By Jennifer Kotila
WAVERLY, MN Ed and Sue Claessen of Waverly came back from the Midwest Book Awards gala May 9 as award-winning authors two times over for their book “Making Tracks: C.L. Best and the Caterpillar Tractor Company.”
The Claessens placed first in the biography and history categories, the only categories in which they entered the book for the contest.
The awards are sponsored by the Midwest Independent Publishers Association, and each book is judged on creativity in content and execution, overall quality, and its unique contribution to its subject area.
When the Claessens were told about the contest, they did not give it much thought, Ed said.
But, as they were touring Minnesota and California for book signings, “We received a lot of positive feedback from people who bought the book, and thought, let’s try it,” Ed said.
The Claessens said they are both very pleased with the awards, and fortunate to have won two.
“Even being chosen as a top-three finalist was an honor,” Sue said. “Then to win it was fun and exciting.”
Ed noted there were quite a few books entered in the categories of biography and history.
Before the award ceremony was a social hour in which the authors could meet each other and the books were all on display.
“We were up against some really tough books,” Sue said.
However, Ed said that after reviewing the judges’ critique sheets, it really wasn’t a competition.
The book earned 156 out of 160 points in the biography category, and 126 out of 160 points in the history category.
One judge came up to the Claessens following the ceremony and told them the book needs to go further (as in reaching a wider audience), Ed said.
One judge commented on the critique sheet that she could tell the book was a labor of love for the Claessens, and they had a real passion for the subject, Sue said.
The judges also were complimentary regarding the format and photos used in the book.
Another judge was surprised how good the story was, considering the subject of the book, and noted she had learned something.
“It’s nice to get acknowledged from people chosen to judge and really critically look at the book,” Sue said.