Book Marketing: 40 Awards That Provide Exposure, Bragging Rights, and Open Doors for Authors

By Chris Olsen

Congratulations on becoming a published author! You might be thinking the hard work is behind you, but in many ways it’s just begun. Regardless of whether you’ve self-published or been published by a traditional publisher, as the author, you must be prepared to do the bulk of the marketing and promotion for your title. Some authors work with a publicist, but the majority take on their own marketing initiatives to ensure their book succeeds.

You can elevate awareness and generate buzz for your book by creating an author page on Amazon, Goodreads, and various social media channels, as well as by seeking reviews, making personal appearances, and reaching out to news outlets. Another useful (and underutilized) tool for getting your title noticed is entering book award contests. There are dozens of competitions sponsored by legitimate writers’ organizations and associations locally, nationally and worldwide. In addition to providing opportunities for exposure, many offer cash prizes. And bragging rights! Book awards can also open doors for authors—to retailers for in-store sales and promotion, to book agents for future publishing contracts, and more.

Because book award contests are not regulated, anyone can launch an awards program. Many companies use it as a way to build email lists and generate revenue through high entry fees and the selling of additional products and services. So it’s important to do your homework.

Publish Her has compiled a list of 40 book awards from organizations that appear to be reputable—several have been recognizing talented authors and excellent books for a number of years. However, be sure to thoroughly research the organizations, award criteria and fees before entering your book in any sort of contest.

  1. Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence (American Library Association):
  2. Benjamin Franklin Awards (Independent Book Publishers Association):
  3. Book of the Year Awards (Independent Authors Network):
  4. BookBrowse Awards:
  5. Bram Stroker Awards (The Horror Writers Association):
  6. Carol Awards (American Christian Fiction Writers):
  7. Carter G. Woodson Book Awards (National Council for the Social Studies):
  8. Christianity Today Book Award (Christianity Today):
  9. Christy Awards (Evangelical Christian Publishers Association):
  10. CMA Book Awards (Catholic Media Association):
  11. Colorado Book Awards (Colorado Humanities):
  12. Digital Book World Awards (Digital Book World):
  13. Edgar Awards (Mystery Writers of America):
  14. Foreword INDIES Book of the Year (Foreword Magazine):
  15. Georgia Author of the Year (Georgia Writers Association):
  16. Golden Kite Award (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators):
  17. Goodreads Choice Awards (Goodreads):
  18. Hugo Awards (World Science Fiction Society):
  19. Indie Author Project (IngramSpark, BiblioBoard, Library Journal):
  20. IndieReader Discovery Awards (IndieReader):
  21. International Book Award Contest (American Book Fest):
  22. James Beard Award (James Beard Foundation):
  23. John Newbery Medal (American Library Association):
  24. Kindle Book Awards (Kindle Book Review):
  25. LAMBDA Literary Review (LAMBDA Literary):
  26. Michael L. Printz Award (American Library Association):
  27. Midwest Book Awards (Midwest Independent Publishers Association):
  28. Mom’s Choice Awards (Mom’s Choice):
  29. National Book Awards (National Book Foundation):
  30. National Book Critics Circle Awards (National Book Critics Circle):
  31. Nebula Awards (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America):
  32. Next Generation Indie Book Awards (Next Generation):
  33. Otherwise Awards (James Tiptree Jr. Literary Council):
  34. PEN/Bellwether Prize (PEN America):
  35. PEN/Faulkner Awards (PEN America):
  36. Pulitzer Prize (Columbia School of Journalism):
  37. Spur Awards (Western Writers of America):
  38. Stonewall Book Awards (American Library Association):
  39. Story Monsters Book Awards (Story Monsters):
  40. WILLA Literary Award (Women Writing the West):

About the Author

Chris Olsen is a broadcast media veteran turned communications consultant, educator and the author of “Whyography: Building a Brand Fueled by Purpose.” The founder of Publish Her and Publish Her Story, Chris has helped thousands of women tell their stories and publish their books.

About Publish Her

Publish Her is a female-founded independent publisher dedicated to elevating the words, writing and stories of women. We are passionate about amplifying the voices of women of color, women with disabilities and members of the LGBTQ+ community. We aim to make publishing an attainable, exciting and collaborative process for all.