For those of you who do get a book award these next few weeks, I thought I’d give you my thoughts and advice on how to make the best use of your award as far as how to get publicity with it. So many people come to me and say how can I leverage this?
First I’d take a quick breather after getting the award and within a day or two sit down and do some quick research to calibrate what you are really trying to accomplish next.
I’ve written all about pay to play book awards like this before. I’ve worked with dozens and dozens of authors who win or are finalists (which in my book means you were one of several considered) in all sorts of categories by all sorts of organizations. My take it or leave it advice is that they rarely mean anything to anybody from a PR standpoint. They may result in a minor amount of media coverage IF you choose to do an outreach promoting yourself as someone who won an award. They may or may not mean anything as regards actual book sales.
Read all you want: http://blog.directcontactpr.com/category/awards/
Realize that media want quality yes, but they want objective proof and not paid praise. With so many book awards being given out by so many organizations every week and with each author paying to be considered, the “objectivity” is seriously in doubt. Look at what the awarding organization is doing. You’ll likely see they are using it as a promotional vehicle for their own purposes. Their business model is usually very clear to see. $75 per book per category times 60 categories. If they get dozens of books in a category and they can get dozens of volunteers to do reviews, they they can do pretty well.
So media tend to play very carefully since if they publish something and they are wrong, then they get hurt in ways they do not like. The key to being successful with media is to give them quality content anyway, and not a medal that says “I came in second place in a pay to participate commercial contest”.
But as I said, the proof is in the pudding. My rule of thumb is simple. If it works, do more of it. If it doesn’t, then do something else.
As Colin Powell said, “Don’t let a little bad data get in the way of a good decision.”
My best suggestion on how to use a book award in your copy writing and news releases is to study what is being published by media and see and learn how the book award information is being used and incorporated into stories. You can do this online by using news search engines.
I just did this for the key words:
There are several interesting things you can learn by studying the results.
1. This is the season! There are lots of little local stories about book award winners.
2. The book award information is in the headline half the time. The book, the author and the importance of the book or the ideas surrounding the book are the lead.
3. Most of the stories being published feature the top award winners. Stories about authors who receive second or third place are much less frequent.
4. The biggest media write articles which feature the books who receive the top national awards in the top national literary contests.
5. The regional and local media writer about the lesser well-know or recognized awards.
You can also do a search on the words “book award nominated”:
book award nominated http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&gl=us&tbm=nws&q=book+award+nominated&oq=book+award+nominated&aq=f&aqi=d2&aql=&gs_l=news-cc.12..43j43i400.1776.6262.0.8518.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.488.5j1.6.0…0.0.
Here you’ll pick up a few additional news clips and see that many authors are creating news releases which they submit to several of the online news release distribution services. But most of the articles that you’ll see don’t cover books that are nominated. A few do mention these especially when it is coupled with other newsworthy facts.
One of the more amazing things I learned when I did this search and studied the results is that there are tons of book awards. Just in the top ten pages of these two searches, I was able to make a list of over 50 different individually named book awards in the current window of news coverage (two to three weeks):
Commonwealth Writers Book Award
City of Calgary W. O. Mitchell Award
Next Generation Indie Book Award
Hawaii Book of the Year Award
Nautilus Book Award
USA Book Award
IPPY Book Award
Ben Franklin Book Award
National Book Award
California Book Award
Harvard Book Award
UK Christian Book Award
Grampian Children’s Book Award
BC Award for Best Canadian Non-Fiction Book
BC Award for National Business Book
Children’s Choice Book Award
National Business Book Award
Arizona Book Award
LA Times Book Award
New England Book Award
US National Book Award
Reader Views Book Award
Dartmouth Book Award
Vadaphone Crossword Book Award
McNally Robinson Aboriginal Book Award
Governor’s Literary Book Award
Julia Ward Howe Book Award
National Outdoor Book Award
PEN/Beyond Margins Award
Independent Book Award
Catholic Book Award
Corretta Scott King Book Award
Schneider Book Award (ALA)
Flicker Tale Book Award
Human Rights Book Award
Michigan Notable Book Award
Irish Book Award
International Reader’s Association Book Award
Jane Addam’s Children’s Book Award
Great Lakes Book Award
Saskatewan Book Award
AAPOR Book Award
Christianity Today book Award
American Book Award
Robert F. Kennedy Book Award
Northern Minnesota Book Award
Toronto Book Award
Phi Eta Sigma Book Award
Science Fiction Book Award
Hugo Book Award
Newberry book Award
Trillium Book Award
Ohioana book Award
Indiana Young Hoosier Book Award
Pushcart Press Editors Book Award
Now multiply by the number of categories, and then by 3 for gold, silver and bronze for the top three prizes in each category, and you’ll get a picture of how many people are getting awards and potentially competing for news coverage using book awards as a factor this week.
If you are going to create a news release and seek publicity for your award, then here my suggestions on the essential facts you need to include in your copy:
1. headline – Author wins prize/award
2. one sentence killer – knock their socks off description of what the book is about
3. unusual or interesting facts about the situation/the book/the author/the topic/the issues
4. the specifics of the award – what, where when, or how much and why is this award so important and prestigious
5. three to four paragraphs about the book, who it features, what’s amazing about it, why people will like it
6. basic book facts and marketing information so people can find it and buy it
7. author bio and information
8. book cover photo and author photo
9. contact information
10. offer for review copy and interviews if you want to offer these items.
Finally, once you have the news release written, it needs to be distributed to the right media. Proper targeting will maximize your chances of getting the right type of coverage in front of the people you can interest and help the most. So a children’s book needs to go to children’s media and editors, and a travel book needs to go to travel book media and editors and so forth.
You’ve worked hard to get this award. So congratulations. I hope this helps you take a few more steps in a positive direction so you can make the most of it.
If you get an award and want my help finalizing your news release and creating the right custom media list and getting the word out, just call me or send me an email with the facts and the book cover jpeg.