The Book Marketing Benefits of Contests, Awards and Book Tours

The Book Marketing Benefits of Contests, Awards and Book Tours
Many speakers have discovered the value of being an author and having a book to add to the streams of revenue while getting their message to new audiences in new ways. For speakers, a book provides you with an opportunity to increase your fee to include your book. You can also wrap presentations around your book and its message.

3 Book Marketing Strategies to Help You Sell More Books

While there are many great book marketing strategies, we’re going to look at 3 in particular that can help you make your book a business: Contests, Awards & Virtual Blog and Book Tours.


#1: Contest Strategies to Sell More Books

Contests can be a way of making your book a business, raising your social presence and influence while also generating more speaking engagements. Contests are not limited just to your book launch. Think about these ways to coordinate your contest with other opportunities:

Contest Calendar Dates:

Whether you time a contest to coincide with a particular holiday or seasonal “beginning and  endings” (end of school year, start of summer, end of tax season, end of the year, etc.), you can tie themes into your contests that will help gain attention at particular times. 

You can also plan your contest and related social media around special observances/awareness days (e.g. Small Business Week, Social Work Week, Random Act of Kindness month, etc.) is an example of an observance listing website you can use to spark ideas. 

Charmaine Hammond has done contests associated with awareness days. For example, she did a school promotion/sale on her children’s books in recognition of Bully Prevention Week. She also did a promotion on a webinar and her books combined during Small Business Week.

Prize Strategy:

There is more value in giving away a contest prize that is not just your book. For example, a gift card to a bookstore (you can ask this to be sponsored) and a copy of your book is a much better prize. Think bigger! The bigger the prize, the bigger the energy and engagement around your contest, which means the larger the number of contest entries. 

If applicable, you can also explore adapting this strategy for in-person speaking events or book signing/reading events. We have seen authors get a beautiful basket of flowers/plants sponsored by a local shop and then, at the end of the signing or speaking engagement, someone wins that prize along with copies of your book. 

Whatever the prize strategy, just remember to CLEARLY state the contest rules, guidelines, and any restrictions (e.g. age, location, number of entries, etc.). 

Contest Promotions:

Be sure to promote your contest(s) on your social media channels. We suggest creating a hashtag for people to easily find and follow the contest. A contest can provide a great opportunity to do live videos and connect with your audience in real time.

Contest Entry Strategy:

Be creative about how people enter the contest. For example, if you are looking to get more eyes on your blog or more engagement on your LinkedIn articles, have people “like” and/or comment on a targeted article to be entered into the draw. Or, depending on where you’re looking for traction, you could ask them to like your Facebook page or book business page and leave a comment like “just entered the contest”. 

An alternate entry strategy is to create a contest page on your website so people opt in and receive a freebie from you and get entered in the contest. You can direct people to a contest landing page in social media promotions or at events where you might be speaking. 

Mistakes to Avoid: Do NOT make writing or providing a book review a requirement for any contest entries. Keep your book reviews authentic. Also, always research and follow the social platform guidelines around contests before you post.

Be Organized and Timely with Contest Results:

We recommend keeping all the files, planning, and resources associated with your contest in one file folder specific to the contest in question so you can easily find and repurpose where possible for future. 

When your contest deadline is reached, take action right away. Contact the winners and be sure to announce the results as soon as possible (and remember to include your contest hashtag when you post on social media). Ensure the prizes are sent or delivered as promised.     

#2: Leveraging Awards

Being a speaker and author who has been nominated for (and won) many awards adds authority and credibility to your brand. Here are some tips to keep in mind about book awards:

  • Before you register (and pay an entry fee) for any book award opportunity, do your due diligence. Check the award out and make sure it is legit.
  • Awards don’t just have to be book related awards. You can earn more impact from business awards, community volunteer awards, etc. Awards highlight credibility for you as an expert in your field, your character, and more.
  • When you win an award or have been nominated for one, it is important to really showcase the event. Add the award to your LinkedIn under “Accomplishments” and in your bio/summary. If possible, include a picture or video that you can add in your LinkedIn media section. It is also helpful to write a post update and/or article on LinkedIn

#3: Virtual Blog and Book Tours:

Victual blog and book tours are powerful strategies to get your book launched, relaunched and to generate reviews and interest in your book. 

The strategy behind a virtual blog and book tour is to have a variety of bloggers who have a reading audience that would be interested in your book all blogging and reviewing your book in a specific period of time (e.g. a one-week or three-week tour).

Additional Ideas:

For more tips on selling your books and securing more paid speaking engagements check out the Virtual Book Tour Boot Camp.

YBAAB: Virtual Book Tour Boot Camp

Leave a Reply 2 comments

Pamela Thompson - September 24, 2022 Reply

Thanks for sharing such creative yet practical strategies Charmaine. With a new book coming up for launch I'm keen to try some of these strategies!

    Stacey Terry - September 26, 2022 Reply

    We hope these strategies work as well for you as they have others, Pamela! All the best!

Leave a Reply: