6 of the Best Self-Published Book Awards to Submit to Right Now

As a self-published author, you know how much work goes into finishing a book. Whether you already launched your book or are almost over the finish line, you deserve to be rewarded for your efforts!

You’ve likely seen shiny stickers and accolades gracing the covers of books by your favorite authors. And while it may feel like book awards are only for those repped by big five publishers, no matter how you publish your book — traditionally, with an indie press, or through self-publishing — there are book awards out there for you.

Winning a book award or writing competition isn’t just a vanity goal, either. Earning an independent book award can add a level of professionalism to your book and garner more momentum for your current and future work.

Here’s everything you need to know about the best self-published and indie book awards — and why you should submit your book for consideration.

What Are Self-Published Book Awards?

Just like a traditional book award like The Booker Prize or the National Book Award, self-published book awards exist to award your book.

Self-published book awards can be judged on writing skills or specific craft techniques like voice, character, dialogue, or the ability to engage a reader. They can also be geared to specific genres such as fantasy, horror, or romance, giving you even more opportunities to elevate your work.

When you submit for an indie or self-published book award, you will be competing against other indie authors. There are also a variety of awards you can be nominated for (as well as nominating yourself!).

Why Should I Submit My Book to Self-Published Book Awards?

There’s no denying that adding “award-winning author” to your résumé will make you feel amazing. But there are plenty of other reasons to submit your self-published book for an award.

First and foremost, winning or placing in a book contest will attract more readers to your book! Depending on the kind of book award, you might earn yourself a fancy sticker that you can place on your cover which will automatically catch the eye of new readers.

This will also mean more book sales, which is important for any self-publishing author.

Adding a laurel to your cover can also translate to more publicity and press. This could mean additional speaking or reading opportunities. And more publicity means that you can attract influential people to your work.

Award-winning self-publishing can even help authors land agents or traditional publishers for their next books — if that’s what you’re looking for in your career.

And lastly, financial success is never off the table when you win a book award. You never know which Hollywood producer might be looking for a rising star manuscript to adapt into a feature film!

How Do I Submit My Book to Self-Published Book Awards?

Like anything you do in self-publishing, this will require a bit of research. It’s helpful to make a list of indie awards, as well as deadlines and what you’ll need for each submission.

Plenty of book awards are free to submit to, while others may require a small submission fee. Be sure to plan accordingly and include this in your book budget.

Some book awards will require a manuscript (published or unpublished) to submit, while others will ask for your ISBN number.

For nomination-based book awards, you’ll likely see a form to fill out to tell the judges why your work is best suited for the award. Be sure to send this to all your friends and family to get as many nominations as possible.

What Are the Best Self-Published Book Awards to Submit to in 2022?

While you should do plenty of research while preparing to submit to literary awards, we’ve rounded up a few to get you started for the coming year. These awards stand above the rest and will give you the most exposure for your self-published book. Good luck!

1. Forward INDIES Book Awards

Designed to showcase independent authors, university presses, and self-publishing authors, the INDIES will give you the opportunity to gain top publicity internationally.

In addition to a $1,500 cash prize, finalists will be seen by booksellers, and industry professionals, and printed in the Foreword Review, which is sent to over 10,000 media outlets and affiliates.

Better still, finalists will be given a marketing toolkit to help personalize and optimize the publicity from the awards.

Find the categories and genres to submit here >

2. The Hugo Awards

For self-publishing sci-fi authors, this book award should be at the top of your submit list. Known as the most prestigious science fiction award, The Hugo Awards are voted on by members of the World Science Fiction Convention.

It’s important to note that this award is only eligible within your first year of publication, so be sure to submit your self-published book as soon as you release it. You can also submit your book in any language, as well as E-books, making this a rare book competition open to more authors than just books printed in English.

Winners in each category will be given a trophy at the Hugo Ceremony at the world-famous Worldcon taking place in Glasgow in 2024.

Learn more about submitting your sci-fi self-published book >

3. Next Generation Indie Book Awards

Set for 2023, this independent publisher’s book award is open to any author who has published a book written in English from 2021-2023.

While this book award comes with a submission fee, you’ll get an Early Bird special discount if you submit by September 30th and a second category selection for free. With over 80 categories to choose from — with everything from Action and Adventure to Children’s Picture books —  you’ll no doubt find a category that fits your book perfectly.

Along with cash prizes, all winners will get exposure in the Indie Book Awards Catalog which is distributed to thousands of book buyers, media, literary agents, and more.  

Submit your self-published book for 2023 >

4. The Mom’s Choice Awards

Evaluating excellence in family-friendly products and services, this book award specializes in self-published children’s books.

With a global presence and a philanthropic spirit, The Mom’s Choice Award is perfect for self-publishing children’s book authors looking to expand their reach and make a difference for families all around the world.

Accepting submissions year-round, each submission is carefully considered by a panel of professionals, and finalists are sent out to notable media outlets. Past winners have been featured on The Today Show, Good Morning America, The View, and more.

Get your self-published children’s book seen by moms all over the world >

5. The Douglas Dillon Book Award

While the submission for this book award is now closed, you’ll definitely want to put this on your radar for next year.

Presented by the American Academy of Diplomacy, this prestigious indie book award recognizes books in US diplomatic achievements. If your book deals with US foreign policy, biographies, or personal memoirs that deal with politics, this book award will add a level of notoriety to your self-published book.

The selected winner each year receives $5,000 as well as an invite to the Academy’s Annual Awards Luncheon in the Benjamin Franklin Room at the US Department of State.

Mark your calendar for this self-publishing book competition >

6. The Golden Kite Award

With a proven track record since 1973, the Golden Kite Award is the only children’s literary award judged solely by a jury of peers.

With over 1,000 books entered each year, this children’s book award recognizes 7 categories including Young Reader, Picture Book Text, Illustration, and more. Winners will receive $2,500 as well as an additional $1,000 to donate to a nonprofit of their choosing.

The only caveat to this submission process is that you must be published with a PAL independent publisher.

 See if you qualify for the Golden Kite Award >  

Make the Most of Your Self-Publishing Career

There are many ways to enhance your writing career through self-publishing. And some of that starts with taking a great author photo.

A well-shot photo can be the difference between getting a rep interested or landing a big speaking gig. Plus, you’ll look official and amazing on your back cover.

Before you submit, it’s important to have a professional and polished author photo for your book cover, website, social media, and more. Need some tips?

Learn more about taking the best author photo for your next book >

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