books-cowell_Marketing Tips From Cheri Cowell

In this fiercely competitive book world where readers are overwhelmed with choices, a book with an award immediately stands out from the crowd. Before you jump on the contest bandwagon, here are a few things to consider.

  1. First, know your genre’s awards. Skim the shelves where your book will one day be and you’ll see stickers or emblems on some books with contests/competitions that the publisher felt were worthy of promoting. These are usually the big boy awards, but you’ll also find some niche awards this way, too.
  2. Second, answer the question of fee or free. Free sounds better, but it may not be the best fit for your work. If the contest is perfect for you, then it’s worth paying something. It is also good to have a budget for the amount of money you are willing to invest (fee plus postage) and the number of contests you are planning to enter. More is not always better.
  3. Third, if you win, what do you do? If you win or earn a finalist/honorable mention, then the hard work starts. A win is an opportunity to tell everyone, post a press release, place Award Winner stickers on your book, and re-submit your material to agents and publishers. After all, you’ve earned a second look.

Now that you’ve made these considerations, it is time to decide which contest is best for you. Here is a list to get you started.

Amy Writing Awards ( Submissions must have been previously published in a newspaper, local or national magazine, or on a news website and must contain at least one quote from the Bible. Fee: free, Deadline: January

Christian Retailing’s Best Awards ( Nominations must include clear Christian content, message or worldview. Fee: $60, Deadline: February

Carol Awards  ( Qualifying titles shall be written from a Christian worldview in any Christian fiction genre through a publisher on ACFW’s Recognized Publishers list or be Qualified Independently Published. Fee: $115 non-member, Deadline: March

Illumination Book Awards ( With the motto, “Shining a Light on Exemplary Christian Books,” the Illumination Book Awards are designed to honor the year’s best new titles written and published with a Christian worldview. Cost: $75-$95, Deadline: November

Newberry and Caldecott Medals/Honors Awards ( The purpose of the Newbery Medal is stated as follows: “To encourage original creative work in the field of books for children.” Fee: free, Deadline: December

Cheri Cowell is the author of a new devotional book, 365 Devotions for Peace, released from Zondervan. Her Bible study  Parables and Word Pictures in the AMG Following God Bible study series is a favorite in bookstores everywhere. Her new Bible study One Story, One Mission, One God released in June. Check out her website to learn more

Connect with Cheri Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and you can read her blogs on the second and fourth Saturdays of each month Cheri’s Blog