Take it from IndieReader, one of the leading book review sites for indie and self-published authors:

“Winning the right book award can be a catalyst for discovery. And with this type of discovery a self-published author and their work out of obscurity and into the spotlight. … While all independent author book awards programs work a bit differently, they all have the same goal: helping self-published authors get their book into the hands of more readers. Recognition from a prominent panel of judges can increase a book’s credibility, visibility, and marketability.”

Continue reading for a list of prominent book awards guaranteed to make you stand out as an author. Entry fees are listed in USD. These awards are all open for submission this Fall 2019 and Winter 2020:

The IndieReader Discovery Awards (IRDA’s)

  • Winner benefits:
    • Announcement coverage in top consumer (Huffington Post, The Wall Street Journal) and trade publications (Publisher’s Weekly, GoodeReader) IndieReader and Kirkus pro reviews
    • A custom author website
    • First look consideration from New York City-based literature agents, Dystel, Goderich, and Bourret
  • Entry fee: $150 for the first category and $50 for each additional category.  In addition to six main winners (top 3 fiction and 3 non-fiction titles), there is the potential for there to be winners in each of the 50+ subcategories, ranging from romance and science fiction to self-help and business.
  • Deadline: February 28th, 2020. Apply here

The Eric Hoffer Award

  • Prizes: grand prize award of $2,000, medals, distinctions, and honors
  • Entry fee: $55 per book; a book can be entered into more than one category, however, each entry requires a separate registration form and additional entry fee
  • Registration is open all year long, and the annual deadline is January 21 for each award year. Apply here

The Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPYs)

  • Largest book awards competition, accepting applications in over 80 categories with the following judging criteria: first impression, design, originality, use of language, message delivery, relevance
  • Prizes: gold, silver, bronze medals
  • Entry fee: $95 per category with an additional fee of $55 to add your book to a regional or e-category competition
  • 2020 IPPY Awards are now open! Apply here

The Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards

  • Winner benefits:
    • A Foreword INDIES marketing toolkit
    • Press releases and announcements sent to over 10,000 media and industry professionals
    • Opportunities to participate in specially branded advertising
  • Entry fees: $99 for the first category and $79 for any subsequent category entrances
  • Deadline: January 31, 2020. Apply here

The Next Generation Indie Book Awards

  • The Next Generation Indie Book Awards is the largest not-for-profit set of awards for independent publishers
  • They accept worldwide entries to over 70 categories, with the condition that books are published in the English language
  • Winner benefits:
    • Cash awards ranging from $100 to $1500 and medals for the top five winners
    • Top 70 winning books are reviewed by renowned literary agent Marilyn Allen
  • Entry fee: $75 per book for the first category and $60 per subsequent category
  • Deadline: February 14, 2020. Apply here

The Best Indie Book Award

  • Categories include Action/Adventure, Fantasy/Paranormal, Literary/Mainstream, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller, Non-Fiction, Novella/Short Story Collection, Romance, Science Fiction/Dystopian, Young Adult, Children
  • Books are judged based primarily on storytelling ability, engagement, transitions, pace, dialogue, and grammar
  • Entry fee: $50 per category, same fee per additional category
  • Deadline: October 15th, 2019. Apply here

The National Indie Excellence Awards

  • Categories include: True Crime, Western, Steam Punk, Fantasy, Fitness, Green Living, Home and Garden, Religion, Relationships, Leadership, and others
  • Entry fee: $75 per book, per category
  • Deadline: March 31st, 2020. Apply here

eLit Book Awards

  • A global awards program for digital publishing in the English language
  • Entry fee: $80 per title, per category September 1st through November 30th, 2019
  • Regular Entry fee: $90 per title, per category December 1st, 2019 through January 31st, 2020
  • Apply here

Reader Views Literary Awards

  • They accept ebooks but prefer to receive submissions in print if applicable
  • Criteria for judging: content/originality, presentation/design, innovation, social relevance, production quality (do not send ARCs), enjoyment/impact, plot/story line, and resourcefulness (depending on category)
  • Entry fee: $89 for the initial category and $35 for each additional category; option to combine entry with a Publicity Package
  • Deadline: December 31, 2019. Apply here

Shelf Unbound Best Indie Book Competition

  • Hosted by Shelf Media Group
  • In addition to prizes, the winner, finalists, and more than 100 notable books from the competition are featured in the December/January issue of Shelf Unbound
  • Entry fee: $100 per book
  • Deadline: midnight on October 1, 2019. Apply here

Reader’s Choice Awards

  • Top 5 Winners receive $50, 16 winners, one per category will receive special badges and promotion
  • Engage with your readership and ask them for support by voting for you to boost your chances of winning
  • First entry is free and entries for additional books can be purchased for $25
  • Casting of votes is between January and August, stay tuned for 2020 registration
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