30 Book Awards for Self-Published Authors

by | Dec 7, 2011

As self-publishing a book has become more accepted and far more popular than it has ever been, book awards for self-published books have also multiplied.

These awards are popular and as regular as the seasons. For the less scrupulous, it looks like an excellent way to collect entry fees for books in dozens of categories in exchange for a few press releases and some stickers for the front of your book.

Others are very prestigious, and a gold medal in a major competition can sometimes be parlayed into a boost in sales.

Each publisher has to decide whether the benefits of possibly winning an award outweigh the time and expense of entering.

What You Need

But one thing that’s needed is a handy list of the awards open to self-published books. So that’s what we’ve done. With the assistance of Shelley Sturgeon of E-Vantage Business Services I’ve put together a clickable list of 30 book award programs.

However, I’ve finally learned the lesson of why you can do both posts and pages in WordPress. I learned this the hard way with 36 Great Blogs for Self-Publishers which became 52 Great Blogs for Self-Publishers and now needs another update.

And I also learned it with 52 Fantastic Twitter Follows for Self-Publishers, another useful list you’ll find here.

What I learned was that each of these lists should have been pages, with a permanent status and where they could easily be updated. By creating them as posts, they are much less accessible and almost impossible to keep updated. At some point they should all be moved to their own pages.

But for today, here’s a link to the brand new, just out of the box list of:

Book Awards for Self-Published Authors.

Please use the comments here to leave any corrections, additions or updates. I hope you find the new Book Awards Page useful.

Photo by Tumbleweed

tbd advanced publishing starter kit


  1. Eileen Pieczonka

    My debut children’s picture book, Blueberry Bear has won 2 awards, Finalist award from the 2016 International Book Awards, and 3rd place from the Arizona Author’s Association Awards. I’m very proud of my awards, but I feel unless you’re already a celebrity, the awards don’t make a difference. I also wonder about the so-called exposure. The Arizona Author’s Association did email entrants on media platforms, I can’t say that for the International Book Awards.

  2. Rishonda Anthony

    Hi there, as a board member for the nonprofit organization James River Writers, I’d like you to add our upcoming contest to your list.

    James River Writers recognizes the writing talents and entrepreneurial skills of indie authors by continuing The Best Self-Published Novel Contest, which we started in 2014.

    Contest Details

    One first-prize winner will receive $500 and a ticket to the annual James River Writers Conference. The winner will be announced in October 2016 at the James River Writers Conference. Press releases will also recognize the winner.

    Two finalists each receive $200.


  3. Anne

    Just to say that you missed out the Rubery Book Award which offers cash prizes and the guarantee that a top London literary agent will read the winning book.
    We have an excellent track record and the award is very well respected.

    • Anne

      Ooops sorry, have just seen that it is listed!

  4. Mary Walewski

    Hi Joel, I’d like to recommend that you add the EVVY Awards to your book awards list. The EVVY is the award given by the Colorado Independent Publishers Association. This is the award’s 20th anniversary. I’d be happy to provide additional info for you and you can also check out CIPA’s website, https://www.cipacatalog.com.

    Mary Walewski

  5. Billy Bob Buttons

    The Wishing Shelf Book Awards is a fantastic way to market your book for next to no cost.

    Everybody who enters will get:

    Feedback from over 15 readers.

    A quote for the back of their next book based on the readers’ feedback.

    A review on Amazon (.co.uk or .com) based on the readers’ feedback.

    Membership to our Facebook page where we invite agents and publishers to look at our author’s work.

    Treated like a human being and not simply a cash machine.

    PLUS the finalists and winners will get a certificate and 12 months of publicity on the net.

    This award is basically my way of ‘showing the finger’ to the rip-off awards out there. It is run by me (I’m also an independently published author) and my goal is to focus on the feedback and publicity for the authors who enter.

    So check the award out at https://www.thewsa.co.uk/ or email me with details of your book [email protected].

