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Book Awards for Indie Authors

Book awards are not only a magnificent honor for an author, but they can also stir up attention, grab new readers, support marketing efforts, and boost sales. Some might wonder if book awards have an actionable impact. They do! Including book awards in promotions, blurbs, bios, and on book covers can increase engagement.

Below we've compiled a fantastic list of awards. By no means is it a completely comprehensive list, and you should research to find the best-fit awards for your book. However, we hope this gets your research off to a good start. We've also included a worksheet where you can track which awards your book has entered. You can download the Award Tracker here.

And please refer to BookBub for additional information, as we've found them to be a reliable and helpful resources for our author community! They've kindly provided the following information for your use:

Fiction

The IndieReaders Discovery Award

The IndieReaders Discovery Awards — sponsored by Smith Publicity, FeatherLight, Dystel, Goderich & Bourret Literary Management, and KDP — feature multiple awards such as “Best First Book,” “Best Book per Genre,” and overall “Best Fiction & Nonfiction.” The panel of judges recommends the top winners of the IndieReaders Discovery Awards to Dystel, Goderich & Bourret for representation. The winners also receive various prizes based on the category won.

  • Who can win? Self-published authorsindependent publishers, or university publishers, in either ebook or paper book format.
  • When can you submit? Annually
  • Entry fee: $149 per title. An additional $50 per category submitted.

The Independent Publisher Book Awards

Since 1996, the “IPPY” Awards have described themselves as a “broad-based, unaffiliated awards program open to all members of the independent publishing industry.” They award gold, silver, and bronze medals to winners in over 100 categories and feature them in an estimated 50 articles and press releases.

  • Who can win? Self-published authorsindependent publishers, and university publishers.
  • When can you submit? Annually
  • Entry fee: $75 for early bird submissions. $95 during the regular submission period.

The Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Award

Since 2005, the Foreword INDIES Awards offer a chance for some serious recognition — and prizes! The top two winners receive a $1,500 cash prize and are promoted with the other finalists through press releases, articles, and social media to Foreword’s list of over 10,000 industry connections. Foreword Reviews sponsors these awards. They take submissions in 56 categories.

  • Who can apply? Self-published authors, independent publishers, university presses.
  • When can you submit? Annually
  • Entry fee: $99 for the first category, $79 for subsequent categories.

The Next Generation Indie Book Awards 

Drawing from 70 categories, the Next Generation Indie Book Awards offer $1,500 to their top winners in Fiction and NonFiction, as well as smaller cash prizes and a trophy for finalists in all categories. The top 80 books are sent to New York literary agent Marilyn Allen of Allen Literary Agency for possible representation in distribution, foreign rights, film rights, and other rights. Independent Book Publishing Professionals Group sponsors these awards. All winners are listed in Next Generation Indie Book Awards Catalog, with exposure to thousands of book buyers and media.

  • Who can win? Self-published authors, independent publishers, university presses.
  • When can you submit? Annually
  • Entry fee: $75 for the first category, $60 for subsequent categories.

The Best Indie Book Award 

The “BIBA” is a self-sponsored international award annually honoring exceptional works of fiction and nonfiction, split into genres. Winners receive a beautiful glass trophy and the promotion of their winning book across newsletters, social media, and press releases.

  • Who can win? Self-published authors, independent publishers, university presses.
  • When can you submit? Annually, submissions open in January and close in mid-October each year.
  • Entry fee: $50 fee per book.

The National Indie Excellence Awards

With over 100 categories, the National Indie Excellence Awards recognize books that “demonstrate overall excellence through a synergy of form and content” in their respective genre categories. Now in their 14th year of awards, these awards offer winners national media promotion and coverage.

  • Who can win? Small presses, mid-size independent publishers, university presses, and self-published authors. Note: Only print books may be entered, not ebooks.
  • When can you submit? Annually
  • Entry fee: $75 per category.

Eric Hoffer Book Award

The Eric Hoffer Book Award has honored independent books for nearly two decades in memory of its namesake, with permission from the Eric Hoffer Estate. It offers a grand prize of $2,500 to one recipient each year and prizes for press distinction, category-based honors, and other specialized awards. This award does have a Legacy entry for books published in previous years. 

  • Who can win? Self-published authors, academic presses, small/micro presses.
  • When can you submit? Annually
  • Entry fee: $60.

