How to market books using awards (no, you don’t have to win)

How to market books using awards - Featured Image
September 1, 2023
Book Award Pro

Including awards in your marketing strategy is a surprising, ultra-effective way to boost your book’s success. In fact, you don’t even have to win an award to make the most of its marketing potential. Read on to learn how to market books using awards, find contests, and share your achievements.

Awards are the new book marketing

For many authors, marketing can feel like a complicated, time-consuming mess. Why? There are a few reasons yesterday’s book marketing solutions don’t work:

  • It’s outdated. Old school book marketing doesn’t work anymore. With the self-publishing revolution came millions of authors putting their work out into the world. With social media, more voices than ever can be heard. Standing out in such a crowded, competitive market takes smarter, more comprehensive marketing strategies.
  • It takes too much time. Creating and maintaining marketing campaigns to keep up in the competitive author landscape simply takes too much time. Many authors struggle to fit marketing into their busy schedules.
  • It costs too much. If finding the time to market your book seems impossible, outsourcing to a book marketing agency can get the job done for you. The drawback? This type of marketing solution may be outside of many authors’ budgets.

This is the power that awards can bring to your book marketing strategy: they generate the type of reader interest you need to stand out in today’s literary market quickly, easily, and for less money.

How to find awards

The first thing to understand about book awards is that there are thousands of them, covering hundreds of genres, author backgrounds, and stages of publishing. The trick is to find the best ones for you. Often, this feels like finding a needle in a haystack.

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Even on the free version of Book Award Pro, you’ll receive a list of awards for which your book is most eligible. The heavy lifting of finding awards is done for you inside the app. No digging, sorting, or sifting.

Alternatively, you could roll up your sleeves, research awards, and organize them in something like a spreadsheet. The idea is to cast a wide net of possible award programs before submitting to the ones you think you’re best positioned to win.

Start your award-winning journey with Book Award Pro.

We have plans for every author at every stage.

How to use awards to market your book

Document the process

Once you decide which awards to pursue, it’s important to document the submission process as much as possible. Take pictures or videos. Share parts of your submission package. Discuss your progress and take note of your wins. Any and all content you can gather about your award journey is an opportunity to connect with readers.

Engage with readers

The most modern, effective way to market your book to a large audience is through social media. For authors who prefer the DIY route, the award process documentation you’ve gathered in step one is perfect content for your posts.

For authors without the time to build their own social media campaign, Book Award Pro has a Story Marketing feature in the app that automatically creates customized social media posts for fast, easy sharing.

Remember, marketing the entire award journey is more important than simply marketing your award wins. When you market the entire process, you engage authentically with readers each step of the way and maximize the buzz around your book.

Share your progress

One of the most exciting (and marketable!) steps of winning an award is advancing to the next stage of nomination. Some awards may use different terminology, like finalist, honoree, or short-list. Either way, getting to the second or third stage of an award submission is another opportunity to stir up interest around your book.

Add your progress to your book’s online descriptions, book covers, and social media announcements. Be bold, and market an award advancement like it’s a big deal. Because it is!

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Market the entire award journey

What author doesn’t want to win a book award? Winning an award deserves extra attention in your book marketing strategy, and it unlocks new ways to introduce your book to readers. This can include another round of social media, website updates, and redeeming any prizes included in the award.

But what if you still shared every step of the process, even if you didn’t win? You’d reach more readers, impress more buyers, and benefit from endless opportunities to amplify your voice as an author.


Market your book awards journey even if you don’t win! Thank the organization publicly on social media for considering you. Run a sale on your book to celebrate the adventure. Give away signed copies or artwork in a social media contest.

If you maximize the visibility of your book during the process, not winning an award could actually be the best thing that’s ever happened to your work.

What’s better than winning a book award?

Winning another one, of course! But, before you apply for your next book award, take some time to review strengths and weaknesses from your last submission. Make a list of things you could improve for next time. Could you have used video anywhere in your submission? Graphic design? A better synopsis?

If you’re a Book Award Pro user, we’ll continue to match you with new and targeted awards every week, so you’ll always have more awards, more opportunities to win, and more ways to market your book.

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