  6. Edward Trayer

    Hi, my name is Edward Trayer and I’m an independently published author writing under the pen name Billy Bob Buttons. I have published 8 books and over the years I have entered them in the numerous US awards. Eventually (I’m a bit slow) I began to realise what a rip-off they were. I doubt they even read the books and if you do win, all they want to do is sell you stickers. And the cost! They cost a bloody fortune.

    So, I decided to set up my own awards for authors who publish in the UK. It is called The Wishing Shelf Awards http://www.thewsa.co.uk, and, basically, we allow approx. 100 authors to enter every year. It costs £28 and is non-profit making. We have three reading groups, one in Stockholm, one in York and one in London (they work with the adult books). The children’s books are read by lots of children in schools mostly in London. I have lots of contacts in the schools there as I do a number of literacy workshops with the children every year.

    What we try to do is focus on giving all the entrants (whether they win or not) comprehensive feedback from the readers. We also write a quote for the back of your next book and a review on Amazon.co.uk. Authors also get membership of our Facebook page where they can promote their book. Finalists and winners get all of the above plus a certificate and 12 months of online promotion. This year we will spend £1500 on advertising the finalists and winners in library magazines.

    But the best thing about our award is it is small and we intend to keep it that way. All you emails will be answered personally and we treat you and your work with respect! This, I think, is very important. We also publish our accounts every year to tell you how your £28 was spent.

    The deadline for entry is December 31st and so far we have 91 authors entered. So we are looking for an additional 10 or so. If you’re interested, you can email me direct at [email protected] or visit our website http://www.thewsa.co.uk.

    I can guarantee to you that you will enjoy being part of our award. In fact, if you’re not happy at the end of it (whether you win or not) I will refund you your £28. Also, if you wish, request joining our Facebook page: The Wishing Shelf Independent Book Awards. There you will see how much the authors last year (our first year) enjoyed the competition.

    Thanks for listening,

    Edward Trayer (Billy Bob Buttons)

    Author of Felicity Brady and the Wizard’s Bookshop, The Gullfoss Legends and UK People Book Prize runner-up, TOR Assassin Hunter

  7. S. V. Rowle

    All of the contests by JM Northern Media appear to be the same company’s sole business operations and entirely funded through contest entries.

    While Bruce Haring seems to have done legitimate conventions and such and there have been some verifiable winners of these contests, I’m not sure there’s much prestige to be had from winning one, and isn’t that the point of entering a competition? The prestige that follows a win?





  8. Roh Morgon

    Great work!

    Thank you so much for assembling this list. I immediately created a spreadsheet with the info so I could decide which of these (if any) to enter and the date of their deadlines.

    I’m a little suprised at the prices. I’m now going to be looking at ‘award-winning’ books a little differently, wondering how much they paid for a chance to win an award.

  9. Scath

    There’s a plugin that converts pages to posts and vice versa: p2pConverter. I tripped over it recently. =)

  10. Rosvita Rauch

    Thanks Joel, useful information for self-publishers, as usual. Your a real point of reference!

  11. Allison Moon

    Thanks for this list Joel. Do you have any sense of how these entry fees are used? Since few of these awards seem to have monetary prizes, the entry fees seem rather steep in many cases.

  12. Pariah Burke

    Regarding your Posts vs. Pages issue, you CAN convert your Post-form lists into Pages within WordPress, and then simply use a redirect to point any links or attempts to access the Post-versions to the new Page-version URLs.

    The best way to do the redirect would be via your site’s .htaccess file or backend Control Panel, but you can also do it solely within WordPress. Just search the plugins directory for “redirect.” You’ll find quite a few options with ratings there.

    If you need help with it, e-mail me. I’ll be happy to help (gratis).

  13. Thomas Burchfield

    This is great, Joel. The only decision I have to make now is how many of them I can afford to enter my novel in!


  14. Pete Morin

    Hi Joel,

    Thanks for all you do.

    FYI, the Hemingway/PEN award for first novels is NOT open to self-published work. I jumped when I saw it listed, thinking (hoping!) they’d changed that rule, but nope.



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