Book Awards Matter

I’ve been struggling this week with the numbers. I ran across this picture on the web and it said it all. “If nobody knows about your book, what’s the point in writing it?” It’s a fair question. A little pessimistic, but fair. I want people to read my book. It sounds self-promotional, but there is a big difference between self-promo and book promo. I don’t really care about the “me” in all of this, but I do care about the book. It’s the work that matters.

My numbers look like this: a first run at Autumn House Press is 700 books. I’ve sold 400 books over the past six months. More than half of my run. My publisher is pleased. To be honest, I’m not. Not really.

So, the question is, how does an author sell more books?

I’m exploring the world of Book Awards.

Bookriot has a blog post on “Like It or Not Book Awards Matter.” According to Josh Corman, “Prize-winners are covered and discussed more intensely than most.” When a book wins an award, there is media coverage and discussion and the book’s readership grows. Every author’s dream.

Navigating the world of book awards takes time and effort. There are simply hundreds of book awards out there. Why not enter them all? Because each entry costs on average $50 to $100 entry fee and from one to five copies of your book. So I’m back to making another spreadsheet. Name of award, cost, number of books to submit, who is allowed to enter, categories of books, type of press the award honors, deadlines.

After browsing through book award websites for days, I’ve come across a few favorites and I’ve narrowed my field down to awards which my book fits best.

I’m looking for these types of awards

  • honor small and independent presses
  • have category sections such as memoir, women’s writing, or cross-cultural stories
  • new writer’s awards
  • first book awards
  • Regional or state affiliated awards

Here are a few of my favorite finds.

The Book Publicist: “37 Top Book Awards Authors Should Pursue in 2015”

IndieFAB: The IndiFAB Book of the Year Awards, Honoring Indie Published books.

Eric Hoffer Award: For Small, Academic, and Independent Presses.

GLCA New Writers Award: The Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers Award.

Sarton Women’s Literary Award: Sponsored by Story Circle this is an award for women, and it has a memoir category.

Minnesota Book Awards: This fabulous award, for Minnesota authors, opens up in August. You can be sure, as a resident of this great state, it is on the top of my list!

I ran across several other awards I would have loved to enter but they had already closed. My book was published in January 2015, and a lot of book awards cover one full year. So I thought I could enter from January ’15 to January ’16. I was surprised, however, by how many of the book awards had odd deadlines and had already closed.

So here I go. It will be about a year from now when notifications of wins are sent out. So, wish me luck, but don’t hold your breath.


Photo credit to Book Marketing Expert 

Jill Kandel
  • Kim Pawlak
    Posted at 10:30h, 01 October Reply

    Nominations for the Text and Academic Authors Association’s 2016 Textbook Awards is now open. Visit for more information. Entry deadline is Dec. 1.

    • Jill Kandel
      Posted at 15:11h, 01 October Reply

      Thanks for this information, Kim!

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