Thursday, October 17, 2019

Book Marketing Through Writing Contests

by Susan U. Neal RN, MBA, MHS @SusanNealYoga

Contests are an excellent promotional tactic for authors. When your book is a finalist in a competition, you can use that information to promote it through many outlets. Entering book contests should be a part of every author’s marketing plan. This article will help authors navigate the process.

Do you typically enter your book, and other types of writing, into contests? To some, it seems daunting to enter your book in a competition against other authors who may write better than you. However, even if you don’t win, your name may be called during the ceremony or placed on promotional material. Name recognition is beneficial. If the person who read and judged your book liked it, she may tell others about it too. 

Do an internet search to find contests—the better known the award, the more significant the payoff. Check to see how long the contest has been around and the group that sponsors it. Is a conference associated with the competition? Will you be attending? If yes, plan on entering.

Check the rules to ensure your submission is eligible. Carefully follow the contest guidelines. Many contestants get disqualified because they did not follow the instructions.

There is nothing like sitting in the audience of an award ceremony when you entered a submission in the contest. The anticipation is tantalizing. When your name is called the exhilaration is phenomenal. You experience emotions that can’t be put into words. The personal satisfaction of winning after all the hours of grueling editing is profound. If you don’t win, yes, it is disappointing. But there’s always next time. About the only thing you lose is your entry fee.

If your submission placed first, second, or third you are considered a winner. After winning, you receive a PNG file of the emblem as well as a certificate. Add the contest emblem to your book cover. 

Books that win contests demonstrate to the reader that this book is superior. Adding the gold seal to the cover is an excellent marketing technique that propels book sales. After my book, 7 Steps to Get Off Sugar and Carbohydrates, won the 2018 Selah award, I added the gold seal to the cover, and for the next eight months this book sold over 300 copies per month. Awards boost sales and lengthen the life of books.

A literary agent or publisher is more likely to offer you a contract if you are an award-winning writer. After my unpublished Bible study won third place at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference Foundation Awards, the Hartline literary agent, Cyle Young, offered to represent me. Winning contests demonstrate that you are a superior writer. 

An award increases the value of the book in the eyes of the reader. If a consumer is choosing between two books and one has a little gold emblem, that is the one the reader will most likely choose. Work with your publisher to get that seal on your cover.

Add to your bio and book proposals that you are an award-winning author. When querying magazines, podcasts and television shows include the information regarding your book’s award. Awards increase the validity of you as an author.

Promote your win through all your social media outlets. You could also market your book through ads on Amazon, Facebook, and magazines. Recently, my book, Healthy Living Journal, won the 2019 Golden Scrolls contest for “Best Inspirational Gift Book.” I am using that tagline to advertise my book for the Christmas season.

My local and regional newspapers have published press releases announcing the awards of my books. Some of these press releases have been one-fourth of the newspaper page. Think of the readership and how many more individuals will know about my book from reading this article.

As you plan for conferences you will attend, consider entering the conference contest. If you don’t have a book, submit an article or short story. Research other contests and enter your book in several of them. One of my books won first place in one competition and third in another. If you win, you can reap the benefits through marketing, and your book sales will soar.

Writing Contests can be a valuable book marketing tool - tips from @SusanNealYoga on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Susan U. Neal, RN, MBA, MHS
Susan’s mission is to improve the health of the body of Christ. She has her RN and MBA degrees, as well as a master’s in health science. She is a CERTIFIED HEALTH AND WELLNESS COACH with the American Association of Christian Counselors. She published five books, the Selah award winner 7 STEPS TO GET OFF SUGAR AND CARBOHYDRATES, CHRISTIAN STUDY GUIDE FOR 7 STEPS TO GET OFF SUGAR AND CARBOHYDRATESHEALTHY LIVING JOURNALSCRIPTURE YOGA a #1 Amazon best-selling yoga book, and YOGA FOR BEGINNERS which ranked #3. She published two sets of Christian Yoga Card Decks and two Christian Yoga DVDs that are available at CHRISTINAYOGA.COM. Her digital product HOW TO PREVENT, IMPROVE, AND REVERSE ALZHEIMER’S AND DEMENTIA is a great resource. To learn more about Susan visit her website SUSANUNEAL.COM You can also connect with Susan on FACEBOOKTWITTER, and INSTAGRAM.


  1. Thanks for opening a new line of thought, Susan. Very interesting.

  2. My children's book, "Licky the Lizard" has recently won two awards. I added "Award Winning Author" to signature line. :-)

  3. Awesome. I wonder if one of the award emblems could be added to your cover. Two of my books have won two awards. However, when I tried to add to emblems to the cover it was too crowded. I think one contest emblem is enought.

    1. I totally agree and came to the same conclusion. I award emblem is enough.

  4. Good inspiration & advice. We writers are always looking for ways to market. It’s time I took the plunge!

  5. Good Idea and good ideas are hopeful to make contacts.