Granted, sometimes books come out right before the submission deadlines for some awards programs chosen by authors, so early submissions are no longer an option. Yet with advanced planning, a book launching can always be synchronized to contests deadlines, literary magazine guidelines, and important marketing calendar dates. If it is too late for the current book in production, creating a synchronized publishing calendar, program, and plan for the next title in the works will definitely give the best chance possible for the title to make good sales, especially if it can get to the hands of awards judges early. Following are a few benefits of submitting early:
· An early submission gets to judges with a blank slate on what the standard curve of the contest will be. Remember, books are graded by judges as they are read, so it makes sense to try to get a book to them before they have read a hundred submissions in the same category, in my opinion, in hopes of being judged before other strong competitors raise the bar.
· If the contest offers a book review with it, sometimes the review gets posted on their page shortly after it is produced. This not only gives the author a view of what the judge might think about it, it also gives the author a tool to use to get followers, buyers and to create anticipation with their fans. From the marketing point of view, all of this interaction brings new visitors to the author page, improving opportunity for sales.
· By sending submissions early, the author can focus on all other aspects of the title’s launch, events and other publicity efforts.
· Many awards programs offer early entry discounts, which always helps the budget.
All that said, clarification is needed on entering a contest early. By no means should ARC’s be sent to a contest, even if sending early. The books sent should be the final product, as they are subject to judging with the intent to score a placement. Although advanced copies are great to send to reviewers, they are not the best idea when sending to a literary awards program.