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  • Writer's pictureS.E. Reed

Navigating Book Awards

So you want to win an award? I want YOU to win one too! 

Why? Because winning awards is invigorating! It motivates you to write more, sub more, publish more… Because, come on. You didn’t put years of blood, sweat and tears into writing your book for it to sit in a black hole. You want people to find it online and in bookstores. Winning an award is a great way to get your book the recognition it deserves.

When you win an award for your writing, it helps you build a bigger audience for your masterpiece(s). Not to mention it's a boost to your ego. We love endorphins! 

Over the last few years, while on my own #YA writing journey, I’ve learned a lot about various kinds of writing awards for both books and short fiction. So I thought I’d break it down for you, in case you’ve been too scared to explore the world of literary accolades all by your lonesome.  

For the sake of this post, we will talk about awards for books as opposed to short fiction. That might be a post at a later date. There are a wide variety of awards for books based on genre, age range, the author’s location, the author’s identity, and content/subject matter, but there is only 3 ways to get your book into those awards. 


This means you (as the author) can fill out the application, pay the fee (if there is a fee), upload a digital copy or mail off the number of print copies.

Publisher Submit 

This means your publisher (if you have one) will complete the application, pay the fee (if there is a fee) and upload or mail your book. 

General Public/Librarian Submit

This means “open-call” nominations for awards via the general public (i.e. someone who read a copy of your book LOVED it and submitted it to an award they came across) or a librarian read your book and nominated it for an award. Generally, if this is the case, your publisher will be contacted for your information and copies of the book. 

You might have noticed I mentioned “fees”. Yes. Many of the book awards require a payment to be considered.

Now, I have feelings about this, but I’ll keep them to myself. But on average, the fee to enter any nationally or internationally recognized book award is around $99. Not to mention the cost of mailing copies of your book to the judges. 

Not all book awards require a fee. There are a number of renowned book awards that have endowments to cover the expense of running. And some of the book awards offer a “Cash Prize” as part of the winners circle, so if you do win, you effectively have reimbursed yourself for the fee (if there was one). 

If you are published with one of the major houses, the cost of the book award fees as well as the process of submitting is typically handled by the marketing department at your publisher. So if you fall into this bucket, I’d reach out to your literary agent or publisher to ask if they have submitted your book, or plan to submit it, to any book awards. 

For everyone else, it comes down to searching the internet and asking around. You can also see if your indie publisher has a list. 

A few Book Award websites to check out: 

And remember, only submit your book if you are excited about the idea of winning an award! If this seems daunting or is not financially viable, it’s okay to skip it.

Good luck! Make sure to sign up for my infrequent newsletter and feel free to drop a note below if you have any awards you want to shout out or share that you’ve won. 




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