Summer has passed and Fall is here, authors start thinking book marketing and business again. Book award possibilities are at every corner. Your email may be loading up with a variety of solicitations to enter book awards. Do you … or don’t you? Are they worth the entry fee? Which do you submit to? And what do you do if your book is recognized … besides telling all your friends?
Book Awards … Some Have Deadlines Soon … Including Special BONUS from USA Book News for Author U!
Which book awards do you enter? Do they matter?
Let’s start with the second question first. The answer: sometimes. Depending upon the tenacity of the author/publisher in getting the word out about the book and the award, you could be wasting your money. Awards can be used to market your book, but it doesn’t happen by itself. You will be the primary promoter. Always.
Some of the more established awards—USA Book News, Foreword, Ben Franklin, IPPY, and the Center for the Book (put your state name in front on Center for the Book to find contact)—send out professional press releases. Some actively promote the winners on their websites and events. When Judith Briles won the Colorado Center for the Book in the non-fiction category, the Tattered Cover Bookstore attended with a display of all the winners and sold books—lots of them … and continued to promote them actively throughout the year. However, other awards just take your money and only notify you if you are a finalist or winner. Little else is done.
Note: USA Book News, Foreword, IPPY, and the Center for the Book do not require membership to enter their competitions. That’s where Author U believes the line should be drawn—awards can be big money for the promoter. With that money, there should be some media promotion for the winners, and there should be a specific website that carries all the winners’ names and their books.
Back to the first question. If you are active in a publishing or authoring organization, consider entering. But if you have to pay a fee to be a member and then another one to enter the competition, take a pass. Your marketing (and these are marketing) dollars are best spent elsewhere.
The Book Awards business is a revenue business . . . for the promoter. Before you put your moneys out, make sure you do your homework. Why are you entering? If you win, what will you do to promote your status? Does the group support its winners with media coverage? Last but not least, Google the group—are there any complaints, problems, or accusations of scams? If so, find another group. Make your time, your book, and your dollars work for you.
Can book awards make a difference? Yes, if they are the right ones—
Below are a few recommended by Author U and The Book Shepherd that receive ongoing national attention and are worth investing some of your marketing/promotional dollars for submissions. Some give stickers; some give cash prizes; all do national media releases/promotion with winners and finalists and have national recognition. None require that you become a “member.” Deadlines and entry fees for submissions are varied. Submissions and guidelines will give you the details on each site included—deadlines could mean books need to be in hand or merely postmarked. Read their rules.
Note: Not all Awards are a fit for your book or category. Good luck!
USA Book News Awards
Open to all books, e-books, and audio books with an ISBN and published in 2012 (galley copies welcome). 2010 and 2011 titles are also eligible. It covers books from all sections of the publishing industry with over 100 categories—mainstream, independent, and self-published. Winners will be promoted to the entertainment industry.
USA NEWS BOOK AWARDS BONUS for Author U: Author U has arranged for a special $10 discount on its normal $69 entry fee … so $59 to you. . Register through this link:
DEADLINE: Use the special Author U link to save $10 on each entry fee.
National Indie Excellence Awards
NIEA celebrates overall excellence for seven years, including design and promotional text, so that discerning readers know an NIEA winner or finalist is something special. What’s more, award announcements receive extensive media coverage you can leverage to your sales advantage. The Indie Excellence Awards cover multiple years,
extending back to 2009 through 2012.
DEADLINE: April 2, 2013. Check website for submission guidelines.
BHBA is a unique contest that celebrates excellence in presentation. All aspects of the book are considered: the cover and interior design, promotional text, aesthetic components, and other factors that demonstrate outstanding presentation. Accepts fiction and non-fiction books in a wide range of topics and categories, including mystery, romance, business, self-help, memoirs, inspirational, and many others. This is the place to be. Authors with books that could be Hollywood “attention getters,” this could be Print books only from all publishers and authors in English language format available for sale from 2009 through 2013. Winners are announced in March.
DEADLINE: Now Accepting Submissions until January 31, 2013. Check website for submission guidelines.
Foreword Book of the Year
Every year, ForeWord looks back to the best books of the previous year. The ForeWord Book of the Year competition provides publishers with a valuable opportunity to breathe new life into the promotion of a distinguished title. These fiercely contested awards are viewed by librarians and booksellers as an important statement about a title they might have overlooked. For fourteen years, savvy publishers have used the gold, silver, and bronze awards as additional marketing material as their titles drift toward the backlist. Foreword magazine is dedicated to the independent author and publisher.
DEADLINE: January 15, 2013. Check website for submission guidelines.
Nautilus Book Awards
Recognizes Books and Audio Books that promote spiritual growth, conscious living, and positive social change, while at the same time stimulating the “imagination” and offering the reader “new possibilities” for a better life and a better world.
They look for distinguished literary and heartfelt contributions to spiritual growth, conscious living, high-level wellness, green values, responsible leadership, and positive social change, as well as to the worlds of art, creativity, and inspirational reading for children, teens, and young adults.
DEADLINE: Submissions for 2013 Open: September 21, 2012, check website for submission guidelines.
A not-for-profit book awards program for indie authors and independent publishers. In its fifth year of operation, the Next Generation Indie Book Awards was established to recognize and honor the most exceptional independently published books in 60 different categories for the year, and is presented by Independent Book Publishing Professionals Group.
