Let's say you put a lot of work into winning an award -- whether one in your local community or a national award. Do you know how to leverage your award to make the most of it? I'm a believer that even a nomination for an award is "toot-your-horn" worthy. A nomination is recognition whether you win or not. But what about when you actually win the award?\u00a0 That's even better. However, some people are so modest they simply don't know how to leverage an award when they win. I recently spoke to Certified Virtual Author Assistant Corine LaFont, who was a 2013 Small Business Book Awards winner, to find out how she took advantage of her award. How to Leverage an Award The following question and answer interview highlights tips for making the most of an award you've won. Question: How does being a Book Awards winner help you in your business? Has it helped you secure new clients, win other awards, get involved in other awards programs, etc.?\u00a0 Corine LaFont:\u00a0It certainly helped to increase my credibility in the market. It also boosted my self esteem to not only enter another book award, the Writers\u2019 Digest Self-Published Awards, but also attend their Writer's Digest Conference in Los Angeles, CA in 2013. Question: As a winner of the 2013 Small Business Book Awards, how did you use your Gold Seal to promote that fact? Corine LaFont:\u00a0\u00a0Several ways: I placed it on my website on both the\u00a0home page\u00a0and\u00a0media kit. It is on my business card. I used the digital version on my book cover. My\u00a0Book Awards page is hyperlinked in my other marketing materials. I include it in my email signature line and in my bio at the end of my articles in the print newspaper. Also, I mention it in all proposals requested by clients. Question: How much time have you spent in using the seal in your marketing? Corine LaFont:\u00a0\u00a0It\u2019s hard to actually pin down a time spent. But what I can say is that its placement on my business card, media kit page on my website, as well as on the book cover itself is working for me 24/7. Question: What advice would you provide this year's winners to leverage their award?\u00a0 Corine LaFont:\u00a0\u00a0If this is your first time entering an award program, give it your best shot to be in the winner\u2019s circle. The adrenaline rush will keep you motivated. Knowing that you are coming up against some of the best books makes the win even sweeter. It validates that you have something to offer. As a winner, leverage your award by making people aware, without turning them off. Try to highlight the award in as many places as possible without being obnoxious about it. Humility is a great quality. Let others notice and ask about it. When they ask, use that opportunity to share as much as you can. Analyze your win by looking at the number of votes. Also analyze the interaction you received from comments from those who are following and voting for you. Always have social proof by taking screenshots of your win and share them on your social networks. Make use of the press release generator provided by the Book Awards to let the world know of your win and the benefits to your target audience. As a gesture of gratitude, I suggest sending them a free copy of your book. A signed copy will be the icing on the cake. They will become loyal fans and toot your praises.\u00a0Seek to build a long term relationship with them so they can provide feedback and insight to other books or informational products you may wish to create. But most of all, take some time to relish in your win. Smile - you deserve it!