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Top Book Awards Authors Should Pursue
Do book awards matter? Absolutely YES! In fact, just recently one of my clients won the prestigious Los Angeles Book Festival award. That then led to a flurry of media interest, which then led to a major New York agent deciding to represent the book and pitch it to all the major publishing houses. Deals are in the offing. This author, needless to say, is happy he decided to enter.
Pursuing and winning book awards will give you another opportunity to reach out to the media, booksellers and agents. Awards create interest in your book, which can lead to more sales and other opportunities. A book award may cause someone to stop in their tracks and consider picking up your book in a book store. A book award can give you an edge and sometimes that’s all the difference you need to propel your book into bestseller territory. If you win you can say you are an “award winning author.” Doesn’t that sound better? Of course it does, and you get a little magic that comes from a third party endorsement because an authority says your work is worthy, and that’s priceless.
Most awards charge a fee to enter. Not all awards have a category for your genre and not all of these will work for every book.
Here’s a list of my Top 22 book awards worthy of your consideration.
Entering the Book of the Year Awards should definitely be on your end-of-the-year to-do list. Check it out at bookoftheyearawards.com.
Check out the National Book Critics Circle Awards and enter by December 1 at bookcritics.org.
The Man Booker Prize for Fiction boasts that the prize is the world’s most important literary award. Enter to win by July 1 themanbookerprize.com.
The Newbery Medal was the world’s first children’s book award. Enter before December 31 at ala.org.
Enter to win the Caldecott Medal before December 31 for your Children’s picture book at ala.org.
IACP Cookbook Awards deadline is October 29. Check out how to enter at iacp.com.
Hugo Award deadline is March 26, check out science fiction’s most prestigious award details at thehugoawards.org
Strive to be nominated and win the Nobel Prize in literature. Who can nominate? Professors of literature and of linguistics at universities and university colleges to name a few. (Another reason it pays to keep the ties your alma mater!) nobelprize.org
The Edgar Allan Poe Award for books submission deadline is August 15. See how to submit your book at mysterywriters.org.
FT/Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year submission deadline is June 30 at eiseverywhere.com.
Enter to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction before February 2 at pulitzer.org
The National Book Award deadline is June 15. Learn how to submit your book at nationalbook.org
Submit your work by October 31 to win the Stonewall Book Award. Click for details at ala.org.
The Deadline for the Autumn House Press award for fiction is June 30. Check it out at autumnhouse.org.
Enter to win the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award deadline is December 17. Click here for more details.
The PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction deadline is October 31. Check out how to enter at pw.org.
With book trailers being an important part of all book marketing strategies be sure to enter your book trailer in the Moby Awards. They are looking for the best…and worst book trailers. Deadline in April. Enter at mobyawards.com.
Here’s a service where you can enter several book festivals at the same time for about $50 per festival. This is absolutely the best idea. Just do it. diyconvention.com.
The National Indie Excellence Book Awards competition selects award winners and finalists based on overall excellence of presentation in dozens of categories. April deadline. indieexcellence.com.
Have you written a business book? The Axiom Business Book Awards celebrate excellence in business book writing and publishing by presenting gold, silver and bronze medals in 20 business categories. They have a year-end deadline axiomawards.com.
ForeWord Reviews sponsors the Book of the Year Awards. It’s open to all independently- and self-published books released that year. There are sixty categories, and in each category a gold, silver, and bronze winner. The deadline to enter is January. Check out: forewordreviews.com.
Need another reason to enter? Jim Cox of Midwest Book Review says, “The fact is award stickers help to convince buyers to purchase. I’ve seen this happen with librarians — when faced with two competing titles and a limited acquisition budget the librarians will take the one that won an award, any award, over the title that doesn’t have an award to its credit. I’m confident that this same phenomena works for bookstore patrons browsing the shelves as well.”
The bottom line, book awards do matter. Enter a few and let me know how it goes. If you know of another book award I should check out, please send me the details.
With hard work, perseverance and a little luck, your book could be “Cruisin” with Smokey Robinson to the bestseller list and you will be “Dancin’ in the Streets” with Martha and the Vandellas.
Who doesn’t love the music of Motown? Smokey Robinson, Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, Gladys Knight, The Temptations, Lionel Richie and The Four Tops – their classic songs have entertained people from all walks of life for over 50 years.
I recently noticed that the titles of some of the biggest Motown hits also suggest some important themes that can help guide authors to improve their careers. Let’s have a look:
“What’s Goin’ On”(Marvin Gaye) advises you to educate yourself on what is going on in the publishing industry. It’s a moving target; what worked last year might not work today. It’s imperative that authors keep abreast of the changing publishing industry by reading books and magazine articles, going to book fairs and festivals and attending writer’s conferences.
