Follow My Journey

Six Things I Learned at the 2014 Readers’ Favorite Awards

Dec 6, 2014 | A Far Cry…From Home, Blog Posts, Grief & Loss, Hope & Inspiration, Transformation

One of the definitions of the word learn is: to gain by experience, exposure to example, or to acquire.

When I received the news that A Far Cry…From Home had won Honorable Mention in the 2014 Readers’ Favorite Non-Fiction Memoir category, I was elated. My hard work, soul searching and dedication to the project had paid off. What I didn’t know about attending the Readers’ Favorite Awards Ceremony in November, is how much I would learn. Not only was it an amazing experience, but the exposure to many wonderful and talented authors was invaluable. The knowledge I acquired during those three days in Miami is priceless.

  1. I learned that there are many talented authors in this group that promote honest and unending support and set the bar high for us newcomers.
  2. I learned that some authors bare their soul and their story to make a difference. I have read Viga Boland’s No Tears for my Father (Gold Medalist – I am currently reading Carew Papritz’s The Legacy Letters (Gold Medalist – I plan to begin reading Jo Dibblee’s Frock Off (Bronze Medalist – So far, I have learned about strength from an incest survivor. I am learning about life and love from a cowboy. I look forward to learning how one woman, a key witness in a murder trial, survived living in disguise and fear for her life for 35 years.
  3. I learned that there are authors who excel in the world of Romantic Suspense like Jalpa Williby ( who won two Gold Medals for her series, Chaysing Dreams and Chaysing Memories. I can’t wait to get my hands on copies of her two books as I am sure that I will learn a thing or two about writing a romance novel; not to mention the fact that Jalpa and her long-time friends bonded with my son, Austin, creating wonderful Miami memories.
  4. I learned that there are people who look out for independent authors and help them receive the accolades they deserve. Two of these people, Debra Gaynor and James Ventrillo, make Readers’ Favorite ( the go-to group for honest reviews, promotional assistance, and award recognition. Debra, James, and their staff put together a marvelous awards weekend with pertinent guest speakers, an outstanding awards ceremony, and exposure for us at the Miami Book Fair.
  5. I learned that I have a lot to learn about the writing, publishing and promotional world of an independent author. One of my favorite quotes is that “I know what I know…and I know what I don’t know.” After a few days of rubbing elbows with my new author friends, there’s a ton that I “don’t know” but, I also gained tips, tricks, and valuable insight to help me along the journey. This is a tight knit group who share information so we can all learn new things.
  6. I learned that I want to continue writing. I have stories within me that are just waiting to be put on paper. Having spent a few days with serious writers, I know that I want to be part of this celebration of talent in the future. My paper is ready, my pen is poised, and my “backpack” is full of new information, tips, and skills. Thank you, Readers’ Favorite, for fueling the fire of this independent author.
Thanks for reading!

– Sandy Richards

Sandy Richards is a devoted mom and celebrated author whose experience of losing a child has allowed her to connect, inspire and heal with other grieving parents through her memoir A Far Cry ...From Home and her blog. In addition, Sandy strives each day to inspire children to read, imagine, and smile through her award winning children’s books and ongoing volunteerism in her local school district. Sandy lives with her husband, Joe, in Milford, MI.