Winning is great isn’t it? Especially when what you’ve won is an award for your creativity in producing a literary work. My novel recently
won a 10th literary award since its publication in December 2011, and after the initial euphoria passed, I began to reflect on my previous awards and the overall impact on getting my book in front of more readers.
Of all the investments you can make to promote your book(s), awards are by far the riskiest investment (although not the most costly). They are risky because the probability of winning a given award comes down to the popularity of the award, the number of books submitted, the quality of the contestant’s books, and the bias of the reviewers. Naturally, these factors can conspire for or against you.
On the cost side, the entrance fee for most awards runs between $25 to $99 per category. Most of the awards also offer seals (for a fee) that you can place on your print copy or digital book covers. The question of whether you should make this investment really comes down to your level of confidence in your book. If the following are in place for your book, I would recommend making the investment:
- High quality book cover
- Well-edited and typeset book
- At least 25 Amazon reviews (from real readers -not friends and family) and over a 4 star average rating
- A clear genre focus (for non-fiction this translates as a clear niche focus)
So what happens when you win an award besides your ego getting stroked? Well, award winners and finalists are mentioned in press releases, broadcast on social media, highlighted on the awards websites, and covered by bloggers. Award winners get to add the label award-winning author to your e-mail signature, website, social media properties, Amazon (and other buy-pages), and even the cover of your book (with the awards seals).
What about the impact on sales? I have analyzed many recent indie award-winners to see if they see a bump in Amazon sales ranking post the win and most see no change. Why? Well, in my experience its quite variable – depending on the visibility and promotional power of that particular award and more so on how the author maximizes their winning.
With that in mind, here are 10 ways to maximize the winning of an award to reach more readers:
- Blast off the good news to your e-mail list asking subscribers to share with their networks.
- Brag on social media (FB, twitter, Pinterest, google+) and encourage sharing
- Write a blog about the experience of winning and what it means to you
- Put your book on sale (for a limited time) to celebrate winning
- Add the phrase “award-winning author” to all your author profiles
- Edit the brag page in your ebook and reupload to Amazon/smash words
- Edit your buy-pages with the new “award-winning” language
- Create your own press release (via a free press release service) and send out to news outlets
- Reach out to genre bloggers and conduct interviews so you can spread the news about winning an award
- Advertise your book with the new award winning language (FB, goodreads, google)
What are other ways to maximize winning a book award?