“I Heard It Through The Grapevine” (Marvin Gaye) tells you to use today’s version of the grapevine, social media such as Twitter and Facebook, to promote your literary work. Authors should be sure to stay up to date about what others are saying about them, their work, and what their competitors are publishing as well. Be sure to keep your page updated and have frequent interaction with your followers to retain their interest.
“Respect” (Aretha Franklin) reminds you to treat others the way you want to be treated. Share resources and knowledge with fellow authors. Respond to comments and questions on social media. Take on a mentee. Be kind. Network. Respect the time and effort you’ve put into your craft and help others to do the same.
“Shop Around” (The Miracles) advises you to “shop” for the best book publisher, publicist, and others who can help make your book a success. This is not similar to shopping for commodities at the mall or grocery store; you should go with the person who provides the best quality for your needs, rather than the one with the lowest price. An investment in good editing, good book cover design and good marketing will help create a solid foundation in the long run.
“Signed, Sealed, Delivered” (Stevie Wonder) When signing a publishing deal make sure to look over the fine print, and ask questions about the contract. You, as the author, do not want to be obligated to terms that you were not aware of. Remember, “Ain’t Nothin’ Like the Real Thing”(Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell) so make sure you ask a lawyer to look over the contract before you sign.
“It Takes Two” (Marvin Gaye and Kim Weston), and “Rescue Me” (Aretha Franklin). Don’t be afraid to ask for help because publishing and marketing a book can be a nerve-wracking and overwhelming task for a first-time author. Do not wait until you need a rescue before calling in the professionals. As a book marketing expert, I’ve seen many authors make costly decisions that have to be rectified, which include bad titles, bad covers, bad editing, or lack thereof. “Stop in the Name of Love”(The Supremes) for your book.
“Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” (Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell) inspires you to be steadfast and resilient in order to be successful. For example, 100+ publishers rejected Mark Victor Hanson, author of Chicken Soup for the Soul, but he had the tenacity to keep searching for someone who would publish him.
The Bottom Line: “You Can’t Hurry Love,”(The Supremes). Success will not happen overnight and it’s not always easy as “ABC”(Jackson 5). But it doesn’t have to be a “Ball of Confusion”(Temptations.) With hard work, perseverance and a little luck, your book could be “Cruisin” with Smokey Robinson to the bestseller list and you will be “Dancin’ in the Streets” with Martha and the Vandellas. J
Book publicist Scott Lorenz is President of Westwind Communications, a public relations and marketing firm based in a Motown suburb that has a special knack for working with authors to help them get all the publicity they deserve and more. Lorenz works with bestselling authors and self-published authors promoting all types of books, whether it’s their first book or their 15th book. He’s handled publicity for books by CEOs, CIA Officers, Navy SEALS, Homemakers, Fitness Gurus, Doctors, Lawyers and Adventurers. His clients have been featured by Good Morning America, FOX & Friends, CNN, ABC News, New York Times, Nightline, TIME, PBS, LA Times, USA Today, Washington Post, Woman’s World, & Howard Stern to name a few.
“I don’t know how to put this but I am kind of a big deal.”
‘Ron Burgundy’ put his own blurb right on the cover: “I Wrote a Hell of a Book!”
“Anchorman II: The Legend Continues” is the highly anticipated, long overdue sequel to 2004’s “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy”. The first film quickly became a cult classic with its quippy one-liners and hilarious cast. The sequel premiered December 18. Leading up to the movie’s release, the “Anchorman” team took promoting the film to another level.
Ron Burgundy was EVERYWHERE. In the year and a half following the announcement of the sequel, there was a museum exhibit, a book, a Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, a new brand of Scotch, TV commercials for the Dodge Durango, an iPhone app, TV cameos, viral videos, a website chock-full of GIFs and a college was even renamed after Mr. Burgundy.
So in the marketing and promotional spirit of Ron Burgundy here are some tips authors can use in the promotion of their own books.
1. Don’t hesitate doing a small town, small market local news show as it might have national implications.
‘Ron Burgundy’ made a guest appearance on a local news program in Bismark, North Dakota. The clip was so funny it was shown on news casts on every network all over the USA. How does this work for authors?
I’ve seen my author interviews on local news picked up on by the national affiliates of FOX, CBS, NBC and ABC-TV and shown across their syndicated network. In fact many stories are put up ‘on the satellite’ so other affiliates can grab them and run the story.
Sometimes those stories are localized by adding a local twist. Furthermore, the national news desks have people in the news room whose job it is to push and promote those stories to their affiliates. Contact your local news outlet for an interview and don’t hesitate to travel to a small market for an interview. Here’s the infamous North Dakota TV clip in its entirety.
