Six Ways to Promote Your Book Award Win!
Earlier this year, I wrote “Are Writing Contests Worth the Fees?” – sharing a five-step approach to determine if a contest was legitimate to enter. If you missed that discussion, you can access it HERE. Now on to the next step . . .
What do you do if you WIN?!
First, congrats if this has happened to you!
You now have a precious opportunity to gain attention with your accolade. Often a contest win will come long after your book launch and can help boost sales and interest in your writing, IF you take the time to get the word out. You will also be able to permanently affix the phrase award-winning to that particular title as well as yourself as a writer.
It doesn’t matter whether you are independently or traditionally published, these six steps are important for all award-winning authors. The only difference is that anything to do with your book’s description or cover design would need to be handled by your publisher if you have one.
Six Ways to Promote your Book Award Win!
Write and Send Out a Press Release
Announce your win in a press release that you send out to your media contacts. (You know – the ones who received your book launch information.) Pay particular attention to those who printed or broadcast stories about your book previously, they will often be more inclined to do a follow-up story about your win! (Don't forget about your university or college alumni magazine!)
Be sure to include background information on the award as well as photographs of the award decal or a presentation if you attended one.
Update Your Cover Image and Copy
Nearly every contest comes with a decal for the winners. Be sure to download the highest resolution of this decal and redesign your book cover to include it. This includes both your print and ebook covers. Some people prefer to buy the award decals to manually stick on a book’s cover. There’s nothing wrong with that, particularly if you have an existing stock of books. I’ve done both, but to save money on your printed books, you can certainly add the digital decal to your book cover image. Obviously, with ebooks you must use the digital decal image.
The Circle of Nine: Beltany cover below has an embedded digital decal for both the ebook and paperback. I wasn't overly fond of the Eric Hoffer award digital sticker pictured below on the Circle of Nine: Sacred Treasures ebook cover, so I used the award's circular sticker for the paperback (not pictured). Typically, each award has the exact same image for each, but this one was an exception.
You’ll also want to update your back cover copy (for physical books) and possible add a line of text to your ebook cover referencing the award. (Not everyone does this for their ebooks, but instead, they rely on the decal and an update to the book description, which we talk about in the next section.)
Change Your Book Description
You’ll definitely want to update your book’s blurb with a contest win, and that means everywhere you have used this blurb—not just on the cover of the book or in your book’s description on book sales’ pages (like Amazon). You may have your ebooks available on other sites or via a distribution company like Smashwords or Draft2Digital. You’ll need to update the book description there, too.
For instance, on my physical books, I added “Readers’ Favorite Book Award Finalist” and a snippet of the review text on the back cover of Circle of Nine: Beltany, and then on Circle of Nine: Sacred Treasures, I simply have a line that reads “Eric Hoffer Award Winner.”
With multiple contest wins there simply wasn’t room for everything on the paperback, so I picked the most prominent award to highlight. However, I did list the other award recognitions in my Amazon book description as follows:
Update Your Biography
Make sure to note your award-winning status by updating your biography. One of the main places people read your biography is your website, but you also likely have your biography on Amazon Author Central, book distribution sites (like the ones I mentioned above), and writing group or genre membership sites where you might be listed.
Update Your Website
Be sure to change your book’s details on your website and add the contest win and decal there as well! I also added the info about my award-winning status to my homepage. I do this because a contest win gives you credibility in the world of publishing, so you’ll want to be sure it is in the most prominent places on your website.
Announce it on Social Media!
Whichever social media platforms you use, be sure to create an announcement there. In fact, this may be the very first place you share your good news! Don’t forget to include a purchase link to your book for those who haven’t read it yet!
If you follow these six steps after an award win, you’ll be off to a great start on gaining the publicity you deserve.