What it means to be nominated for the Carnegie

By Abiola Bello, co-founder of The Author School

Emily Knight I am…Awakened is nominated for the Carnegie Award 2019

Being nominated for the CILIP’s Carnegie Award 2019 is such a huge honour! Fellow nominee, Siobhan Curham wrote it the best way on Twitter. She said, ‘It is the only award that you feel like you’ve won just by being nominated.’ Facts, girl.

I remember seeing on Twitter last year that they wanted to make the awards more diverse and were asking for people to recommend authors. My friend and fellow writer, Eden Royce, tweeted that I should be included. Thanks again Eden!

Everyone knows how I feel about diversity and inclusion in books, so for the oldest book awards for children to honour that and actively nominate authors who are shouting about diversity, shows that the publishing industry is changing.

This award means a lot to me because I taught myself the publishing industry over the years. I learnt how to publish a book, publish other people’s books, get PR and have affordable events for writers—basically getting my voice heard. All this without the backing of any publishing house and minimal support.

That’s why when I won the Trailblazer Award (London Book Fair) 2018, something I never in thought I would win, it was such a big deal to me because my journey has been very different to others. So now, for my book, which I originally wrote at the age of 14, which has had countless ‘offers’, I was feeling so frustrated because I just wanted to release my next book. To have this happen to Emily Knight I am… Awakened, under Hashtag Press, which a still new, very small publishing house is HUGE!

The nominee list is crazy good. Some of my favourite authors and books are on the list. Seeing Emily Knight amongst them makes my heart feel so full. I mean, we all want to win! But I can definitely toast myself for getting nominated…

I am regularly asked; how can I get recognition for my books? Trust me, if there was a magic formula, I would bottle it up and sell it! All I can say is: be consistent regardless of what happens. Easier said then done— I know! I got the email about Carnegie nomination on Monday but the Saturday before that, I was feeling very sorry for myself and frustrated. I just wanted to do more!

I wrote a list of more ideas that I could do to build awareness about my books, and me as an author and business women (with zero spare time but something I knew I would have to find). Then, Monday comes along, I am nominated for CILIP Carnegie 2019, and suddenly all is well.

Keep pressing on. Don’t watch what anyone else is doing, just stay in your lane and be consistent. Trust me, it always pays off.

You’re still not sure? Well, come to An afternoon with The Author School on the 21st Jan. I’ll be there to share stories and offer advice!

Book here

Helen AbiolaComment