Writer’s Digest Self-Published Ebook Award

This annual award from Writer’s Digest honors one grand prize winner (across genres) with $5,000 in cash, a featured interview in their magazine, and a paid trip to the Writer’s Digest Annual Conference! Winning first prize in each category isn’t a shabby prize either — $1,000 in cash and a press announcement.

  • Who can win? Self-published authors of ebooks and authors who publish with a small press that publishes fewer than 12 books a year. Note: Ebooks must be between 40,000 and 100,000 words.
  • When can you submit? Annually, generally between April 1 and late May.
  • Entry fee: Between $99 and $125 depending on the time of submission; additional cost per category submitted.

Rubery Book Prize

The Rubery Book Prize is an international book award organization. They offer a grand “Book of the Year” prize, which includes a £2000 (approx 2760USD) cash prize as well as £200 (approx 276USD) for category winners. In addition, every winner receives a glass plaque, and all winners & shortlisted authors receive a write-up.

  • Who can win? Self-published authors and independent presses
  • When can you submit? Annually
  • Entry fee: £37 / $60.

The IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award

The IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award has recognized excellence in independent book publishing for over 30 years. It includes over fifty categories, and winners are announced to major trade journals, select libraries, all IBPA social media channels (including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, the IBPA news feed), and more.

  • Who can win? The program accepts entries from all publishing models, including self-published and independent authors.
  • When can you submit? Annually
  • Entry fee: $95 for IBPA members and $225 for non-members.

The Pulitzer

Perhaps one of the most distinguished of books awards, The Pulitzer Prize and Fellowships, established at Columbia University by the will of the first Joseph Pulitzer, are awarded by the University on the recommendation of The Pulitzer Prize Board. Eligibility for these awards shall be restricted to works first published in the United States during the year and made available in hardcover or bound paperback form for purchase by the general public. Winners receive a cash prize of $15,000.

  • Who can win? The program accepts entries from all publishing models, including self-published and independent authors.
  • When can you submit? Annually
  • Entry fee: $75 per entry

Nonfiction

The IndieReaders Discovery Award

The IndieReaders Discovery Awards — sponsored by Smith Publicity, FeatherLight, Dystel, Goderich & Bourret Literary Management, and KDP — feature multiple awards such as “Best First Book,” “Best Book per Genre,” and overall “Best Fiction & Nonfiction.” The panel of judges recommends the top winners of the IndieReaders Discovery Awards to Dystel, Goderich & Bourret for representation. The winners also receive various prizes based on the category won.

  • Who can win? Self-published authorsindependent publishers, or university publishers, in either ebook or paper book format.
  • When can you submit? Annually
  • Entry fee: $149 per title and an additional $50 per category.

The Independent Publisher Book Awards

Since 1996, the “IPPY” Awards have described themselves as a “broad-based, unaffiliated awards program open to all members of the independent publishing industry.” They award gold, silver, and bronze medals to winners in over 100 categories and feature them in an estimated 50 articles and press releases.

  • Who can win? Self-published authorsindependent publishers, and university publishers.
  • When can you submit? Annually
  • Entry fee: $75 to $95 based on the time of submission.

The Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Award

Since 2005, the Foreword INDIES Awards offer a chance for some serious recognition — and prizes! The top two winners each receive a $1,500 cash prize and are promoted with the other finalists through press releases, articles, and social media to Foreword’s list of over 10,000 industry connections. Foreword Reviews sponsors these awards. They take submissions in 56 categories.

  • Who can apply? Self-published authors, independent publishers, university presses.
  • When can you submit? Annually
  • Entry fee: $99 for the first category, $79 for subsequent categories.

The Next Generation Indie Book Awards 

Drawing from 70 categories, the Next Generation Indie Book Awards offer $1,500 to their top winners in Fiction and NonFiction, as well as smaller cash prizes and a trophy for finalists in all categories. The top 80 books are sent to New York literary agent Marilyn Allen of Allen Literary Agency for possible representation in distribution, foreign rights, film rights, and other rights. Independent Book Publishing Professionals Group sponsors these awards. All winners are listed in Next Generation Indie Book Awards Catalog, with exposure to thousands of book buyers and media.

  • Who can win? Self-published authors, independent publishers, university presses.
  • When can you submit? Annually
  • Entry fee: $75 for first category, $60 for subsequent categories.

The Best Indie Book Award 

The “BIBA” is a self-sponsored international award annually honoring exceptional works of fiction and nonfiction, split into genres. Winners receive a beautiful glass trophy and the promotion of their winning book across newsletters, social media, and press releases.

