Amazon’s literary contest is back again for the fourth time this year, with a great service and even greater opportunities for indie authors in India. Join us in congratulating this year’s KDP Contest winners in the long-format and short-format categories across the three languages. Celebrating the work of self-published authors across genres, the contest invites English as well as Hindi and Tamil authors. As always, the contest encourages new writings and fresh ideas to reach readers anywhere in the world.
The entries were judged on the basis of several criteria including originality, creativity, and quality of writing. The judging panel comprised best-selling authors, Durjoy Datta, Anand Neelakantan, Divya Prakash Dubey, Anu Singh Chaudhary, Charu Nivedita and C. Saravanakartikeyan across English, Hindi and Tamil languages.
Ever since its launch, the Kindle Direct Publishing or KDP service has been running the annual KDP Pen to Publish Contest to facilitate the work of self-published authors.
1#Winner of the English long-format: Apeksha Rao (Alisha Kay)
This Homoeopath turned full-time writer, based out of Bangalore, had dabbled in young adult spy thrillers on KDP before penning her award-winning romance titled, The Maharaja's Fake Fiancée. Speaking of her first-time experience of participating in the KDP Pen to Publish Contest, Alisha Kay née Apeksha Rao says, “It was wonderful! My book got a lot of visibility when it was displayed in the list of entries. Being selected as a finalist is definitely a dream come true. [This win] will be a wonderful feather in my cap.”
2#Winner of the Hindi long-format: Deepti Mittal
Another first-time participant of the KDP Pen to Publish Contest, Deepti is a homemaker from Pune. Believe it or not, it was an online KDP Pen to Publish Contest ad that had initially piqued Deepti’s interest and led her to write her first novel. “It was because of the KDP service that my novel reached out to maximum readers, which was very encouraging. I look forward to writing more novels on KDP,” she promises. Her winning title, "Oye! Maastar ke Launde", is an engaging story for children.
3#Winner of the Tamil long-form: Sreenivasan (Araathu)
Although not a full-time author, this business man from Chennai has already completed more than a dozen works in Tamil. An established author on Kindle, this was Sreenivasan’s (penname, Aaraathu) first time on the KDP Pen to Publish Contest. His winning title on KDP for this year’s contest was, "Open Panna". Aaraathu’s advice to budding authors is, “Write, write, write. Don’t worry about publishers or of publishing your book when you begin, but write online and gain readers first. Be sure about your creativity and the originality of your work. Also ask yourself this question: ‘a lot of writers are already out there, why should I write?’” Definitely good advice, we think!
4#Winner of the English short-format: Vijay Kakwani
The Unusual Bond: A grave doesn't judge. It just listens, is the book that landed Vijay Kakwani the winning award in this category for the second year in a row. Will this SVP (Senior Vice President) of operations at a media services conglomerate do a hattrick next year? We would like to believe so, after all, this Mumbaikar describes himself as, “…a part sponge and a full believer!’. Speaking of his experience of participating in the contest, he says, “The experience was undoubtedly exhilarating. The contest draws entries from hundreds of authors, and with such beautiful stories flying in from all across, it makes the competition a tough one. The regular ranking that Amazon provides to individual books, makes it a nail-biting experience wherein one regularly tracks downloads and accordingly pushes the promotions of the book. This contest has definitely made me realize that apart from writing a great story, marketing your book well is equally important. From that perspective, the contest prepares authors who want to take up writing as a profession.”
5#Winner of the Hindi short-format: Chandra Bhanu Solanki
Chandra Bhanu’s engaging short work of fiction, Faltu ka Kaagaz, won him the award in this category this year. This freelancer from Bhopal has proved once again that you don’t need to be a full-time author to be a successful one! “The Pen to Publish Contest gives everyone a chance to start from scratch. You don't need to be a regular writer, and the publishing process is easy enough to motivate you. It was a fantastic experience,” he shares. Talking about how KDP supported his dream of becoming a writer, Chandra Bhanu says, “I always wanted to publish my stories, but I was afraid of the lengthy process of publishing a book. KDP just gave me what I needed, support and an easy process. I am a writer now. I just wrote my story and published it.”
6#Winner of the Tamil short-format: Sasikala Murugesan (Srikala)
Having penned and published more than 40 books, Sasikala Murugesan (penname, Srikala) is an established Tamil novelist. The heart-warming story that won her the award in this category this year is, "Thayumanavan". Although this was her first participation in the Pen to Publish Contest, Srikala is an established Kindle author. Speaking of her experience of the contest, she shares, “It was excellent. I also got new readers in the process and valuable feedback from them.” Her advice to budding writers? “Put your confidence in yourself and your abilities. Only then will you reach the heights.”
KDP: Enabling writers across India
The long-format winners from each language category won cash prizes of Rs. 5,00,000. For the short format category, winners won Rs.50,000 each. All the winners will receive marketing support for the promotion of their winning eBooks on Amazon.in. Additionally, the winners will be mentored by a panel of authors.
Amol Gurwara, Director Kindle Content India, Amazon says, “We are happy to see thousands of entries in the fourth edition of this contest with authors from different walks of life. It underlines the growing popularity of the contest over the years. We continue to celebrate the culture of writing while bringing talented upcoming writers closer to their audience. At KDP, we want to enable writers across the country to publish their works with utmost ease and simplicity.”