Like a good book review, or many, receiving a book award for your work can be of great benefit to budding authors and self-published authors, as well as to independent publishing houses. After all, the number of positive impressions of your acim that potential readers can see, the more likely they are to invest in your work.
As always, if you’re new “in the biz,” your greatest obstacle as an emerging author is marketing your work. Without the experience, capital, and influence of a major publishing house behind you, the book you slaved and bled to create, whether a printed or digital offering, is likely to languish in online marketing limbo. Receiving a recognized book award can help you overcome this fate.
As a book marketing tool, receiving and promoting an award you’ve received for your work can easily exceed the value of a few five-star reviews in the Kindle store. Because a book award implies the approval of independent experts in the publishing business, people who know what they like and why; rather than the judgment of unknown, impersonal strangers, receiving such an award can carry more weight with potential readers – and book buyers.
Winning an award for your book will also allow you to promote it through press releases, a valuable marketing tool you can use to announce your Big Win. Newspapers and magazines, whether print or online, as well as literary newsletters and online book review sites, enjoy highlighting authors and books that have won awards – especially emerging authors and fresh material that few may yet recognize. If it puts them on the leading edge of a “discovery,” so much the better.
There are literally dozens of book award programs available today, with a variety of submission protocols and requirements. Some ask for authors or publishers to nominate their books directly, with a select group of publishing professional voting on the submissions. Other award programs employ a selection committee which offers titles to the judging panel, while still others base the nomination process on book sales or author recognition. Most will choose titles from multiple categories, creating increased opportunities for recognition for emerging authors.
Independent publishers, self-publishers, and emerging authors may pursue awards that allow publishers and authors to nominate books. Generally, these awards come with an entry fee which can range from $40 to $200 per entry. While paying an entry fee will by no means guarantee an award from the more reputable book award programs, you will receive a powerful marketing tool should you place as a finalist or win your category – which can more than make up for the fee in increased exposure and increased book sales.
A quick Google search will help you find a myriad of general and specialized book awards programs that are currently available. Best practices for these programs include doing some research, and choosing programs that have been available for some time, with a history of promoting emerging authors and quality books.