  • Who can win? Self-published authors, independent publishers, university presses.
  • When can you submit? Annually; submissions open in January and close mid-October each year.
  • Entry fee: $50 fee per book.

The National Indie Excellence Awards

With over 100 categories, the National Indie Excellence Awards recognize books that “demonstrate overall excellence through a synergy of form and content” in their respective genre categories. Now in their 14th year of awards, these awards offer winners national media promotion and coverage.

  • Who can win? Small presses, mid-size independent publishers, university presses, and self-published authors. Note: Only print books may be entered, not ebooks.
  • When can you submit? Annually
  • Entry fee: $75 per category.

Eric Hoffer Book Award

The Eric Hoffer Book Award has honored independent books for nearly two decades in memory of its namesake, with permission from the Eric Hoffer Estate. It offers a grand prize of $2,500 to one recipient each year and prizes for press distinction, category-based honors, and other specialized awards. This award does have a Legacy entry for books published in previous years. 

  • Who can win? Self-published authors, academic presses, small/micro presses.
  • When can you submit? Annually
  • Entry fee: $60.

Writer’s Digest Self-Published Ebook Award

This annual award from Writer’s Digest honors one grand prize winner (across genres) with $5,000 in cash, a featured interview in their magazine, and a paid trip to the Writer’s Digest Annual Conference! Winning first prize in each category isn’t a shabby prize either — $1,000 in cash and a press announcement.

  • Who can win? Self-published authors of ebooks and authors who publish with a small press that publishes fewer than 12 books a year. Note: Ebooks must be between 40,000 and 100,000 words.
  • When can you submit? Annually, generally between April 1 and late May.
  • Entry fee: Between $99 and $125 depending on time of submission; additional cost per category submitted to.

Rubery Book Prize

The Rubery Book Prize is an international book award organization. They offer a grand “Book of the Year” prize, which includes a £2000 (approx 2760USD) cash prize as well as £200 (approx 276USD) for category winners. In addition, every winner receives a glass plaque, and all winners & shortlisted authors receive a write-up.

  • Who can win? Self-published authors and independent presses
  • When can you submit? Annually
  • Entry fee: £37 / $60.

The IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award

The IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award has recognized excellence in independent book publishing for over 30 years. It includes over fifty categories, and winners are announced to major trade journals, select libraries, all IBPA social media channels (including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, the IBPA news feed), and more.

  • Who can win? The program accepts entries from all publishing models, including self-published and independent authors.
  • When can you submit? Annually.
  • Entry fee: $95 for IBPA members and $225 for non-members.

The Pulitzer*

Perhaps one of the most distinguished of books awards, The Pulitzer Prize and Fellowships, established at Columbia University by the will of the first Joseph Pulitzer, are awarded by the University on the recommendation of The Pulitzer Prize Board. Eligibility for these awards shall be restricted to works first published in the United States during the year and made available in hardcover or bound paperback form for purchase by the general public. Winners receive a cash prize of $15,000.

*They accept creative nonfiction only, not self-help or business.

  • Who can win? The program accepts entries from all publishing models, including self-published and independent authors.
  • When can you submit? Annually.
  • Entry fee: $75 per entry

Memoir

The IndieReaders Discovery Award

The IndieReaders Discovery Awards — sponsored by Smith Publicity, FeatherLight, Dystel, Goderich & Bourret Literary Management, and KDP — feature multiple awards such as “Best First Book,” “Best Book per Genre,” and overall “Best Fiction & Nonfiction.” The panel of judges recommends the top winners of the IndieReaders Discovery Awards to Dystel, Goderich & Bourret for representation. The winners also receive various prizes based on the category won.

  • Who can win? Self-published authorsindependent publishers, or university publishers, in either ebook or paper book format.
  • When can you submit? Annually
  • Entry fee: $149 per title, and an additional $50 per category submitted to.

The Independent Publisher Book Awards

Since 1996, the “IPPY” Awards have described themselves as a “broad-based, unaffiliated awards program open to all members of the independent publishing industry.” They award gold, silver, and bronze medals to winners in over 100 categories, and feature them in an estimated 50 articles and press releases.

  • Who can win? Self-published authorsindependent publishers, university publishers.
  • When can you submit? Annually
  • Entry fee: $75 to $95 based on time of submission.

The Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Award

Since 2005, the Foreword INDIES Awards offer a chance for some serious recognition — and prizes! The top two winners each receive a $1,500 cash prize and are promoted with the other finalists through press releases, articles, and social media to Foreword’s list of over 10,000 industry connections. Foreword Reviews sponsors these awards. They take submissions in 56 categories.

