Reflections on Next Top Spiritual Author Contest Round 1

By on May 3rd, 2010

In a previous post, I told you about the Next Top Spirit Author Contest in which I am a contestant. The contest is open to unpublished or self-published authors. Authors did not need to have completed (or even started) their book to enter. I entered my book The Garden of the Soul: lessons from four flowers that unearth the Self, which I self-published just a little over a year ago. My hope is to take it to a much wider audience, and also to get some backing for the follow-up I am currently writing, A Practical Guide to the Garden of the Soul, which contains 80 practical lessons for cultivating the four principles in The Garden of the Soul.

Today (Monday May 3rd) marks the final day of Round 1. Since the contest opened to the public vote on March 29th, tens of thousands of people have voted for their favourites amongst more than 3000 entries. Now the field is going to be narrowed down to 250 who will advance to Round 2, based primarily upon their public vote, as well as a small challenge the authors were given to do.

Round 2 will be a bit different because the 250 Round 2 authors will then construct a book proposal for their book, which will go under the scrutiny of Hampton Roads publishers, who are offering the Grand Prize in the contest– a pretty nifty publishing contract. A portion of the points in Round 2 will once again come from the public vote.

So by Tuesday, thousands of authors and authors-to-be, including myself, will find out whether or not we will advance to the next phase of this competition. I can feel the energy getting really “buzzy” amongst the authors these past few days.

Although this is only Round 1, the contest has already been quite a journey. For many, the very act of creating an audio or video “pitch” was a major achievement. For others, it was the challenge of stepping out of their comfort zone to ask people to vote for them. Speaking for myself, if nothing else happens as a result of having entered this competition, I am grateful for two things: 1) being put under a deadline to make a new book trailer (I am SO pleased with how it turned out and it is getting a lot of hits on YouTube) and 2) meeting dozens of great new authors who are now connected with me on Facebook and Twitter. Both of these are great gifts in their own right.

In some ways, Round 1 has been a bit like being in the auditions for the X-Factor (our UK equivalent of “American Idol”). Behind the scenes, we have a “share” page on the contest site that is sort of our equivalent of “The X-Factor House”, where everyone hangs out together and learns the idiosyncrasies of the others. It’s really interesting to watch and interact with all the fascinating personalities there. And just like The X-Factor, while there is a lot of love and connection amongst the contestants, there is also the underlying knowledge that this is, after all, a competition, and people will be voted off, bit by bit. It could happen to any one of us. That’s the nature of any competition, and it is vital for all of us to know how to “be with” the competitive process, without allowing it to affect our sense of Self and inner determination.

When I was a young musician, I took every defeat in competitive scenarios as a blow against my self-worth. Because I grew to fear judgment and rejection, I became afraid to take risks for many years, and thus I limited my creative growth and personal empowerment for a very long time.

But these days I approach such challenges quite differently. I apply my whole self to the task, and allow myself to take the risk of being “rejected”. These days, I feel the most important thing in life is to have the self-knowledge that I did not hold myself back from applying myself fully, and that I did the absolute best I could at that particular moment.

While taking this approach to a competition (and life in general) does not ensure we will “win” a specific reward, I do believe when we are fully ready to step into both the risks and responsibilities involved in the act of succeeding, we will win the award, the title, the prize, the praise, the gift– or the learning– we are meant to receive. If you do not hold yourself back from the Universe, it will hold nothing back from you.

As far as I am concerned, the fact that everyone in the contest has stepped up to the plate and “pitched” their vision to the world makes them all winners, already on the pathway to their own dreams.

I wish all the spiritual authors in the contest the very best of luck.

If you have voted for me already, I’d like to thank you warmly for your support. And if you haven’t had a chance to yet, it would be great if you took a few minutes to do this before the end of the day today (Monday). Here’s how:

  1. Go to and watch my video entry.
  2. Register to vote; they will send you a confirmation email before you actually can vote.
  3. Check your email for the confirmation email, and click on the confirmation link
  4. Go back to and vote for me (you can also vote for other authors by doing a search).

As my thank you gift to everyone who votes for me, you can pick up 4 audiobook excerpts from the book. That’s over 1 hour of fr*ee audio. You’ll see the link to the gift right after you have voted.

If you are on the social networks, it would be great if you clicked the big Twitter or Facebook buttons on my page and shared them with your friends.

Thanks everyone!
[mlb /]

Categories : News


  1. Jacob Nordby says:


    you are just a treasure! It’s been such a joy to meet and interact with you in this contest and before.

    thanks for sharing your love, light and knowledge!


    Jacob Nordby


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