This post is a reprint from Fiona Ingram and her site called
Fiona Ingram Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa. Writing a children’s book—The Secret of the Sacred Scarab—was an unexpected step, inspired by a recent trip to Egypt. As I discovered, getting my book ‘out there’ and marketing it was the hardest part of being an author. I have learned along the way, with help from great articles and newsletters, how to improve on writing techniques, get reviews, and how to market myself and my work. This blog is a way to share information, tips and advice about writing and book marketing. I welcome all contributions and opinions that can assist fellow writers. Or just share your thoughts on some great books and authors. I’m also interested in articles and information to do with children’s literature. Also looking to interview fellow authors.
As the New Year begins, so you should start gearing up for book awards. Entering book awards is not as difficult as it seems. In a previous post I outlined the pros and cons of entering, and having achieved eleven awards and nominations, I find there are definite benefits. Your book’s recognition enhances its status, no doubt about it, and tells people you have reached a standard of excellence that meets the industry’s demands. I recently read four posts by industry marketing experts with their take on why you should enter book awards.
Advice from the Experts
- Donna M. McDine on children’s book awards: The importance of entering children’s book award contests goes well beyond a win. There are two sides you can capitalize on. The obvious, if your book achieves book award recognition you and your publisher can reap the benefits of promoting you as an award-winning author. Second, even if you don’t place in the contest your book does gain additional exposure through the judging process.
Donna includes a list of helpful places to find the best contests.
- Dana Lynn Smith on choosing wisely: Begin by considering which contests are most appropriate for your book. Some are very general, while others focus on a specific type of book. Some book award contests accept entries with the current or previous year’s copyright date, while others allow entries spanning several years. Some are geared toward self-published books and others accept all books. When deciding which contests are the best fit, look for those that offer book categories most related to the type of book that you write. For example, “historical romance” is much more specific than “romance.” Also consider the entry fees and the relative prestige and publicity value of the contest. Some contests even offer cash prizes for the top winners.
Dana also includes a list of popular/best known contests. Her advice on e-book vs. print is: If a contest accepts both e-books and printed books, it’s usually best to submit a printed book if you have one because it’s more tangible.
- Sherrie Wikolaski has advice on getting the best out of your entry fee: Investment. Book awards can range from as little as $10 per submission to a few hundred dollars. Most fall somewhere in the middle, plus the cost of mailing in a copy of the book for review. It’s one of the most cost-effective ways to market your book, especially if you win.
- Marketing your winnings.Congratulations! You’ve won! Now what? When the time comes and you’ve found out that your book has won an award, you should maximize the win. Find out what the awards committee is doing to promote your award status. Take advantage of everything they are offering to you. If they invite you to guest blog, take it. If they want to promote a book excerpt, let them. Whatever they offer be sure to work with their marketing team to maximize your exposure.
Sherrie includes a list of top book contests as well as marketing tips to maximise on your win.
- Smith Publicity, book promoters for authors in every genre worldwide, includes a long list of book awards ranging from general fiction to science fiction, mystery, indie, self-help, non-fiction, cultural and youth.
The Indie Issue
Many indie authors are put off by thinking that so many contests only accept traditionally published books. Not true. I am a self-published author and by keeping an eye on industry events, I was able to enter and achieve something in most of the contests. I have compiled a list of indie awards, by date, to make it easier for authors to enter their books. Expense is also a big issue with authors battling to pay for editing, layout, cover images etc. The beauty of the e-book revolution is that many contests organisers now accept e-books. This makes entering a whole lot easier. Please visit the links from the experts above. They have many tips to offer ranging from why enter, to how to organise your entries, to the benefits, to author beware.
Here is a calendar of the most useful contests for indie authors
Childrens’ Literary Classics Awards (e-book accepted if print copy not available)
Foreword Book of the Year Awards (print and e-book)
Eric Hoffer Awards (e-book accepted)
e-Lit Awards (e-book)
Beverly Hills Book Awards (print only)
Readers Favorite Awards (e-book accepted)
Readers Digest Self-Published Awards (print only)
Reader Views Literary Awards (e-book accepted if print copy not available)
Start planning and remember you can’t win if you don’t enter