Writers in the Storm

A blog about writing

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January 9, 2023

How to Find the Best Awards for Your Book

by Hannah Jacobson

There are literally thousands of book awards out there. How do you find the right ones for your book?

The World Celebrates Award-Winning Authors

It's no secret that the world celebrates award-winning authors. From building your author platform to fueling your story marketing, awards are a boon to every author's career.

How can you find the best book award opportunities for your book to win?

Book Award Basics: How They Work

Most authors don't know that award-winning success is within their reach. It doesn't happen like magic, but with a little work, adding "award-winning author" to your bio could be in your future.

In fact, it is commonly believed that an award simply "happens" to some authors: perhaps somewhere in the mystical literary ethers, a magical selection occurs and deems them award-worthy.

That incorrect assumption leads many authors to believe they may not be ready for an award, or worse, that all awards are out of their reach. That is simply not the case!

There are awards within your reach, and award-winning success is attainable for your book.

With many thousands of possible book awards, the trick is finding exactly the right ones for your unique book.

Whether you write fiction or nonfiction, children's picture books or highly cerebral literary sagas, published many years ago or want to publish it in the future, or even have a manuscript you want to "test" for potential...

There are awards for your book, and lots of them.

Here is an overview of how the actual book awards process works:

  • Find the right awards
  • Submit to them
  • Monitor your progress
  • Share every step with your readers in a meaningful way

Today, we'll focus on the first step: how to find awards for your book.

Protect Your Time and Get a Curated List of Awards

There are hundreds of generic lists of book awards online and in print. Though not malicious, these lists actually create more work for you instead of meeting their intended goal: making your life easier. You'll spend time sorting through lists of expired children's picture book awards when you're really trying to find award gems for your nonfiction biographical work.

If you've tried the "list strategy," you know how frustrating this method is. It's a top complaint among busy authors. Instead of generic, outdated lists, you need a list of awards curated specifically for your book.

As the publishing industry evolves, so too has the book award sphere.

You no longer need to spend countless hours trawling massive lists of awards. The modern, free, and time-saving way to find awards is to have a service tell you exactly which awards are right for your book.

How to Find the Best Awards for Your Book

Once you discover relevant awards for your book, it's time to determine: what are your very best opportunities?

Keep in mind what is right for your book may be very different for another author. As every book and story is unique, every award is unique and looking for works that suit their criteria and dazzle their judges.

And, what is best for you right now may also be very different even a few months from now. Awards are evolving all the time!

Here are some thoughts to keep in mind when pursuing awards and deciding which ones to submit.

Consider award programs of all sizes

Though certainly a reason to celebrate, it is a common pitfall to think winning a famous, prestigious award is the only key to success.

While the National Book Award, Nobel Prize, and the Pulitzer Prize would be an honor to win, you can leverage awards of all sizes for the success of your book.

In fact, many smaller award organizations are created by genuine people who want to support the author community while recognizing literary achievement. Nominees, finalists, and winners of these awards still find they are immensely valuable in story marketing.

Regardless of fame, ultimately every book award can have a meaningful impact on your author career.

Hone in on award requirements, logistics, and timelines

Pay close attention to award requirements. Each award is specific and unique. Is your book a good fit?

Importantly, also consider the logistical side of things. When is the award due date, is the entry fee within your budget, and will you be able to submit your book in time?

When evaluating an award, look for legitimacy. Every award match provided by Book Award Pro is highly researched and analyzed for legitimacy. If you decide to research awards on your own, know that award scams and poor experiences are the exception, not the rule. You can easily avoid award scams by knowing these red flags.

Maximize the value you receive from each award

There is value in every award submission, even without winning. When maximizing the value you can get from each award, consider:

  • Is this entry fee within my budget? The industry average is $89, but there are awards as inexpensive as $0 (free!) and as pricey as $500+.
  • Does this award provide additional bonus benefits? Look for programs that offer additional benefits included as part of your entry, such as an editorial review or marketing assistance to share your book with new audiences. Every bit counts, and the concept of "bonus benefits" is a growing trend in awards.
  • Is this award ultra-specific to my book? Pay special attention to awards that fit your book like a glove. For example, highly-specific regional awards can be a great boon for your book and your marketing.

Take the Leap: Pursue Awards for Your Book

Pursuing awards for your book is one of the most fulfilling endeavors you can take as an author.

With thousands of awards out there, it's easy to get overwhelmed knowing where to begin. The good news is that the future is bright for authors, and you can lean on technology to do the heavy lifting for you.

Stay organized, plan your limited time and resources, and most of all...have fun! The universe of book awards is yours to enjoy.

What questions do you have about book awards?

* * * * * *

About Hannah

Hannah Jacobson is the founder of Book Award Pro, the company that makes it easy for authors find and submit to book awards.

Book Award Pro is the industry expert on awards, researching and monitoring 8,000+ legitimate awards. Every year, authors spanning 6 continents win more than 1,000 new awards using this service.

As the company's founder, Hannah's expertise has been recognized as the industry's leading voice in awards and author advocacy.

Begin your award-winning journey for free or connect with Hannah and Book Award Pro on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

11 comments on “How to Find the Best Awards for Your Book”

  1. This is such a great topic! I love what you are doing for authors in this space because there are so many awards it is hard to know which ones are legitimate and which ones are not! I think the challenge I run into is the expense of applying for awards. I know the value they offer, but when balancing awards vs editing vs cover art, I put the money towards covers and editing! I like that you have options that don't cost a lot, so that those of us starting out can still play!

    1. Thank you so much for your comment here, Lisa! As part of running your author business, budget is absolutely a consideration when it comes to awards.

      I'll share a couple of extra tips to help you save some money...

      Look out for those free award opportunities (that is, awards with no entry fees). That can save you some money right out the gate.

      If you've put a little extra money toward your cover design budget, consider entering book awards specifically for *cover design*! Those exist, and they will often carry a lighter entry fee. You can still gain award-winning benefits for your work, even on a tight budget.

      It's important to maximize your book marketing dollars. I hope that helps!

  2. I will confess that I didn't understand a thing about how book awards worked before this post. I thought you could only get them from contests, or some nebulous "my publisher entered me" kind of thing.

    This is a big game changer for the indie author. I will go dig into that free link and see whether there are some awards that fit my book(s) as I move forward.

    1. Jenny, thank you for sharing your honest thoughts - and know that you are absolutely not alone! It is very common for authors to believe awards are a "my publisher entered me" kind of thing, as you've expressed so perfectly here.

      I'm thrilled to know that this post was so helpful for you. The universe of awards is out there waiting for you, and you can use those awards to grow your story marketing.

      Keep us posted on your journey!

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