If your book marketing plan is complete, it should include some submissions for book awards. As an independent author winning a book award increases your credibility, improves your ability to market your books or series, and gives you more solid visibility all over the current book market. Sure, most legitimate book awards have entry fees, but consider it a cost of doing business, just like the price for buying book ads on Amazon or BookBub. If you're ready to take the next step in book marketing, consider these points when thinking about literary awards.
Awards Mean Prestige to the Reader
The main reason for winning an award isn't to praise your work, even though it does feel pretty good to win those prizes. The most important part of being a literary award winner is the elevated view your readers will have of your work. Your books will come pre-approved to readers who have never heard of you, because the award committees do the marketing work for you when they publish their winners lists. Your work will already look like it's on another level of writing, above the average work in your genre, just because it's been judged by a jury and found to be the best.
Entering is as Good as Winning
Even if you don't win the book award you were aiming for, you can use the experience as a valuable marketing tool. Change your book blurb and marketing copy to reflect the fact that your book was "nominated for the X Award." It's perfectly true, and the committee really is considering your book for the prize. For many readers, the fact that your book was nominated will raise its importance and increase its chance of being the book they want to buy.
It's Good for the Book Community
Entering your books into competition is good for the whole book community. Awards need books nominated in order to exist, and the more book awards there are, the more the world of books infringes on entertainment as a whole. Everyone who writes, edits, or publishes books benefits from this, so marketing your own book is also a great way to add to your community. Check out one of the more established literary awards
Keep the Faith and may the Force be with You!