurb, I will not get that book.  Sounds like bragging and nothing about the actual book.
 
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A lot of the finalists on American Idol end up doing better than the winners.

Assuming it is a legitimate competition, becoming a finalist is a pretty big deal. I mean, when my author Kevin Wallis had one of his stories named an Honorable Mention in Ellen Datlow's annual best new horror anthology, I was a proud mama. Because I have a huge amount of respect for her, and she reads thousands of submissions a year. So even making it into the Honorable Mentions is an achievement.

The only time I would say not to is if it is one of those award mills, where everyone is called a "nominee" by virtue of the fact that they paid the $79 entry fee and all of the "finalists" paid for the gold stickers.
 

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Gordon Hopkins said:
This is my first time posting. I have a question and I would like an opinion.

I have decided to self-publish my first novel. I have had no luck finding a publisher or agent. However, the book was a finalist in two well know writing competitions, St. Martins Press' Malice Domestic contest and the Private Eye Writers of America's Best First Private Eye Novel Competition.

My question is, should I include that fact in my blurb or book description? Will people (and by people I mean potential book buyers) think, "It almost won, so it can't be too bad," or will they think, "Finalist is just another word for loser."?
I would love, love, love to be a finalist. If you don't include it, can I? :)
 

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My own position on this matter should be pretty clear since I put the Finalist sticker on the cover of my Book 1 and mention it in my blurb. It certainly doesn’t hurt your reputation when your book does well in a contest even if it doesn’t win.
But in the end, how a book did in a contest (whether it made finalist or semi-finalist or even if it won first place) is just a touch of icing on the cake, and should not dominate the book’s pitch. As such, it should never be before the blurb in the book description.
I would say the same with review quotes. There is a section for editorial reviews, but sometimes you see quotes from non-editorial reviews included in the book description along with the blurb. That’s fine to me, but again, they should be put after the actual blurb.
Readers, first and foremost, want to know what the book is about, not what other people thought of it.
 
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