  • Who can apply? Self-published authors, independent publishers, university presses.
  • When can you submit? Annually
  • Entry fee: $99 for the first category, $79 for subsequent categories.

The Next Generation Indie Book Awards 

Drawing from 70 categories, the Next Generation Indie Book Awards offer $1,500 to their top winners in Fiction and NonFiction, as well as smaller cash prizes and a trophy for finalists in all categories. The top 80 books are sent to New York literary agent Marilyn Allen of Allen Literary Agency for possible representation in distribution, foreign rights, film rights, and other rights. Independent Book Publishing Professionals Group sponsors these awards. All winners are listed in Next Generation Indie Book Awards Catalog, with exposure to thousands of book buyers and media.

  • Who can win? Self-published authors, independent publishers, university presses.
  • When can you submit? Annually
  • Entry fee: $75 for first category, $60 for subsequent categories.

The Best Indie Book Award 

The “BIBA” is a self-sponsored international award honoring exceptional works of fiction and nonfiction, split into genres. Winners receive a beautiful glass trophy and the promotion of their winning book across newsletters, social media, and press releases.

  • Who can win? Self-published authors, independent publishers, university presses.
  • When can you submit? Annually, submissions open in January and close mid-October each year.
  • Entry fee: $50 fee per book.

The National Indie Excellence Awards

With over 100 categories, the National Indie Excellence Awards recognize books that “demonstrate overall excellence through a synergy of form and content” in their respective genre categories. Now in their 14th year of awards, these awards offer winners national media promotion and coverage.

  • Who can win? Small presses, mid-size independent publishers, university presses, and self-published authors. Note: Only print books may be entered, not ebooks.
  • When can you submit? Annually
  • Entry fee: $75 per category.

Eric Hoffer Book Award

The Eric Hoffer Book Award has honored independent books for nearly two decades in memory of its namesake, with permission from the Eric Hoffer Estate. It offers a grand prize of $2,500 to one recipient each year and prizes for press distinction, category-based honors, and other specialized awards. This award does have a Legacy entry for books published in previous years. 

  • Who can win? Self-published authors, academic presses, small/micro presses.
  • When can you submit? Annually
  • Entry fee: $60.

Writer’s Digest Self-Published Ebook Award

This annual award from Writer’s Digest honors one grand prize winner (across genres) with $5,000 in cash, a featured interview in their magazine, and a paid trip to the Writer’s Digest Annual Conference! Winning first prize in each category isn’t a shabby prize either — $1,000 in cash and a press announcement.

  • Who can win? Self-published authors of ebooks and authors who publish with a small press that publishes fewer than 12 books a year. Note: Ebooks must be between 40,000 and 100,000 words.
  • When can you submit? Annually, generally between April 1 and late May.
  • Entry fee: Between $99 and $125 depending on time of submission; additional cost per category submitted to.

Rubery Book Prize

The Rubery Book Prize is an international book award organization. They offer a grand “Book of the Year” prize, which includes a £2000 (approx 2760USD) cash prize as well as £200 (approx 276USD) for category winners. In addition, every winner receives a glass plaque, and all winners & shortlisted authors receive a write-up.

  • Who can win? Self-published authors and independent presses
  • When can you submit? Annually
  • Entry fee: £37 / $60.

The IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award

The IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award has recognized excellence in independent book publishing for over 30 years. It includes over fifty categories, and winners are announced to major trade journals, select libraries, all IBPA social media channels (including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, the IBPA news feed), and more.

  • Who can win? The program accepts entries from all publishing models, including self-published and independent authors.
  • When can you submit? Annually.
  • Entry fee: $95 for IBPA members and $225 for non-members.

The Pulitzer

Perhaps one of the most distinguished of books awards, The Pulitzer Prize and Fellowships, established at Columbia University by the will of the first Joseph Pulitzer, are awarded by the University on the recommendation of The Pulitzer Prize Board. Eligibility for these awards shall be restricted to works first published in the United States during the year and made available in hardcover or bound paperback form for purchase by the general public. Winners receive a cash prize of $15,000.

  • Who can win? The program accepts entries from all publishing models, including self-published and independent authors.
  • When can you submit? Annually.
  • Entry fee: $75 per entry

Genre Specific

Horror: 

Bram Stoker Award

The Horror Writers Association presents the Bram Stoker Award across categories such as Young Adult, First Novel, Anthology, and more for “superior achievement” in dark fantasy and horror writing. Authors and publishers may submit books, or members of the HWA may nominate books for consideration.

