One thing I have learned from speaking with published authors, or from their on-line confessions, is this: Unless you are a best selling author with a major publishing company that has budgeted a generous promotion allowance for your book, much of your book’s publicity and promotion must be done by YOU.
A great way to get some traction for your book is to be a winner (or even an Honorable Mention!) in a book award competition. Heck, I’ll probably do a press release if The Blizzard is chosen to be a “finalist” in some contest!
If you should be so good, and lucky, to win, place, or show in a Book Award you can
• attend the award ceremony and receive a neat medal (and maybe a free meal, or least some decent hors d’oeuvres);
• put out that self-serving press release (don’t forget the local newspaper and radio and TV stations!);
• make an announcement on your blog and/or put a blurb on your website;
• get little foil stickers to put on the covers of your books (hopefully impressing managers at brick-and-mortar stores to give you some shelf space); and
• add “Award-Winning” somewhere on the cover of all subsequent printings of your book.
First Year Only
Okay, here’s one important thing you need to know, or remember, about Book Award competitions. In nearly every case, your book has to have been published in the preceding year. Also, that may not be the preceding calendar year. Every contest has different time spans for publishing dates as well as different deadlines, so you have to check out each one and make sure your book is eligible and then gets entered in time.
After receiving a New Author medal from our central library, I was contacted by a book award contest in my own city asking me if I was going to enter my book. Yikes, even though The Blizzard was already entered in other competitions, here was a contest in my hometown that I didn’t even know about! Oh yeah, they also told me the deadline was in two days!! As much as I respect our postal system (I’m not being sarcastic), I wasn’t going to take a chance my book — and check — would get there in time. A tracked down a phone number, called, and found it I could hand-deliver my entry to an organizer’s home. It was the other side of town but worth it.
All of these contests have an entry fee that range from reasonable to expensive, so there may be a limit to how many you are able to enter. Most of them have numerous categories for nearly every type of bound volume (even cookbooks) and some of them also have regional contests in addition to their national competition.
In a future post, I will give you the names and contact info for some major book award contests.