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Top Awards for Independently Published Authors

As the end of the year nears, it seems like every few weeks another round of traditionally published books and authors win the Pulitzer, Man Booker, National Book Critics Circle, and Hugo awards—to name a few. It feels endless—and sometimes deflating. What about the independently published authors who’ve put their heart, soul and countless hours into their books?

Let’s face it: the desire to win an award is two-fold. Not only does it give you, as the author, validation, but it also gives you more credibility among readers looking for their next good read. There are plenty of awards out there specifically for independent authors. Here we list just a few worth submitting to:

Writer's Digest Self-Published Book Awards Banner

Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards

Yes, you read correctly. This is sponsored by the same Writer’s Digest many of us read for advice, so you know it’s legit. Although submissions are closed for this year, future authors take note. Entering a book into one or more of their nine open genres means you have a chance to win $3,000 (or $1,000 for nine runner-up winners), a paid trip to the annual Writer’s Digest conference in New York City, access into several new distribution channels, 10 copies of your book for submission to major publishing houses, and much, much more.

Next Generation Indie Book Awards

It’s been five years since the first awards were handed out, and it’s still going strong! Enter your book into one of over 60 categories and you may be the recipient of a cash prize of up to $1,500, you’ll be attending the gala awards ceremony in New York City, and you’ll be listed in the awards catalog, which goes to “thousands of book buyers, media, and others” according to the website. Last, but not least, the top 60 titles will be reviewed by an agent at Allen O’Shea Literary Agency for potential representation in areas of distribution, foreign rights, and film rights (unless an entrant prefers not to have the book forwarded to an agent).

Foreword Book of the Year Awards

The Foreword Awards are established to “bring increased attention from librarians and booksellers to the literary achievements of independent publishers and their authors.” The Foreword Book of the Year awards are chosen by a jury of readers, librarians, and booksellers. Open to books published within the last year, there are 20-plus genres/categories to choose from. And once you submit you’re eligible for a $1,500 grand prize. They announce winners at the annual American Library Association conference.

Independent Publisher Book Awards

Open to English books and intended for the North American market, the “IPPY” awards are one of the oldest. The awards are now in their 17th year! They will accept national entries in 75 categories, including 19 fiction categories, and new for this year—ebook awards.


B.R.A.G. stands for Book Readers Appreciation Group. They found it to find those diamonds in the rough among indie titles. “We hold indie authors to a higher standard. The decision to honor a self-published book must be unanimous among the group of our readers who review it.”

Of course there are other awards out there, but be wary of some. You should never lose the rights to your work, but most submissions require you pay a nominal fee up front.

Now it’s your turn to tell us: what awards have you submitted for, and what was your experience?

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Jessica S

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Jessica S writes for the Lulu Blog

3 thoughts on “Top Awards for Independently Published Authors”

  1. @Roberto – Good question. I imagine that most of these awards are for book in English, but it’s worth contacting each of the programs directly to double check. You also might want to consider The Italian Cultural Affairs Ministry.

  2. @Donna – I’m sorry to hear about the trouble you’re facing. I think the best way to resolve this will be to ask you to create a new Lulu account using a new email address. Then, when you are logged into that account, please create a case with our support team. In the description of the support case please include the original email address of your original Lulu account that got hacked so that we can reference the issue.

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