Since 1977 the National Magazine Awards Foundation has been recognizing excellence in the content and creation of Canadian magazines. Each year the Foundation grants more than $60,000 in prize money to award-winning writers, illustrators, photographers and other creators, and bestows the honour and industry recognition of a National Magazine Award to the publishers, editors, art directors and other staff of more than 75 nominated publications.
And although that may be reason enough to enter, many previous winners are happy to give us more.
Here are 10 other reasons why you should consider entering the 2013 National Magazine Awards:
1. New readers. Award-winning magazines attract new readers who are hungry for great stories.
We did feel that if we were lucky enough to get noticed at the National Magazine Awards in our first year of eligibility it would help us spread the word of what we are about and who we are trying to reach. The NMAs mean a great deal to people in the magazine industry and to writers in general; they indicate what is working at a high level and signal to the country what might be worth paying attention to.
—Curtis Gillespie, editor-in-chief of Eighteen Bridges
2. Bragging Rights. Be able to tell your readers that you are delivering the best and most credible content, recognized by your peers in the magazine industry.
It is immensely gratifying, on a professional level, when our team and contributors earn a National Magazine Award, or simply garner a nomination for that matter. It’s yet another measurement of how well we are serving our audience, based on the criteria for magazine excellence as determined by our industry peers.
—Patrick Walsh, editor-in-chief of Outdoor Canada
Le plus grand mérite revient au journaliste qui l’écrit, mais le choix du sujet, la révision, le choix des titres et surtout l’encadrement pendant la recherche et la rédaction sont aussi d’une importance capitale et font souvent la différence entre un reportage «publiable» et une œuvre remarquable. Quant à nos lecteurs, ils sont toujours impressionnés de voir notre récolte de prix. Je crois que cela renforce notre crédibilité.
—Pascale Millot, ancienne rédactrice du magazine Québec Science
3. Get Noticed. With a National Magazine Award, writers and artists find new audiences for their creative work and talent.
The NMA is a big award and I’m extremely grateful to have won it. I’m sure it has done quite a bit to promote my work and lift my profile as a documentary photographer. Above all else, I’m happy that this award brought the story to more viewers.
—Ian Willms, NMA-winning photographer
Winning the NMA gave me confidence in my writing, which I never really had before. [It] also got my work noticed. After I won Best New Magazine Writer, the essay was selected to appear in the Best Canadian Essays 2013 anthology, alongside some very successful writers. It is an amazing honour that I feel would not have happened without the National Magazine Awards.
—Sierra Skye Gemma, winner of the 2012 NMA for Best New Magazine Writer
4. Book Deal? Publishers take notice of award-winning work, and a National Magazine Award could be a step towards launching a book project.
The National Magazine Award was crucial into shifting [my] feature into a book project. After the magazine award, I received a few phone calls from literary agents, inquiring about the possibility of a book. I am sure the NMA helped [my agent] in the all-important pitch to book editors and marketing departments; to be able to say the idea had already garnered a Gold Award from the community of magazine journalists.
—Joshua Knelman, NMA winner and author of Hot Art
I got a lot of great feedback and everyone at the magazine was effusive and full of praise. It was very validating and it really encouraged me to continue the novel. Or it certainly put a skip in my step as I was finishing the rest of it: knowing that people had taken a peek at it and had approved.
—Heather O’Neill, NMA winner and author of Lullabies for Little Criminals
5. Find Your Next Job. Award-winning writers are better able to find new editors and publishers interested in their work.
The impact of this award was stunning. Here I was, writing from an isolated basement office in Vancouver, and all of a sudden my work is being recognized nationally. Personally, it was an unbelievable affirmation that the sacrifices I’d made to leave a twenty-year corporate consulting career had been worth it. Professionally, it was a game changer. The NMA nominations provided me with an entrée into one of the country’s top literary agencies. I met with and acquired [an] agent the day of the awards ceremony. In short, I believe that the recognition of the National Magazine Awards catapulted me from the ground floor of my writing profession to the penthouse suite.
—Carol Shaben, NMA winner and author of Into the Abyss
6. Promote Your Innovations. Magazines are growing, and we’re growing with them. The NMAF recognizes achievement in digital content creation and all other enterprising magazine journalism.
It’s a great honour to be recognized by peers who work across subjects and venues in journalism. It seems to be increasingly true that readers can expect good writing and reporting in many places—blogs, web pages, etc.—and it’s wonderful that the NMA recognizes that with its awards categories.
—Julia Belluz, winner of the 2012 National Magazine Award for Best Blog
Un prix est le couronnement de nos efforts, la reconnaissance qu’on a atteint notre objectif. Personne ne se sent obligé de lire un magazine pour être au courant de l’actualité. Les journaux, la télévision et les nouvelles en continu sur le Web nous livrent une rude compétition. C’est à nous, artisans des magazines, de proposer des histoires inédites, des angles nouveaux et surprenants pour nous rendre indispensables aux yeux du grand public.
—Catherine Dubé, lauréate et journaliste chez L’actualité
7. Build Your Confidence. Freelancing is one of the most challenging pursuits for an artist or journalist, and sometimes even lonely. Awards and nominations are benchmarks of progress.
Whenever I felt that I was hopelessly inept and dark voices inside were telling me to give up, I would defer to other people’s opinions (such as those giving out awards) and carry on. Of course the prize money is helpful in funding the next project, and it is good fun to go to the awards evenings. I don’t think anyone will deny that recognition from your peers is especially gratifying.
—Roger LeMoyne, NMA-winning photojournalist
The National Magazine Award was a vote of confidence that I was in the right line of work. We all need a thumbs-up from the world sometimes, as we toil away in the studio.
—Jillian Tamaki, NMA-winning illustrator
Winning that NMA was especially rewarding because the story was quite personal. As well, the story had been rejected by numerous magazines before AlbertaViews picked it up. That fact made the win even more gratifying, and dulled the sting from those rejections.
—Jeremy Klaszus, NMA-winning writer
8. Celebrate Your Creators. Editors, publishers and art directors have the opportunity to reward the creative talent that helps their magazines sell copies and connect with readers.
An award is useful for communicating to our stakeholders that we are successful. It adds momentum to what we do every day at the magazine… We create content to satisfy our readers, not to win awards. But it is our creators who get the awards and the cash prize, and for an editor, that’s an honour.
—Sarah Fulford, editor-in-chief of Toronto Life
9. Even a Nomination is a Celebration. We all start at the beginning, and just getting our work out there, and getting it noticed, is a step on the path to success.
As a young artist, it is a great honour to be recognized nationally, which in turn provides many assurances of support for my career. I was thrilled to be nominated for a National Magazine Award in 2009 even though I only received a honourable mention. Even with greater astonishment, [in 2011] I was called up on stage to receive the Gold award. An award not only provides charming publicity but it raises the standards in my work and, therefore, produces a wonderful opportunity to surpass my previous accomplishments.
—Selena Wong, NMA-winning illustrator
Awards are one way to measure whether or not what I’m doing on the page is working… Consistent nominations tell me that I’m continuing to do work that is recognizably among the best in the country.
–J.B. MacKinnon, NMA winner and author of The Once and Future World
10. Believe in What We Do. After all, magazines are the medium of creativity, passion and a deep engagement with our readers.
I think we should always believe in what we do. Successful magazine stories have that ‘wow’ factor, and with everything we do we try to achieve that. You know that story matters, that content matters. If you believe you achieved success then you should enter the National Magazine Awards, because then you’ll know if your peers agree; that it made them say, ‘wow.’
—Carole Beaulieu, editor-in-chief of L’actualité