Have you tried submitting your books to win awards? Here are the 30 book awards for self published authors in 2023 that you must know.
One amazing way to get your book to sell more copies is by getting it submitted to win awards. But there are a lot of questions about which awards you should apply for. Well, it depends upon the kind of book that you have and a lot of other factors, and that is what we're going to discuss today.
So, regarding book awards for self-published authors, let's get right into it, and I want to make sure I get these correct because some of these awards I have not personally applied for any of my books, but other awards I have looked deeply into, and some of them I even use to decide which books I'm going to read by looking to see who won the awards.
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1. The IndieReaders Discovery Award
The first award for self-published books is the IndieReader Discovery Award. The Indie Reader Discovery Award is an annual award program that recognizes outstanding Indie published books across a range of genres.
So, it doesn't matter what kind of book you have; you'll be able to apply for this specific award. The award is judged by a panel of publishing experts, and the winners are announced at the Book Expo America.
The other thing to remember with this one is winning books receive exposure to literary agents, publishers, and book buyers, helping to launch the careers of independent authors. So, this specific one is even better because of those authors who end up winning this award.
It's not just they send you something in the mail; you can get in touch with different options. Maybe you can even get your book traditionally published as well with these different people based upon who's winning the thing.
2. The Independent Publisher Book Awards
The next one is the Independent Publisher Book Awards. Now, the Independent Publisher Book Awards, or IPPY is an annual book competition recognizing excellence in independent publishing.
It's a little bit like the first one because we are still dealing with Indie authors or self-publishers. The awards program is open to authors and publishers worldwide who have produced a book that is printed in English and intended for the North American market.
Now, keep in mind some of these book awards are regionally based, and that would be the case here, where they're specifically targeting North America. The IPPY has more than 90 categories that cover a wide range of genres, including fiction, non-fiction, poetry, children's books, and more.
Winners receive recognition, exposure, and a chance to boost their book's visibility and credibility. And this is real, this is important with that last line there because we're looking at how to go about boosting our book so that it will be in front of more eyes, and book awards are a fantastic way to do exactly that.
3. The Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Award
Next, the Foreword Indies Book of the Year Award. The Foreword Indies Book of the Year Award is an annual book competition that honors the best independently published books, which is again the same as the other two preceding it.
The awards program is open to all independently published books, including those from small presses, university presses, and self-published authors. There's going to be a bit more competition with this particular award.
The awards are judged by a panel of librarians and booksellers who evaluate each book based on its editorial excellence, professional production, originality of content, and more. Winners receive recognition and exposure, helping to increase their visibility and sales.
Now, in one sense, it has some advantages, but in another sense, it's not the same level of advantages that you get with it because you are going to be competing against more people here. Does that make sense, with the university presses and such? So you should keep that in mind when you're going to go this particular route.
4. The Next Generation Indie Book Awards
The next one is The Next Generation Indie Book Awards. The Next Generation Indie Book Awards is an annual book competition for independently published books, so the same as the other ones we're looking at.
The awards program is open to all independent authors and publishers worldwide, including small presses, university presses, and self-published authors, which has a lot in common with the last one we read about.
The competition has more than 70 categories covering a wide range of genres, including fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, and more. The winners receive recognition, exposure, and a chance to boost their book's visibility and credibility.
Now, the thing to keep in mind with this is that we noticed that we didn't have a lot of the same level of caliber of people where they were going to do the awards ceremony, and people who might be looking at possibly traditionally publishing your books. So that's another thing to remember, but maybe that would decrease some of the competition you'd be facing.
5. The Best Indie Book Award
The next one is the Best Indie Book Award. Now, the Best Indie Book Award may refer to a specific book award created by a particular organization or individual to recognize excellence in independent publishing.
The criteria and submission guidelines for the Best Indie Book Award would depend on the specific award program and also from one year to another, so it's not always the same. Additionally, there are no widely recognized authors and publishers interested in competing for independent book awards.
This gives you a lot of options because, like some of the ones we were talking about earlier, such as IPPY or Forward Indies and some of these other ones, these are ones you're going to want to compare with the Best Indie Book Award.
