Book awards for self-published authors abound and entering is a great idea.

Let’s take a look at the book awards out there for indie publishers.

How to Choose a Book Award

Indie book awards may be focused on nonfiction, fiction or poetry books, or may be open to all three. Some are targeted at books for specific audiences, such as children and LGBTQ. Many book awards include categories for all genres. Make sure to screen the awards and enter your book in the right contest and category. You will also need to check the requirements for publication dates. Contests tend to focus on recently published books.

To help you choose which book awards for self-published authors to enter, we’ve compiled a list, which you can view here. Our methodology for compiling this list of book awards was to choose all the awards that the Alliance of Independent Authors listed on their website as Recommended or Mixed based on feedback from authors. We then updated the information for each award with closing dates for 2020.

One method of screening book awards is to look for contests that are being administered by recognizable companies in the indie publishing world. For example, IngramSpark, Library Journal and Biblioboard partner on the Indie Author Project. The Independent Book Publishers Association sponsors the IBPA Ben Franklin Awards and the Foreword holds the Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards. We also like the Eric Hoffer Book Award, but the cut-off date for that has just passed. Get ready for next year!

How to Enter Book Awards for Self-published Authors

About those closing dates: there is no standard for when contests close, but January 31 is popular and the Spring is definitely book awards season! Others take submissions throughout an entire season (e.g., all Spring or Fall), while others take submissions on an ongoing basis throughout the year. Once you’ve chosen some book awards to enter, note the closing dates on your calendar.

Book awards tend to charge submission fees. The fees for the ones on our list are reasonable (more or less) and we assume are used by the book awards towards the costs of administering the contest and for prizes.

Entry or registration instructions are on the website for each book award. Note that some book awards include early bird dates with a reduced submission fee. So, while you can enter your book up until the deadline, you can save money by entering it by the early bird date.

Why Enter Book Awards?

Entering a book award will do little for your book sales, even if you win. How you take advantage of your win is what counts. Here are some tips on what to do if you win:

  • Get a digital copy of the book award logo to put on digital images of your book cover. This can include book cover images on your website, social media and Amazon. See our Award-winning Books page for an example.
  • Update your website and social media profiles with your book cover featuring the award logo and add the words “Award-winning Book!” wherever it makes sense.
  • Create and send out a press release about your win with some background on the book award. Send it to local media and bookstores, and offer to do a reading at the bookstores and the library.
  • Create posts on social media regarding your win with a link to the award. Posts can include any nice words that the judges say about your book.
  • Update your Author Page and Book Page on Amazon with information about your win; you can update your book description on Amazon at any time, so why not add the fact that it’s an award-winning book?

Some book awards offer cash prizes, so there’s that as well.

Additionally, the judges’ comments offer great feedback for you. Some book awards, particularly those that accept entries year-round, provide reviews of your book. While reading a somewhat negative review can be painful, every review offers good feedback should you revise the book or write another one in the future. Positive reviews can, of course, be added to your website, Amazon page and social media.

Finally, let your publishing team (such as 1106 Design) know about your win, as they will be pleased to celebrate along with you. Here at 1106 Design, we add winning books to our Award-winning Books page, providing our authors with an opportunity to link back to that page in their social media. Authors need to jump on every chance to promote themselves, which means a social media post every time their win is mentioned!

You can feel confident entering Book Awards for Self-Published Authors with the 1106 Design publishing team on your side. Contact us today to discuss your new book.