Do book awards mean anything?
Book Award Pro
Do book awards mean anything? The short answer is yes, they can mean a great deal for an up and coming author, or veteran of the industry. But there's quite a bit of nuance to this answer as well. Most authors think of the big, well known book awards like the Pulitzer or the Nebula Awards. But for every one of those, there's hundreds of smaller awards that may give only modest prizes and have a limited visibility for you as an author. Since applying for a book award takes time and money, you're not wrong to ask yourself what the value really is. At Book Award Pro, we believe that every award can be valuable. If you're focused on the "prestige" of the book, you're focused on the wrong thing. Likewise, the prizes are less important (but sometimes, they definitely help). Instead here's a couple ways that book awards can really matter.
Book awards serve as "social proof"
Social proof is a simple concept: you're more likely to consider things that are popular with others. You probably don't buy products online with zero reviews. And you almost certainly don't buy products with mainly negative reviews. When you see an ad on social media, you probably check to see if that ad has likes, shares, or comments when you evaluate it. Books are the same. With more than 2 million books published each year, the market is flooded with low quality content, and readers know this. They scrutinize your book page looking for a professional cover, book description, and positive reviews. They are looking for signals that your book is legitimate. Nothing passes the social proof test quite like a book award. It means that your book was read and enjoyed by professional readers and critics. Not just friends and fans leaving bias reviews. If you can display a book award prominently on your sales pages, you'll quickly pass the smell test from your prospective readers.
Book awards validate you as an author
Maybe you don't need something like a book award to feel like a legitimate author, but it probably won't hurt. If you find yourself battling imposter syndrome, just know that it's very normal. After all, you published a book (or self-published), but you certainly don't belong in the same bucket as real authors. Right?
If it helps, many famous authors said they felt like frauds well into their writing career. Sometimes external validation helps author jump over that mental hurtle.
Validation may not seem very tangible, but you may be surprised how it translates to real-world opportunities. Guest posts on blogs, book signings, podcasts, all of these things become considerably easier when you can introduce yourself as an award-winning author.
They don't give awards to bad books
Sure, there's plenty of award-winning books that we don't personally fancy. Sparkly vampires? Not for us.
But as a rule, books with huge problems in their story, editing, formatting, or presentation aren't going to win awards. And that's a good thing. If someone doesn't like your book, you'd rather have them cite the plot or characters. But no author wants to get a one star review because a book is riddled with errors or "just plain bad."
So yes, an award means that your book has objective quality. Even better, your potential readers will know this. That means more eyes on your work, and hopefully more sales. Speaking of sales.
Book awards mean more sales . . .if you market them correctly.
Book awards can mean more book sales, but not automatically. Once you win awards, the world doesn't magically get the news. Marketing your book awards is so important, we wrote whole article about what to do after you win. But here's some starter tips:
Inform your followers
If you're a Book Award Pro user, we can automatically craft messages for your various social media channels in your "connect with readers" section. Otherwise, you want to announce to your email list, your social channels, and even local media outlets
Run a sale
Consider running a special sale to celebrate your win. Make it a limited time offer. If you sell your book on sites like Amazon, you can use their "countdown sales" to create some urgency.
Do a giveaway or contest
Make it fun! Ask people to tag your account or share your news on social media for a free copy. Ask them to share their favorite parts of the book, solicit fan art or cosplay.
Update your cover and artwork
Put an award winner seal on your front cover, book description, and website. Update your author photo to a picture of you holding an award certificate. You can even list your awards on the inside cover of your book.
If you're convinced . . .
If you want to get a sense of what book awards you are eligible for, you can always create a free account at Book Award Pro and get matches in seconds for your book. After that, we can give you research on each award organization and targeted matches for you. We can even submit your books for consideration on your behalf. If you want to see what we've done for other authors, check out our testimonials.