  • Who can win? Both self-published and traditionally published authors writing in the horror genre.
  • When can you submit? The final deadline is November 30 each year.
  • Entry fee: Free.

Science Fiction and Fantasy: 

The Hugo Award

Similar to the Bram Stoker Awards, the prestigious Hugo Awards are based around a system of nominations and votes from the World Science Fiction Society, and are annually awarded to works of science fiction and fantasy.

  • Who can win? Self-published authors, traditionally published authors, artists, publications, editors, and more, as long as they are creating work in the science fiction or fantasy genre. Note: You cannot submit your own book; a member of the WSFS must nominate books for consideration.
  • When can you submit? Nominations take place between January and March each year.
  • Entry fee: Free.

Nebula Awards

The annual Nebula Awards celebrate science fiction and fantasy writing. The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America nominates, votes on, and selects the winners. Winners are invited to attend the Nebula Awards Banquet, which includes panel discussions and meetings with editors and agents.

  • Who can win? Both self-published and traditionally published authors writing in the science fiction or fantasy genre. Note: A member of the SFWA must nominate a book for consideration; authors, editors, publishers, or agents may not nominate their own works. Winners do not have to be members of the SFWA.
  • When can you submit? The nomination period is November 15 to February 15 each year.
  • Entry fee: Free.

LGBT: 

Lambda Literary Awards

For over three decades, the “Lammys” have celebrated LGBT publishing, honoring books based on “literary merit and content relevant to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer lives.” Lambda Literary has sponsored these annual awards since 1997.

  • Who can win? Self-published authors and traditionally published authors. Note: Only books in print format may be considered.
  • When can you submit? Annually
  • Entry fee: $55.

Children’s: 

Newbery Medal

Operating since 1922, the Newbery Medal is the oldest continuing award for distinguished children’s books in the world. The American Library Association awards the medal in January of each year.

  • Who can win? Any US author (self-published or traditionally published) whose book is intended for children up to age 14.
  • When can you submit? The deadline each year is December 31.
  • Entry fee: Free.

Christian Fiction: 

The Christy Awards

Named for Catherine Marshall’s bestselling novel, Christy, the Christy Awards have honored excellence in fiction written from a Christian worldview since 1991. The Evangelical Christian Publishers Association presents these awards annually, selecting a winner from each of their nine categories.

  • Who can win? Traditionally published authors, and self-published authors if they meet certain requirements.
  • When can you submit? Annually
  • Entry fee: $175.

Mystery: 

The Edgar Awards

The Mystery Writers of America present the Edgar Awards annually to celebrate mystery books. Named in honor of Edgar Allen Poe, the Edgar Awards have multiple subgenres such as short stories, young adult, true crime, and more. They are largely regarded to be the most prestigious award in the genre!

  • Who can win? Authors writing in the mystery/thriller genre who meet the Active Status membership requirements.
  • When can you submit? These awards operate on a tiered submission schedule based on the date of publication throughout the year. See the schedule here.
  • Entry fee: Free.

Romance: 

RITA Awards

With 13 subcategories, the RITA Awards are a coveted honor for romance novels and novellas. The Romance Writers of America facilitate these annual awards. Tip: They only accept 1,200 paid submissions, so apply as soon as the submission date opens!

  • Who can win? Self-published and traditionally published authors writing in the romance genre. Note: RWA members’ submissions get priority; Authors can become members of the RWA for a $99 annual fee.
  • When can you submit? Annually
  • Entry fee: $50 for the first entry.

Business:

Axiom Business Book Awards

The Axiom Awards are 100% dedicated to identifying the best business books published each year for the North American Market. They are the only U.S.-based award contest focused solely on business books. The winner, finalists, and honorable mentions appear for an entire year on the website. Winners are also featured on www.indepentedpublisher.com and highlighted prominently in their monthly newsletter, reaching more than 20,000 subscribers worldwide, many of whom are agents, buyers, and librarians.

  • Who can win? Authors and publishers throughout North America and overseas publishers who publish English-language business books.
  • When can you submit? Annually
  • Entry fee: $85 per category

Children’s Books

John Newbury Award

The Newbery Medal was named for eighteenth-century British bookseller John Newbery. It is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.

  • Who can win? Authors and publishers throughout North America and overseas publishers who publish English-language books in North America.
  • When can you submit? Annually, by December 31st of each calendar year.
  • Entry fee: Free

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