6. The National Indie Excellence Awards
Moving along, the National Indie Excellence Awards or NIEA is an annual book competition recognizing independent authors and publishers for excellence in publishing. So we saw a little bit of that in the previous ones.
The awards program is open to books from all genres and categories, including fiction, non-fiction, poetry, children's books, and more. Now, some of the ones we're going to discuss later on are going to be isolated and focused on specific genres, and the awards are judged by a panel of experts from various fields.
The winners receive recognition, exposure, and increased visibility and credibility. This is such an important point to consider when weighing the advantages and disadvantages of different competitions.
You need to pay attention to whether it's exactly your kind of book and who will be judging the book. In some cases, it could be librarians or your peers, while in other cases, it could be a larger group of people. It depends on which one will work best for you.
7. Eric Hoffer Book Award
Moving on to the Eric Hoffer Book Award is an annual book competition that honors independently published books for exceptional merit, similar to the previous ones.
The awards program is open to all independently published books, including those from self-published authors, small presses, academic presses, and other non-traditional publishing houses.
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This means that as long as it's not traditionally published, you're set. Winning the award provides the same visibility as the previous ones.
8. Writer's Digest Self-Published Ebook Award
Moving along, The Writer's Digest self-published ebook award is an annual competition that honors outstanding self-published ebooks. This is interesting because now we're looking at ebooks, which some of the other awards did not cover. It is open to all self-published authors in a variety of genres, including fiction, non-fiction, and poetry.
Winning this award gives you the same advantages as the others, allowing you to leverage more sales for your book and gain visibility. You should have a lead magnet in your book to expand your email list, and the competition itself can help expand the number of people on your list, which will help with reviews and such.
9. Rubery Book Prize
The final one in this category is the Rubery Book Prize. It is an international book award that celebrates independently published books from around the world. And the awards program is open to all independent authors, including some of these independent houses.
Just as long as it's not traditionally published, then you're set and you're going to be able to get the exposure that you need from this particular award like we saw on some of the other ones.
Awards for Unpublished Manuscripts
Now, moving on to the next category, awards for unpublished manuscripts.
10. Autumn House Prize for Fiction
So, the first one is the Autumn House Prize for Fiction. This one's an annual book award honoring outstanding works of fiction. Now, see, this is where we're starting to get into specific genres or specific things that they're going to do, and it's open to fiction writers regardless of nationality or publication history.
You're going to be able to use this, right? The awards are judged by a panel of esteemed writers and editors, as opposed to librarians, which may be positive or negative. It depends upon what type of audience your books are written to.
The judges evaluate the manuscripts based on their literary quality, originality, and potential for publication. Winners receive a cash prize and a publishing contract with Autumn House Press, and this is the reason why it's for unpublished manuscripts.
These are for books for which you haven't even published the book, and these houses wish to get the first chance at these amazing books that you're writing. So, this contest isn't just about winning some sort of monetary prize but getting your book published by one of these houses here.
11. Nilsen Literary Prize
The next one is the Nilsen Literary Prize, which is an annual book award honoring outstanding unpublished manuscripts in poetry, fiction, and non-fiction. It's open to all writers regardless of your history, nationality, or residence publication history.
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So, it doesn't even matter. None of those things matter. They're simply going to ignore it. The awards are judged by a panel of esteemed writers and editors, just like we had in that last one, who evaluate the manuscripts based on the same things we were looking at before.
But the winners receive cash prizes and a publishing contract with the Southeast Missouri State University Press, so it's going to help you publish your book through the publishing house they have at the University there. So, that's also something to take him on now.
Awards for Traditionally Published Books
The next category is awarded for traditionally published books. Now, I know I told you self-published, but these are some of my favorites in terms of using them to figure out some of the best books that are on the market.
12. National Book Awards
The first one would be the National Book Awards. The National Book Awards is one of the most prestigious book awards in the United States, honoring outstanding works of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, translated literature, and young people's literature. The awards program is open to all American authors.
Now, you see there's where the limitation part starts to come in here a little bit, right? American authors, regardless of whether they are published by traditional or independent presses. The awards are judged by a panel of esteemed writers, and all of these, and the winners receive recognition, exposure, and a cash prize.
