How To Get Your First Book Award

This week, I was elated to hear that my latest novel, “Webs of Perception” was the winner of the International Book Excellence Award in the category of fiction. I have been extremely fortunate in having each of my proceeding “Web Series” novels honored with a national and/or international award. It got me thinking. Are any of my fellow authors unaware of the value of book awards?

Book awards don’t just happen. There is a process for entry, a vetting process, and, of course, an extensive selection process. But first, let’s consider why gaining this validation is worth a busy author’s time.

What’s in it for me?

Before setting on the journey of earning awards, we must consider the benefits vs. our valuable time. The most obvious benefit is personal satisfaction! It feels incredibly validating to hear that, among the sea of books submitted from around the globe in our category, ours was selected as the book award winner. However, the award represents more than a testament to our hard work and the quality of what we have created. The benefits go beyond our personal satisfaction. When we place an award seal on the cover of a book, its credibility and marketing potential soars. It is an immediate validation with book readers, store owners, and others, that our work is worth their time. It may cause them to, at the very least, take a second look. It can mean the difference between someone picking up our book to read the jacket, reading the text on an online site, or scanning to the next book.

A credible award has an impact on market visibility. Books selected as award winners have a greater chance of valuable placement across the market, whether that be in a bookstore, in the print media, or on the front page of a book website. Most credible award organizations have a considerable network of individuals who wait for the evaluation of their trusted review committees to select their next read. Their audiences read the reviews, not only of the award-winning books, but of the runners up in their categories of interest as well. They then determine what books are worthy of their time. A credible review organization generally has social media channels, which alone can get the book in front of a great deal more people than we can reach on our own. Every single new set of eyes on an author’s work is an opportunity to get a new reader. An award-winning seal on the cover increases visibility.

How to get Awards

Once we’ve searched through the various award organizations, the first step is to ensure that the organization being considered is selective–not every entry is declared a winner. Unfortunately, there are a plethora of phony book award organizations who simply hand out awards to any and all who apply. These organizations are doing this for one of two reasons: Either they’re looking to get eager authors to share their website or social media channels or they’re looking to make money directly from said authors. The accompanying “awards” are therefore worthless and in some cases can be damaging to authors. So again, first start with ensuring there is a rigid selection process. Doing our homework, in the beginning, can save a lot of headaches in the future.

From there, it’s a simple matter of following their entry process. Don’t be afraid to contact the organization to ask them questions, clarify or verify anything we would like to understand. This has been my experience with organizations that I’ve vetted including Reader’s Favorite, Indy Excellence Awards, International Book Awards, and Beverly Hills Book Award. There are many other credible organizations, but these have worked best for my type of thought-provoking suspense. My personal favorite is the International Readers Favorite, which holds an annual book awards ceremony in Miami. It is attended by some amazing authors from around the world. There, I have met many talented authors and made some lasting friendships. However, the timing and release of “Webs of Perception” did not make the cut-off for either the 2018 Reader’s Favorite or the Beverly Hills Book Award competition. I feel blessed to have found the highly respected Book Excellence organization, which is based in Canada, where I have many loyal readers.

Any author who feels the result of their blood, sweat, and tears, has produced a book worthy of recognition should seek a reputable book award organization. Find out their deadlines, and criteria for submission. If you do not believe your book is worthy of an award, you have published prematurely. Don’t fret if your book is not a winner. Take advantage of the feedback you gain from the reviewers and continue to grow as an author!
WRITERS: Have you earned an award for your book or perhaps gone through an award selection process?
READERS: Please share how you choose your next book.
We would love to hear from you in comments.

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