“Winning a competition is a major endorsement for your book; awards help with book publicity by verifying that your book is head and shoulders above many others,” (iUniverse article 10 Tips for Marketing Your Book). If you’re looking for another marketing avenue for you and your books, writing competitions are an excellent option. Plus with most competitions the awards include cash and/or free marketing, editing, publishing, printing, reviews, etc. Enter into as many competitions as you can to increase your chances. Here is a short list of competitions to check out first.
- The Writer’s Digest has a ton of contests-visit this link for a complete list
- Indie Book Awards
- Betty Trask Prize
- Book Pipeline Competition
- Exeter Novel Prize
- Legend Press Bursary
- Library Journal Indie eBook Awards
- Literary Classics International Book Awards
- Shelf Unbound
- Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award
Top 5 free contests for all genres. List provided by the Write Life. To read through more free contests visit this link.
- L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest
- Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize
- Drue Heinz Literature Prize
- St. Francis College Literary Prize
- Young Lions Fiction Award
Winning a competition will not only validate your skills as a writer to others, but it can make you feel good as well. Winning doesn’t always mean first place either. If you are recognized at all, even an honorable mention, you should consider it a win. Publishers, readers, and agents are more likely to take you seriously and make an effort to read your books if they know you made the effort to enter a competition and then on top of it won an award.
Today people rely heavily on reviews before they buy or try products. This is especially true for movies, books, and basically anything shopped for online. Ideally you should start to gather reviews for your book a year before your release date. Start by asking your friends and family to read your book and have them tell their friends to read it and so on. Then ask them to write a review. Another great way to get a ton of reviews is to offer a free copy of your book. Approach other authors, bloggers, and reviewers. Post on Goodreads and Book Bub. Another tip is to remind the people you approach that a review does not have to be pages long. Even a few sentences will suffice.
Among all of your reviews you will encounter negative comments and critiques of your work and sometimes it will be extremely difficult to hear or read such comments. However, it is important to only take what you need to from those critiques and not let them affect you personally. As Jonathan Franzen stated, “The reader is a friend, not an adversary, not a spectator.” Think of critiques and reviews as free advice, but you have the final say as to how you want to use that advice. Neil Gaiman says it perfectly “Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.”
Charlie Jane Anders wrote an article for Gizmodo about how to better handle criticism. He suggests that you practice giving feedback to other authors and practice writing negative reviews to prepare yourself for receiving negative criticism. He also offers a reminder that, “You’ll never be able to see your work the way other people see it — which is why you need feedback.”
Appreciate that someone cared enough about your work to read it and then took the time to review it honestly. Through having this attitude you and your writings will become better and more refined. Plus the more reviews you have the more likely someone is to be interested in your book.
written by Rachael Storey (guest writer)
“Don’t judge a book by its cover” is a popular English idiom and while the advice is positive and should be followed, the fact is people do judge books by their covers. There are certain colors, images, and fonts that attract more attention. You will also want to choose a font that is legible and easy to read from a short distance. I am guilty of looking at a book and if the cover is boring or the title is difficult to read, then I don’t even make the effort to pick it up and open it.
A Business to Community article by Brian Morris, lists the top 10 most popular colors for marketing materials and the emotions they evoke. Surprise! Red is at the top of the list because it demands attention.
Photo credit: www.pixabay.com
The type of font you use is also vital to the sale success of your novel. Your font should be easy to read, yet also reflect the theme of your book and be appropriate for the audience you are trying to capture. Blog writer Joel Friedlander offers a for instance, “if you’re writing about a topic considered masculine and aimed at a male audience, does it help you to have an overly-embellished or feminine typeface that’s barely readable on your book cover? No, I don’t think so either. Or for a historical romance, you wouldn’t want a modern clean sans serif typeface like Helvetica for your cover. It would simply look dangerously out of place.” Read the rest of his article for more thoughts and ideas on font typefaces for book covers.
Another thing to keep in mind is that it is in your best interest to use a professional designer to put together your cover. A seasoned graphic designer will know which layout, colors, images and fonts will be the most effective for your book. Have the designer create several different options and then you should reveal those samples to your reading audience and conduct a poll to see which ones are favored. Joanna Penn released a list of graphic designers that she would recommend on her blog, The Creative Penn. You can read through that list here.
Your cover is the first thing people will see, design it carefully and people will be more likely to look at your book and say, “I want to read that, it looks interesting.”