You Won a Book Award - Now What?
10 Ways to Market Your Book After Winning an Award
So you won a book award… congratulations! The feeling of winning a book award is to be wholeheartedly enjoyed; your hard work and time have not gone unseen, your message has been heard and deemed of value by someone other than yourself, and you’ve created something beautiful. However, the time following a book awards announcement is a crucial time for marketing, and your new shiny medal offers up a world of publicity opportunities to take advantage of. So after you finish that bottle of bubbly with your family and friends (don’t forget your editor!), get back to business with some of the following ways to promote your award-winning book.
1. Update your social media, Goodreads, and Amazon bios.
Social media bios are often the first thing a potential reader checks out upon coming across your page, so keeping them up to date is very important. Be sure to add “award-winning author” to really make your profile stand out to potential visitors.
Readers may discover you on social media, but they often research your book and make the decision to purchase it or not based on your Goodreads and Amazon pages. Be sure these bios reinforce your “award-winner” status. Additionally, your book’s Amazon and Goodreads pages should reflect the award you won, when you won it, and what category you placed in.
2. Add an embossed seal or graphic to your cover.
One of the best ways to get your book to stand out on the shelf is by adding a shiny seal. A silver, gold, or bronze foil seal is literally eye-catching and can make a potential buyer look twice at your cover; when confronted with so many choices in a bookstore, awards are just one more factor a buyer can use to narrow the selection down. Awards programs usually have seals available to add to your cover, so use this factor to your advantage and enlist some family and friends to sticker your book, or hire a graphic designer to implement an electronic seal.
3. Create a celebratory graphic for your social media and website.
Awards are meant to be bragged about, so take advantage of your accomplishment and do a little bragging on your social media and website. Many winners enlist the help of graphic designers to create a postable image of their book with the award they won.
4. Announce your awards prominently on your website.
Or, if a blog post is more your style, write a quick note announcing your win. It’s a great way to keep fans interested in your work, and will show incoming potential readers that your work is well received.
5. Write (or hire someone to write) a press release on why your win matters.
Press releases – when done correctly – are an ideal channel for getting the news out to the media. Remember to approach them as a disinterested reader: why does it matter that your book specifically won? What can your book do that others can’t? If your book is issue-specific, tie it into the larger dialogue about that image to emphasize the value your book brings to the conversation.
6. Share the news with local media stations.
One of the best areas to start going after publicity in the wake of your win is the local media stations. While national media certainly has more reach, local media stations have a natural interest in the work of local authors and are much more likely to share the good news. Reach out to local papers, blogs, and journals, and if your book is at all regionally focused, be sure to mention it.
Read an example of a local news feature here.
7. Attend the award ceremony.
One of the best parts of winning an award is the publicity that comes with it. Take advantage of the opportunity to hype up your book by attending the awards ceremony, which offers a multitude of ways to show off your win. Posting about the experience on social media or your website draws readers in and allows them to celebrate the award with you, and the professional photographs of the event are a great resource that you can use for years after.
8. If you can’t, take photos of your medal or award seals and book.
When attending the awards ceremony just isn’t an option, be sure to visually share the news of your win anyways. Many medalists take photographs, professional or otherwise, of their books with the medal, their certificates, themselves wearing their medal, etc. Sharing images like these is just another way to draw your fans and readers into the experience.
Taking A Stand by Robert Higgs wins IPPY Award! pic.twitter.com/IQ4euEabKH— IndependentInstitute (@IndependentInst) May 11, 2016
9. Host a celebratory giveaway or sale.
Use the occasion as an excuse to host a giveaway or sale of your now award-winning book. Giveaways are excellent chances to find new readers and garner more reviews, and a celebratory giveaway is another way to remind potential readers that you won.
10. Display your medals at signings and events.
Whether you are displaying your books at the London Book Fair or your corner bookstore, be sure to prominently display your medal and/or stickered books. These will serve as just one more way to draw readers in and engage their interest in your award-winning book.
Lauren White graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in History and English. She is serving as Assistant Editor and Awards Account Manager at Independent Publisher. Please email her at lwhite [at] bookpublishing.com with any questions and comments.