Book Awards for the Small Publisher

Hello, authors and small publishers!

We often have clients with a desire to enter their books into publishing competitions. It’s a great idea, but where do you start? We’ve researched the most popular national and international book awards and compiled a list of those you may want to consider.

Awards are most often given for writing quality, production quality, and design (inside and cover). There are subject/genre categories, design categories, and even special awards for new publishers, new authors, or those leaving a legacy. You’ll want to choose each category wisely, as part of the criteria will be based on your book’s genre. You’ll be required to send one or more copies of your book per category to the sponsoring organization. Most then donate the books to various libraries or non-profits.

Of course, if you are a finalist or winner, you are able to tout your book as an award-winner (maybe even national or international award-winner), and you become an award-winning author. You can purchase stickers to place on the cover, tout it all over your website and social media, and send out press releases to announce the news. Each competition offers their own perks to winners as well, ranging from monetary prizes, representation at trade shows, announcements in their magazines, and their own press releases.


Note: The first 3 tend to be the most prestigious for indie publishers.

IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards
Regarded as one of the highest national honors in independent publishing. The Awards are unique in that the entrants receive direct feedback on their titles. The actual judging forms are returned to all participating publishers.
ELIGIBILITY: For print books or audiobooks with a copyright date of 2018
COST: IBPA member: $95 per title, per category
Non-IBPA member: $225 for first title, which includes a one-year membership in IBPA; $95 per title, per category for second and subsequent entries.
DEADLINE: December 15, 2018

ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Awards
Sponsored by ForeWord Reviews Magazine; awarded only to independently-published books.
Check site for more information. As of publishing this post, awards for next year are not yet open.

Independent Publisher’s IPPY Awards
Honors the year’s best independently published title from around the world.
COST: $85 per category
DEADLINE: Feb. 23, 2019

TLC and clients took home three awards at the 2018 IBPA Bennies.
Pictured: Monica, Ian Lamont, Tami Dever, Rachel Pellegrino


The following listings appear in alphabetical order.

Axiom Business Book Awards
ELIGIBILITY: books from business book authors and publishers worldwide that are published with a 2017-2019 copyright or that were released between May 2017 and January 2019.
COST: $95 per category. Early-bird entry fee of $85 per category available until October 13, 2018.
DEADLINE: January 12, 2019

Christian Small Publishers Association: Christian Indie Awards
ELIGIBILITY: Print books published with a 2017 or 2018 copyright and released for sale in 2017 or 2018.
COST: $45/category
DEADLINE: November 15, 2018

eLIT Book Awards
Digital publishing entertainment Publishers and authors worldwide creating electronic books written in English
ELIGIBILITY: Titles published with a 2017 or 2018 copyright or that were released between January 1, 2017 and January 31, 2019.
COST: $70 per category
DEADLINE: January 31st, 2019

Eric Hoffer Award (along w/the Montagne Medal, da Vinci Eye, and First Horizon Awards also on their site)
ELIGIBILITY: one of the largest international book awards for small, academic, and independent presses. For all books either published or copyrighted in the prior two years
COST: Not listed, but has been $50 per category in the past
DEADLINE: January 21 each year

Living Now Book Awards
ELIGIBILITY: lifestyle, homestyle, personal development and wellness books
COST: $75/category
DEADLINE: open in November 2018

Illumination Awards
ELIGIBILITY: Christian-themed books written in English with copyrights 2017-2019, or that were released since January 1, 2017. Enduring Light Medals reward exemplary Christian-themed books published since the year 2000.
COST: $85 per category
Two books/category
DEADLINE: December 15, 2018

International Book Awards
ELIGIBILITY: Open to all 2017–2019 Published Books with an ISBN.
COST: $45/category EARLY BIRD SPECIAL: $10 off entry through September 30, 2018
DEADLINE: April 30, 2019

Mom’s Choice Awards (children’s/family books)
ELIGIBILITY: Accepts books and products for families and children
COST: Level 1: $500; Level 2: $1,500IBPA Members receive a 40% discount
DEADLINE: accepts entries year round

The National Indie Excellence Book Awards
ELIGIBILITY: English language books that are available for sale wherever good books are sold both on and in bookstores.
COST: $75.00 per category
DEADLINE: March 31, 2019

Nautilus Book Awards
ELIGIBILITY: Books with either a 2018 or 2017 publication date
COST: Early Entry Fees (USD) will be in effect, starting September 21, through Oct. 31: $165 for 1st category that a Title is entered in, plus $125 for a 2nd (or 3rd) category of same title. Note that all books for Children & Young Adults have $125 Early Entry Fee.
DEADLINE: entries with postmark date between Sept 21, 2018 through Feb. 8, 2019

Next Generation Indie Book Awards
ELIGIBILITY: Books with a 2017, 2018 or 2019 copyright date
COST: Early Bird Special – Enter online by September 30, 2018 and receive a $60 discount on the entry of a second category. Early Bird Special is only $75 and includes the entry of one title in two categories. On October 1, 2018 the price to enter two categories increases by $60.
DEADLINE: February 15, 2019

USA Best Book Awards
COST: $69 per category
DEADLINE: September 30, 2018

Whistler Independent Book Awards
Recognizing excellence in Canadian independent publishing
ELIGIBILTY: Self-publisher who is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada. The book must be copyrighted within the last six years and the author must retain all rights.
COST: $100 plus GST per fiction and non-fiction entry
DEADLINE: Entries open March 1, 2019

Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards
ELIGIBILITY: English-language self-published books for which the authors have paid the full cost of publication
COST: $45/category
DEADLINE: closed for 2018
Last year’s info:
Early-Bird Deadline: May 4, 2018
Deadline: June 1, 2018
Extended Deadline: June 15, 2018
Manuscript entry—$35 for the first entry; $30 for each additional.

Tweed Scott accepting one of his many awards.

There are also regional awards sponsored by publishing organizations. Be sure to search online for those in your state or region. In addition, there may be competitions related to your book’s topic that may or may not be solely for books, such as cookbooks, parenting, Autism spectrum, or equestrian products.


Wrapping it Up

Together with our clients, TLC is the recipient of more than 200 awards! (You can see some of them here.) While our goal in creating a book is not to win awards, we can attest that it’s fun to be chosen, whether it’s a finalist, silver, or gold! On occasion, we’re able to attend the awards ceremonies with our clients. Those are special moments for everyone involved. If you’re a finalist and able to attend, by all means go!

What have you entered? How did you do? How have you used your awards to gain more PR and more sales? What did you enter that’s not on our list? We want to hear from you!

Thanks and blessings,


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