Vying for awards for self-published books can be a great way to give your brand a boost!
This past spring we did a podcast episode on awards for self-published books so if this recap entices you to learn more, have a listen (link in bio), because they’re a great book marketing enhancement and a strategic way to give your book a leg-up in a cluttered market.
Why We Love Awards for Self-Published Books
Book awards offer recognition for your hard work and the quality of your book.
Book awards and book contests also allow you to stand out in a crowded market, particularly for self-published authors, which for many readers of this blog post, will be key! And of course, it’s a great thing to add to your Amazon book page! And, since we’re talking about adding these accolades, don’t forget to add these to your website as well as across social media!
Finally, it can be an opportunity to get media attention – especially locally. Think: local author wins big book award! Your local media will love that.
Choosing the Right Contest
Because contests can be money makers for the company running the contest, but offer very little benefit to the author, you’ll want to look for red flags, like excessive entry fees and upsells. You should pay an entry fee, but upsells in terms of “marketing help” are a non-starter.
- Make sure to research the organization running the contest and its reputation. The Alliance of Independent Authors does a great job of collecting a list of reputable contents, I’ll post the link below.
- Ensure the contest judges books within your genre or sub-genre. Too often I’ve seen authors submit books to the wrong genre, so be sure that you’re submitting your book to the right genre and sub-genre and that the contest offers that as a consideration. If they don’t, find one that does. Putting your book in the wrong genre, or a “close enough” genre won’t help you get any closer to a win.
Finally, look for contests that accept self-published books, as many now welcome indie authors. And if your book isn’t done yet, you may be able to find contests that judge unfinished work. So whether it’s a book or a short story, you may be able to find a contest that fits your needs!
How to Maximize Your Book Award Wins (or near wins)
I always suggest authors use every tool in their toolbox, and this includes book awards and contests. Promote your award or honorable mention in your newsletter, on social media, and on your website. It’s also good to highlight your awards when networking with other authors or seeking feature swaps. Awards and even honorable mentions go a long way to build credibility! Adding these to your media room is a really quick way to do this because if you’re doing some networking for social media takeovers, newsletter swaps or speaking events (and book signings!) I can almost guarantee you that whoever you’re targeting is going to be looking at your media room.
I mentioned this before but it’s worth repeating: add these to your Amazon book page as well as other retail platforms and keep in mind that when updating your Amazon book page, you may be asked to submit the necessary documentation to back up your award claims. So keep that handy! Ensure you’re prepared to substantiate your achievements with solid proof.
Start the Book Awards Submission Process Early
This is something you’ll want to plan for because some contests want current books while others want not-yet-released titles. I recommend going through the list ASAP. The bigger contests tend to give you more time, like IBPA’s Ben Franklin awards, and use books from the prior year, so be sure to check the contest guidelines before submitting.
The contest may ask you for information beyond just sending them your book, so prepare all the required paperwork and book descriptions for entry. This may include adding in a marketing plan for your book – or what you’ve already done to market it.
Participating in book awards and contests can greatly help with your book exposure and overall credibility as an author and there’s a lot you can do with the awards or mentions once you get them.
Tune into our podcast to find out more creative ways to maximize book awards and contests!
Resources and Free Downloads
Be sure to sign up for our newsletter on the right-hand side of our blog homepage. If you haven’t opened a recent one your registration may have lapsed.