‘Ron Burgundy’ made a guest appearance on a local news program somewhere in a small town in North Dakota.
2. Write your own testimonial.
In his book Let Me Off at The Top ‘Ron Burgundy’ put his own blurb right on the cover: “I Wrote a Hell of a Book!” Most authors agree their book is “One Hell of a Book” but it’s rather self-serving you won’t be able to get away with it.
But who can say that for you? Find that person and get that testimonial. I’ll often ask an author if you could get anybody to blurb your book who would it be?
Make a list of the top ten. Then if it’s in the realm of possibilities go out and get it. Check out the Let Me Off at The Top book trailer here:
3.Be willing to travel all over the country. ‘Ron Burgundy’ went from North Dakota to Connecticut, to Los Angeles and New York. Obviously travel costs money but, so does obscurity.
3. Be willing to travel all over the country. ‘Ron Burgundy’ went from North Dakota to Connecticut, to Los Angeles and New York. Obviously travel costs money but, so does obscurity. If nobody knows about your book what was the point in writing it? Your book is a ‘start-up’ spend time and money to promote it. Get your name and your work out there and as far out there as possible. Don’t settle for “hometown press” with the headline “local man/woman publishes book” story.
Take your work and promote yourself across the country. Look to special events like book festivals across the nation that you can tie to your book. Check out my list of book festivals and plan to attend a few.
4. Target internationally. “Comedy is very subject to local and cultural sensibilities,” Andrew Runyon, Paramount’s Vice President of interactive marketing points out.
“It requires a little bit more customization.” In order to be equally relevant and funny in America as well as abroad, Will Ferrell created some videos for markets in the U.K., Ireland, and Australia. How can an author do this? Delve deep into the messages, themes, and characters of your book.
Think about different cultures and how they might perceive your work. Make your book appeal to different nationalities. Show them why your book is as relevant in America as it is in Italy or England. YouTube goes worldwide, so does your Pinterest page and so do most press releases. I get phone calls and inquiries from all over the world requesting my authors conduct interviews.
If you are not trying to get attention worldwide it won’t happen by itself. Check out this clip from Australian TV.
5. Ron Burgundy clips are shown on local newscasts. Context is key. “Part of the reason these clips work so well is that it’s placing Ron Burgundy in a modern context, something that adds a fish-out-of-water element to his already goofy charm,” says Drew Taylor of indiewire.com. Ron Burgundy found his niche in broadcast journalism. Think about where your book fits in best.
A restaurant chef protagonist might sell well in Sur La Table or Williams Sonoma. A murder mystery book might gain press at a murder mystery themed weekend getaway. A lifestyle book may be picked up in a hotel bookstore that’s renowned for team-building activities or company retreats.
6. Stir up a little competition with your readers. AdWeek.com’s Christopher Heine explains,” Working with Zemoga, Paramount is employing a social media-styled casting call. The talent show-like initiative, ‘Join Ron’s News Crew,’ asks people from around the world to audition for the positions of anchor (#TeamRon), meteorologist (#TeamBrick), sportscaster (#TeamChamp) and live reporter (#TeamBrian).” The people auditioning will post their videos online and hashtag which team they’re on. Start your own social media competition. Encourage fans to submit videos, GIFs, artwork, or stories to win a competition of your choosing. Your fans could create the cover art or choose an alternate ending. They could win a day in the life of your lead character or be chosen to have a private lunch with you, the author.
7. Think big, but also think small. The Anchorman II promotional team was especially proud of their collaboration with Tumblr. Nine animated GIFs were pieced together in order to create a socially embeddable poster for the film. Cliff Marks, president of National CineMedia feels it is possible for GIF mashups to be the future of movie posters in this digital age. “These small, chewable formats are a cool way to present your content,” he says. “And the studios are starting to make that content a focus.”
The Bottom Line: Think like Ron Burgundy and consider some non-traditional marketing methods to get your book on the radar. If you ever want to become a top selling author get some swagger, step over the line and steal a line from Ron Burgundy, “I don’t know how to put this but I am kind of a big deal.”
About Book Publicist Scott Lorenz
Book publicist Scott Lorenz is President of Westwind Communications, a public relations and marketing firm that has a special knack for working with authors to help them get all the publicity they deserve and more. Lorenz works with bestselling authors and self-published authors promoting all types of books, whether it’s their first book or their 15th book. He’s handled publicity for books by CEOs, CIA Officers, Navy SEALS, Homemakers, Fitness Gurus, Doctors, Lawyers and Adventurers. His clients have been featured by Good Morning America, FOX & Friends, CNN, ABC News, New York Times, Nightline, TIME, PBS, LA Times, USA Today, Washington Post, Woman’s World, & Howard Stern to name a few.