So this one doesn't get you it because you have already published the book, and that's something to remember, right? And also, this is for traditionally published books, which is the key focus there.
13. The International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award
The next one is the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. This one is a prestigious annual literary award that recognizes outstanding works of fiction in any language, as long as they are available in English translation.
So, that's the only restriction, so just make sure you have an English version, which you should have anyways because look at the size of the English-speaking market. It is massive. They are buying books by the dozen.
People are buying them up like crazy, and so it's really important, no matter which language you do your book in, to make sure you at least have it also in English, and that'll also make you eligible for this award.
If you happen to have a traditionally published book, the awards program is open to books normally nominated by public libraries from around the world, and it's judged by a panel of independent judges, and there you can get yourself a cash prize and international recognition for your book.
14. The Encore Award
The next one is the Encore Award, an annual literary award that recognizes outstanding second novels published in the UK and Ireland. Now, there's an important point right there: if you're in the US, I'm sorry, you're not eligible for this particular one.
The awards program is open to authors who have previously published a novel, so they call it the second, and their second novel must have been published in the previous year. So, they don't want you to apply for a book you put out 10 years ago; it's got to be in the last year for that second book.
The award is judged by a panel, again of the same usual suspects with writers and critics and such as they're going through it, and the winner receives cash prizes and recognition.
15. Women's Prize for Fiction
The next one is the Women's Prize for Fiction. I'll give you a hint: it's probably not a bunch of guys applying for this one. Here, the Women's Prize is an annual literary award that celebrates and promotes outstanding fiction written by, well, women from around the world. Well, that makes complete sense.
The awards program is open to novels written in English, regardless of the author's nationality, but you see they do need to have it in English, and you need to be a woman if you wish to do it. If you happen to win this particular award.
16. The Booker Prize
Then the Booker Prize - one of the most prestigious literary awards in the world - honors outstanding work of fiction written in English and published in the UK.
So, there are three more constraints on it, right? It's open to all authors who are citizens of the UK, Commonwealth, or the Republic of Ireland, as well as authors who have written in English and have been published in the UK. It's judged again by the same people as the previous one.
17. PEN/Hemingway Award for Debut Novel
Then we have the Pen Hemingway Award for debut level, which would be like your first one, right? It's an annual literary award recognizing outstanding first novels written by American authors. Those are two: it has to be your first novel, and you have to be an American author.
The awards program is open to all American authors who have published their first novel in the previous year. So, you cannot do it. This, if it's been a really long time ago, and the award is judged by the same people as the previous one, with a reward of a cash prize and all of the recognition that you get.
18. PEN Open Book Award
The final one in this category is the Pet Peeve and/or PEN Open Book Award, an annual literary award recognizing outstanding works of literature written by authors of color. So, this would be for people with white skin, not so much one you would want to apply for.
The awards program is open to all authors of color who are citizens or residents of the United States. The next one and I've published a book in the previous year, so if those three things match, then this could be definitely for you.
You stand to earn a cash prize and get recognition, which could result in additional sales for your book. Then there are some specific ones.
We already had some general genres that we were hitting, but here are some genre-specific ones.
19. Horror: Bram Stoker Award
Like in horror, it'd be the Bram Stoker Award, a literary award recognizing outstanding works of horror fiction and poetry written in English. It's open to all authors who write horror fiction poetry that has been done in the last year, so that's another important one.
It's judged by a whole bunch of people. And the winner receives, here's the key, recognition from the Horror Writers Association and their peers in the horror writing community, which is fantastic.
20. Science Fiction and Fantasy: The Hugo Award
Here comes one that I like to use when trying to figure out books to read, and it's the Science Fiction Fantasy Hugo Award. The Hugo is an annual award that recognizes outstanding works of science fiction and fantasy.
So, this is a really powerful one when you're trying to find a book to read. I like to use the Hugo Award, it's open to all writers who published works of science fiction and fantasy in the last year. And what do you get?
