Awards: What Every Self-Published Author Needs to Know
About the Benefits of Awards Programs
If you’re like most authors, you’ve probably wondered — dreamed even — about the possibility of winning an award for your book. You’ve probably also wondered about how to go about nominating your book for an award. Should you even try? What does it take?
Consider this: you’ve worked hard to write your book, taken great pains to publish it correctly, gotten good reviews, done appearances, and promoted your book far and wide. Obviously, after the book’s initial push, you’d like to keep the momentum going. But what is the next level?
It’s not uncommon that the thought of awards leaves you brimming with questions: what are the chances of your book winning awards? Which awards should you enter your book for? How does it work? Is it worth it?
Many self-published authors choose not to enter their book into award competitions for various reasons, including cost, doubt that it will win, and unfamiliarity with the process. While those are relevant concerns, keep in mind that if you have written and published a quality book, you stand a reasonable chance of winning an award. Also, for many of these programs, you can’t win if you don’t enter.
If you’re considering submitting your book for awards, bear in mind that the joy and thrill of winning an award is only part of the beauty of awards. Book awards are important for several reasons. Awards are the great equalizer across the publishing landscape. A reputable awards program puts your self-published book on the same level with books released by traditional publishing houses. And if you win, this signals that your work is of the same caliber as a book published by the big publishing houses. This provides an objective endorsement of your work and removes any question of quality.
Awards are also an important publicity and marketing tool. As your book wins awards, you should create press releases, put it on your book website, and publicize your success via social media channels. Winning an award creates a meaningful event that you can leverage to drive awareness of your work, which often translate into greater visibility and sales.
Awards are a branding mechanism, too. As soon as you win your first award, you become an award- winning author, and your book becomes an award-winning book. This is an important branding milestone.
For all these reasons, awards are important and any self-published author should consider them.
But, how does it work?
First, you need to determine which awards you should enter your book into. The universe of possible awards is immense, so you should do your research or ask for guidance from you publicist, agent or publisher.
Awards are generally categorized by genre of writing, such as fiction, comedy, drama, horror, non-fiction, realistic fiction, romance novel, satire, tragedy, and tragicomedy. Within fiction and non-fiction are subcategories, such as magical realism, humor, science fiction, short story, essay, and memoir.
There are also regional awards, presented to the best works for a particular country, continent, or regional area. Finally, libraries, celebrities, and book taste-makers also have awards bearing their names, often focused on a specific genre or topic reflecting their passion.
You should enter your book for awards in the year it was published. Awards are generally presented on an annual basis, reflecting the best of books published in that year.
Cost can become a factor if you choose to enter your book into a number of awards, with each entry fee ranging from $40 to over $100. There could also be additional charges for entering your book into multiple categories from the same award body.
Ultimately, while submitting your book for awards takes time and money, winning (or even being named a finalist) is an excellent tool to differentiate your book as an award-winning work, scoring accolades and promotional points along the way. Also, the excitement of winning is a thrilling part of the path, including often elaborate ceremonies honoring the top authors. This is a fun part of the journey, earning awards for all the hard work and time invested into your book. Open yourself to the possibility of succeeding by becoming an award-winning author. Good luck!
Born in Yugoslavia in the 1970s, Marija Bulatovic, along with her parents, immigrated to the U.S. in the 1990s just ahead of the 1990s Yugoslav wars and the breakup of the country. An accomplished business professional with years of experience driving enterprise business with Fortune 500 companies, Bulatovic graduated from Colgate University. Marija Bulatovic lives in Seattle with her husband and son.