DEADLINE: February 22, 2013. Check website for submission guidelines.
Independent Publisher Book Awards
The “IPPY” Awards were conceived as a broad-based, unaffiliated awards program open to all members of the independent publishing industry and are open to authors and publishers worldwide who produce books written in English and intended for the North American market. “Independent” is defined as 1) independently owned and operated; 2) operated by a foundation or university; or 3) long-time independents that became incorporated but operate autonomously and publish fewer than 50 titles a year.
DEADLINE: There are rolling dates that begin closing this October for 2012© and 2013©. Check website for submission guidelines.
Ben Franklin Book Awards
Named in honor of America’s most cherished publisher/printer, the Benjamin Franklin Awards™ recognizes excellence in independent publishing—sponsored by IBPA—Independent Book Publishers Association (AU is an Affiliate). Publications, grouped by genre, are judged on editorial and design merit by top practitioners in each field.
Awards to the best books in several categories and are presented to the publishers during a gala awards ceremony on the last evening of the Publishing University (just before the opening of Book Expo America).
All entrants receive critique sheets with advice on how to improve their publications, as well as words of appreciation for the good work produced.
DEADLINE: For 2012 © dates, submit by September 30, 2012. Check website for submission guidelines.
The Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards
Designed to bring increased recognition to exemplary children’s books and their creators and to support childhood literacy and life-long reading, the awards are given in 38 categories covering the full range of subjects, styles, and age groups that children’s books are written and published in today.
The contest is designed to honor the year’s best children’s books, authors, and illustrators. Open to authors, illustrators, and publishers of children’s books written in English or Spanish and intended for the North American market. All 2012 and 2013 copyrights and releases are eligible.
DEADLINE: ENTRIES OPEN through December 1, 2012. Check website for submission guidelines.
Parents’ Choice Awards
The nation’s oldest nonprofit program was created to recognize quality children’s media. The Parents’ Choice Awards program honors the best material for children: books, toys, music and storytelling, magazines, software, videogames, television, and websites. Parents’ Choice Foundation’s panels of educators, scientists, performing artists, librarians, parents, and, yes, kids themselves, identify the very best products for children of different ages and backgrounds and of varied skill and interest levels.
DEADLINE: Submissions will open late fall through March 2013. Check website for submission guidelines.
Global eBook Awards
Created by Dan Poynter, Global eBook Awards announces that it is now taking submissions for award consideration. The Global eBook Awards are designed to help you achieve these goals. More than a “sticker,” these awards come with a built-in publicity machine. Entries are accepted from both authors and publishers. To be eligible, eBooks must be released on or before March 11, 2013. All entrants in the Global Ebook Awards must have their eBooks in the Smashwords’ system for this contest. If your book is not at Smashwords, please email a PDF, epub, or Kindle file to Becky@ParaPublishing.com after you have completed your entry. http://globalebookawards.com/
DEADLINE: SUBMISSIONS until January 15, 2013. Check website for submission guidelines.
Colorado Book Awards
This annual program celebrates the accomplishments of Colorado’s outstanding authors, editors, illustrators, and photographers. Awards are presented in at least ten categories, including anthology/collection, biography, children’s, creative nonfiction, fiction, history, nonfiction, pictorial, poetry, and young adult. To be eligible for a Colorado Book Award, a primary contributor to the book must be a Colorado writer, editor, illustrator, or photographer. It doesn’t matter if the book was published by a New Mexico or New York Publisher—the key is someone has to be connected to Colorado.
Entries in the 22nd annual Colorado Book Awards must have a 2012 publication date. Books published and available in late 2012 that have a delayed (2013) copyright may be submitted either in the 22nd or the 23rd annual Colorado Book Awards, but not both.
DEADLINE: January 2013. Check the website in October for submission guidelines and dates.
NOTE: this is Colorado’s program—your state may have a duplicate as well. In 1984, the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress began to establish affiliate centers in the 50 states. Today, there is a State Center for the Book in all 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands. These Center for the Book affiliates carry out the national Center’s mission in their local areas; sponsor programs that highlight their area’s literary heritage; and call attention to the importance of books, reading, literacy, and libraries. Many of them have state awards. Google “Center of the Book” for your state and/or go to http://read.gov/cfb/index.html for more information.
Judith Briles is the Author and Publishing Expert, The Book Shepherd (www.TheBookShepherd.com), and the Founder of Author U(niversity (www.AuthorU.org), a membership organization created for the author who wants to be seriously successful. She’s been writing about and conducting workshops on publishing since the 80s. Judith is the author of 30 books, including Show Me About Book Publishing, co-written with John Kremer and Rick Frishman, and a speaker at publishing conferences. Her next book, Author YOU: Creating and Developing the Author and Book Platforms will be available fall 2012. Catch her radio show, Your Guide to Book Publishing, on Thursdays at 6 pm, EST. http://rockstarradionetwork.com/shows/yourguidetobookpublishing
Follow @AuthorU and @MyBookShepherd on Twitter and do a “Like” at AuthorU and TheBookShepherd on Facebook. Join the Author U LinkedIn group and add your voice. If you want to create a book that has no regrets, contact her at Judith@Briles.com.