There are over 1.4 million book titles in print and about 200,000 new titles each year in the USA and Canada. Being a new author with a new book can be daunting especially if you are self-published and responsible for your own marketing. Being a winner of a book award can instantly bring you credibility and help you promote your book. Winning book awards can really help boost your marketing campaign. Readers want to read award-winning books; book sellers and librarians want to stock award-winning books and journalists want to write about award-winning books. In this column, I will talk about the advantages and disadvantages of applying for book awards.
Advantages: First of all winning a book award is a morale booster for the writer. It gives recognition for a solitary profession. A writer may have doubts about whether a book is any good, but a couple of book awards can dispel those doubts. You can now call yourself an award-winning author and this is a relatively inexpensive way to get publicity for your books. (Book awards cost $50.00 to $150.00 to enter.) When one gets an award, one can make it a media event. If you win more than one book award, you can call yourself a multi-award winning author and that is even better! Being a award-winning author can help you open new doors and get new contacts. You can attend book festivals and galas when you win the award. You can also get some good tax deductions. It can help you get a Book Club gig or be a featured speaker. It can help you sell foreign rights or make the leap from self-published writer to a writer with a publisher. It is also a nice way to meet other award-wining authors. Book awards are a good alternative for shy writers who don't want to be in the public eye and speak about their books. Winning book awards speaks for itself. Book awards are also a good alternative if the writer is unable or unwilling to go on the book tour/lecture circuit.
Disadvantages: Of course, not winning book awards can be demoralizing and can get fairly expensive so start slowly. We are not talking about the Pulitzer Prize or the Booker Award so look out for book awards that might not be prestigious enough for your book. Many companies that sponsor book awards are businesses and provide services, which they are also selling. Once your know the pros and cons, you can decide whether to go forward.
Mary's Tips for Entering Book Awards
1. Do your research and go slowly.
2. Look at the categories to see if you have a match. (Look at last year's titles). For example my titles are in "How to", "Self-Help. "Business", "Career" and "Law."
3. Enter one or two and see how it goes.
4. To increase your odds, enter in two categories. Usually there is a discount for the second entry.
5. Pick a category where there may be fewer entries.
6. Be aware of cost. At $50.00 you can enter two or three contests instead of one $150.00 one.
7. Read instructions carefully. How many copies? What is deadline? postmark date?
8. See if list of books already entered (Florida Book Awards.)
9. Look at what is offered to winners: comments, free website listings, press release, stickers, book festival, award ceremonies, and literary agent.
10. See if there are book awards just for your discipline or for your state (New Mexico Book awards.)
Next month, I will cover specific book awards.
Mary Greenwood, Mediator, Attorney and Author of How To Negotiate LIke A Pro: 41 Rules for Resolving Disputes, Winner of six book awards; How to Mediate Like a Pro, winner of twelve book awards; How to Interview Like a Pro, winner of eleven book awards. Email: Howtointerview@aol.com. website www.marygreenwood.org
I am an attorney, mediator and author of three award-winning books: How to Interview Like a Pro, Editor's Choice, Readers Choice and Star; and winder of thirteen book awards, How To Mediate Like A Pro: 42 Rules for Resolving Disputes, which has won 12 book awards; and How To Negotiate Like A Pro: 41 Rules for Resolving Disputes, second edition, which has won nine book awards