Leveraging Book Awards

by Stephanie Barko

Book awards are one of the most effective and affordable means of gaining recognition for independent publishers and authors.  Entering competitions and having your title win an award instantly labels you an award winning author.  Whether the award increases book sales or not, it conveys a higher level of credibility for small presses and authors, and differentiates their title among others.

Here are some tips for leveraging book awards that you have won.

  • Buy and affix award stickers to your book’s cover. 
  • Upload the stickered version of the cover to Amazon, publisher’s catalogs, your website, blog & social media presences.
  • Announce the win in the trades, like Publishers Weekly, especially when a bulk buy could result.
  • Distribute keyworded press releases to consumer markets and journalists.
  • Display your award when exhibiting at book festivals and trade shows.
  • Hang a poster with your award on it where your book is on display, like at Book Expo.
  • Include award stickers on book flyers sent to bookstores.  Let retailers know when media is being done in their area and when the author will be touring there.
  • Prepare for attention from wholesalers and distributors who track award winning titles.
  • Mention the award to interest book clubs in previewing and selecting the title..

In the end, it may be difficult to evaluate what an award has done for you and your book, but that may be because it is hard to measure the value of an enhanced reputation. 

Good luck completing your award applications, and when you win, remember to leverage your award.

Stephanie Barko, Literary Publicist was interviewed in the September 2014 issue of Writer’s Digest. This spring, she was honored to present with John Kremer, Penny Sansevieri, and Joan Stewart in Denver at Author Extravaganza. Stephanie’s award winning clients include both traditionally and independently published nonfiction and historical fiction authors.  Visit Stephanie at

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As summer unfolds many authors who entered their books in award competitions a few months ago are getting the news—some are finalists, some take first place. Author U has gotten notification of several members who have earned recognition from book awards, with the latest being the National Indie Excellence Awards.  Congratulations to Roger Frame (Don’t Carve the Turkey with a Chainsaw), Cathy Hawk and Gary Hawk (Get Clarity), Lynn McLeod (From Simms to Zanzibar) and John Maling (Have You Ever Held a Mountain?).


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