When a book wins an award, the result is free publicity for the author and usually additional book sales. The Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award are probably the most well-known and prestigious in the US, and the winners are almost always books from established commercial publishers. There are no application forms for The Pulitzer Prize. Those awards are given to books which the big publishers make sure a small group of prestigious industry insiders know about. If your author’s book is published by an established commercial publisher, ask the publisher if there are any awards that they think this book might win. You can only encourage them to consider it, but the awards process is something only the publisher can do.
The opposite is true for books that are self published because you can help the author apply for these. But be careful: There are only a few recognized awards programs that are worthwhile and give book awards specifically for self-published or small press books. Most prizes are annual, and there are numerous ones for different categories of books. There are many awards and new ones springing up each year, but the ones listed below are the only ones recommended because they are recognized by the book industry and seem to be create meaningful publicity when an author wins one.
1.Benjamin Franklin Award – Independent Book Publishers Association – www.IBPA-online.org
2.IPPY – Independent Publisher – www.IndependentPublisher.com, also sponsors the Axiom Business Book Awards (not yet well recognized)
3.Book of the Year – Foreword Magazine – www.ForewordMagazine.com/awards
4.Best Book Awards – USA Book News – www.USABookNews.com
5.International Self-Published Book Awards – Writer’s Digest – www.WritersDigest.com/selfpublished
Not all book awards come from the US, but you must apply in the country of publication. There is a very prestigious book award in Australia, the Australia Book Industry Awards with a number of categories.
For more information, please contact Kathy Fulcher
Australian Book Industry Awards Manager
Australian Publishers Association
Phone: 02 9281 9788
Almost all entries for any book awards require an entrance fee, per book and per category. Make sure and submit all required information along with the right number of book copies by the due date. You will apply for book awards at the end of the book’s publication year or the year after. In other words, if the book is published in May 2014, then the publication year is 2014 and you will need to apply for most of these awards at the end of that calendar year (December 2014) or early 2015. Make sure and check the web sites for these important dates as they do change.
What Kinds of Books Win Awards?
Book awards competitions are generally judged by boards of book industry professionals. These professionals expect that books submitted will be of professional quality, inside and out.
Award winning books have five things in common:
1. Originality and creativity – the book takes risks in terms of design and treatment of the subject matter.
2. Connection with and transformation of the reader – the book reaches the intended audience emotionally and tells a great story (even nonfiction books). The reader feels transformed as if he or she has entered the author’s world while reading the book, taking the reader through an experience.
3. Professional editing – the book doesn’t have grammatical errors or typos. It is not only well written, but polished.
4. Professionally designed cover and book interior– the book’s cover and interior match the subject and tone of the book. The cover and interior look professional and enhance the experience of the book.
5. Fits the category – The book is the epitome of a great book for the category entered. Selecting the right category for entry is essential.
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