MARKETING YOUR SELF-PUBLISHED BOOK
SOME CONTESTS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT
by T.A. Peters
Ready to start some serious book marketing on your self-published book? Here are some book contests you should know about.
What are some best practices for sound book marketing? What can the independent author do to boost sales of their self-published books? Only 1% of books authors submit to traditional publishers are accepted for publication. That means we need to become expert marketers as well as skilled writers. Getting good reviews is certainly one way. See the blog, Digging For Gold ~ Getting Those Coveted Amazon Reviews, for some helpful tips. Now it is time to think about entering some book contests.
Winning an Award is a Great Book Marketing Tool
Award winners frequently receive certificates and seals, both digital and physical, for their books. Some also offer small cash awards. But more than anything, winning one of these awards is a great marketing tool. It confers a sense of true accomplishment and sets the work apart from the thousands of other manuscripts crowding the market. As a self-published author, it may be great to be able to tell a potential reader about all of the five-star Amazon reviews you have received. But it is even more impressive when you are able to honestly state that your book is an award-winner. The following is an eclectic list of some of the available book awards programs.
Award programs are available for both fiction and non-fiction books. For a small fee or donation, anyone can enter a book in these contests. Whereas Pulitzers and the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction are aimed at the traditionally published, the Ippy and Benjamin Franklin Awards are meant for the independently published.
Book Marketing with an IPPY Award
The Ippy is short for the Independent Publisher Book Awards (independentpublisher.com). The program, conducted annually for over twenty years, recognizes the best independently published works from around the world. The Ippys offer a large number of available categories. In addition to the expected genres (Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Historical Fiction, etc.) there are regional categories as well. Geographic categories such as Southeast, Europe and even Australia/New Zealand are meant for authors whose story settings or area of residence match one of those locations. There are also e-book specific categories. In order to enter the Ippys, you are expected to send one physical copy of your book for each category entered. If entering an e-book, however, the author can simply e-mail a copy.
Book Marketing with a Readers’ Favorite Award
The Readers’ Favorite awards (readersfavorite.com) is another annual contest with over one hundred genre choices available. They even offer a special category for illustrated works. Authors may upload their physically printed books as PDFs. This in not only a convenience, but saves the author the expense of postage. Readers’ Favorite also has become popular as a semi-professional review site. If you pay for an express review package you even get to enter your book in extra categories for free.
This particular contest has received a good amount of attention. Many of the winners have successfully leveraged their wins to greatly increased readership. As an added bonus, a number of publishing-related prizes are available to anyone who enters. For example, winning entries are even reviewed by a movie studio to check their suitability for conversion into a screenplay. Readers’ Favorite proudly points out that one of their recent medal winners was the actor Jim Carrey, who won gold for a children’s book he wrote.
Book Marketing with a New Apple Literary Award
New Apple Literary (newappleliterary.com) is a self and small-press publishing marketing group that holds both a yearly awards program for physical books and an annual e-book program every summer. In addition to medal seals for book covers and a certificate, the winners receive an on-going marketing campaign developed by the group specifically for the purpose of increasing sales.
Book Marketing with a Genre Specific Award
In addition to the broad-reaching awards programs, there are some genre-specific contests. For example, the Rainbow Awards (elisarolle.com), highlight either LGBT authors or works which primarily feature sexually diverse characters. Instead of an entry fee, they ask for a small donation to charity. There are also location-specific contests, such as the Florida Book Awards (floridabookawards.lib.fsu.edu) for Florida authors, or organization specific contests such as the Royal Palm Literary Award for members of the Florida Writers’ Association (floridawriters.net). The Benjamin Franklin Awards (ibpabenjaminfranklinawards.com) focus less on content and more on the publishing aspects of independently produced books, such as book design and formatting.
A FEW THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND:
* In most cases, the author may enter their book in multiple categories, although each category requires a separate entry fee.
* Most of the entry fees are less than $90 each, with most awards programs giving major discounts to early-bird entries. Sometimes this even lowers the fee to as little as $25.
* In many cases there are publication restrictions. Most contests restrict their entries to books that were published within the previous calendar year.
* Carefully check the FAQs of any contest that interests you to make sure your book is eligible.
The above book contest list is far from exhaustive. A simple Google search will turn up dozens more available across the country, and even internationally.
If you choose to enter, good luck!
We are all in the same boat, so let’s help each other. Share another contest or two that you like in the comment box below.
. Congratulations to T.A. Peters, winner of this months Tales2Inspire BEST BLOGGER AWARD! Peters is the author of The Green Flourish Pentalogy, Loggerhead and One Little Word. He is also the winner of the 2015 New Apple Literary Award for Excellence in Independent Publishing for Historical Fiction. Visit his website at: http://www.greenefisherpublications.com/t-a-peters
This is an ‘Authors Helping Authors’ project. If you have a helpful marketing idea, enter it at firstname.lastname@example.org. You might be the winner of the next Tales2Inspire BEST BLOGGER AWARD.