Well, the winner is going to receive recognition from the World Science Fiction Society and their peers in the science fiction and fantasy writing community who recognize them as having won this award. That is a huge accomplishment if you ever happen to win it.
21. Science Fiction and Fantasy: Nebula Awards
But there's not just one; there's another one - the Science Fiction Fantasy Award, the Nebula Award. I use both Hugo and Nebula. What I'm trying to decide is an annual one that recognizes outstanding works of science fiction and fantasy, just like the last one was a little bit.
It's open to all writers who have published one of these science fiction books in the previous year and are members of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America organization. You have to also be a member of the organization itself if you wish to go this route.
But what are you going to get? Well, the winner receives recognition from the peers of the Science Fiction and Fantasy writing community. So, you're not getting so much on that front, but this is like a massive award for that.
22. LGBT: Lambda Literary Awards
Then you have the LGBT Lambda Literary Awards. It's an annual literary award recognizing outstanding works of literature written by and for the LGBTQ community. These awards are open to all authors who have published works that reflect the LGBTQ+ experience in the previous year.
And what do we get for this particular one? You see, the winners receive recognition for their achievement and their contribution to LGBTQ+ literature. So, that's another thing to keep in mind on that one if your book happens to fall into that category.
23. Children's: Newbery Medal
Now, in terms of children's books, we have the Newbery Medal. And this one's also an annual award for outstanding works of children's literature written by American authors.
You have to be an American to qualify and the awards program is open to all authors who have published works of children's literature in the previous year. You're going to receive recognition for your book, which can make a difference.
24. Christian Fiction: The Christy Awards
When it comes to Christian fiction, there's the Christie Awards, another annual one for outstanding works of Christian fiction. It's open to all authors who have published a book on Christian fiction in the last year, and the winners receive recognition for their achievement and their contribution to the field of Christian literature.
25. Political Writing: Orwell Prize
For political writing, there's the Orwell Prize, which gives out annual awards for political writing, including books, journalism, and essays. It's a really big deal.
26. Mystery: The Edgar Awards
For mystery, there are the Edgar Awards, named after Edgar Allan Poe. They also give out annual awards for mystery fiction, non-fiction, and television, making it an expansive award that gives you the ability to get out there. And there are no specific awards that we found for horror writing.
27. Crime Writing: The Daggers
For crime writing, it's the Daggers. It's again an annual one recognizing outstanding works of crime writing, including fiction and non-fiction, so it's a little bit broader. But you have to have done it also within the last year.
28. Romance: RITA Awards
For romance, it's the RITA Awards and the Read Awards. It's an annual literary award recognizing outstanding works of romance fiction in various sub-genres, including contemporary, historical, paranormal, and romantic suspense.
So, it hits a lot of the different ones there, and you can make your contribution that way. And if you win it, you know that it's not like you get a contract, but it's worth getting it just in terms of getting your name out there and finding new readers.
29. Young Adult: The Michael L. Printz Award
For young adults, the Michael L. Pence Award has a lot of the same things that we had on the other ones, and the winners receive recognition for their achievement and their contribution to the field because the award is named in honor of Michael L. Printz, who was a school librarian and advocate for young adult literature who passed away in 1996.
30. Young Adult Debut: The Morris Award
And for young adult debut, that would be the Morris Award, and that would be people for their debut works of young adult fiction. It's honoring Morris, a celebrated book editor and advocate for young adult literature who also passed away in 1996. Seems like a lot of them passed away then, right?
So, it'll be judged by a panel of industry professionals and such. Just keep in mind that if you win these awards, you can use that as a basis for your book blurbs on your book covers. You can use it all over the place to establish the validity of your books.
As you can see, there's a really wide range of books that you have as options that you can try to win and research a little bit closer. What does it take? What are they looking for? And the best way to do that is to look at the previous winners of these exact contests and then figure out if your book is a book that looks like those winners.
Because if it does, these may be the ones you're going to want to enter your book in. But my question for you today is: have you ever entered your book to win an award in a book award contest?
And if you did, did you win? I want to know below in the comments because it will help me understand better where exactly you're at in the self-publishing journey. Check above me here for more video answers to your self-publishing questions.