Enter Your Book For Awards

As an author, you might be wondering how to enter your book for awards. Or whether it’s worth it, because most awards charge a fee to enter. To reassure you, the benefits of winning an award are multiple and everlasting because:

  • Entering an award gives you more content to share with your readers. Why not tell them how you felt about the start of the process in a blog? Then you can talk about the award even if you don’t make the shortlist.
  • The awarding body could have a much larger audience on social media, where they share news of their long list as well as shortlisted finalists.
  • If successful, you can change all your social media and author biographies to say "Award-winning author".
  • Some awards offer cash prizes to the winner(s), others offer agency, book marketing or production services.
  • As a winner, you would get an interview with the organisers, resulting in extra promotion for your book.
  • The local press may be interested in covering your story if you win.
  • A conventional publisher may be involved in the awards and see your book via the entry process, resulting in a publishing deal.

Choosing which book awards to enter

However, how will you know which awards to enter? There are so many to choose from and some are more well-known and credible than others. Before entering an award, do your research:

  • Is the award you’re entering well-respected in the writing community?
  • Where do the organisers promote the award; will it result in publicity for you?
  • What sort of books have won the award before?
  • Have they got tips for entering the award; is there a guide to their form?
  • Does your book meet the eligibility criteria?
  • How expensive is the entry fee and is there any requirement to attend the awards event?

Sadly, some prizes and awards are only available to authors who have the backing of a large publishing house, with a large marketing budget to contribute to the awards campaign or to buy tickets to the gala event. Others deliberately exclude self-publishing or hybrid publishing houses, where the author has paid for the publication. Do read the small print on the terms and conditions carefully.

One way to check the credentials of an award is to join the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) and ask the question in their forum. Below we’ve listed some of the awards which our authors have entered.

The Rubery Book Award
The Rubery Book Award is designed for independently published and self-published books; you cannot enter an unpublished manuscript or a book from one of the large conventional publishing houses. In 2021, SilverWood author Rosie Hewlett entered her book Medusa for the fiction category of the Rubery - and won. The judges felt that although many respected novelists are tackling the Greek legends and retelling them from the women’s point of view, this one easily shines through as one of the best.

Page Turner Awards
There are several categories for the Page Turner Awards and some great value prizes to be won. You can submit unpublished manuscripts for the Writing category or a published work for the Book award. They’re also interested in scripts for screen and books that could make great TV. Our Publishing Director Helen Hart has been a judge for these awards, and book mentor Lis McDermott joined the judging panel for 2022.

Bath Novel Awards
The Bath Novel Awards were designed for emerging talent to get spotted by agents and several winners have gone on to get conventional publishing deals. The prize fund is a total of £6,000 and there is a sponsorship fund for writers who need assistance to pay the entry fee of circa £40. These awards were founded in 2013 by Caroline Ambrose a Bath-based book columnist, public libraries campaigner, & regular chair for literary events. There are twice-yearly award reception events, as they also run the Bath Novel Award for Children’s Books. The Bath Novel Awards are sponsored by Cornerstones Literary Consultancy.

BIBA® Literary Awards
The annual Best Indie Book Award® is an international literary awards contest open to self-published and independently published authors from all over the world. Entries are limited to books written in English, including those from small presses, e-book publishers, and self-published authors. The winners receive a trophy and marketing support from the organisers.

Romantic Novel Awards
The Romantic Novel Association runs an annual program of awards which include categories for an Inclusion award, Library or Librarian, Publisher, Media Star and New Writers. Visit their site to find out more details for entering the RNA Awards.

Crime Fiction Awards
There are a number of prestigious awards for crime fiction.The annual CrimeFest features their own awards programme and the Crime Writer’s Association runs the aptly-named Daggers.

There are also regional awards, like the East Anglian Book Awards, to look out for because these will help you raise your profile with local book groups, bookshops and potential readers.

Tips for winning an award

When entering for an award, it’s easy to rush through the submission form, simply to meet the deadline. However, to give your book a chance of winning, have a look at our tips below:

  • Check who the judges are. Can you figure out which details from your book will capture their interest?
  • Review the previous winners and what was said about them in the blogs or press interviews. What made their book stand out for the judges?
  • Make your submission or entry form as engaging as possible; you’re a writer, so use your words creatively to persuade them that they want to read your whole book.
  • Ensure you cover the basics, if asked for the synopsis of your book. Who is the main character, where does the story start? What’s taking place in the middle of your plot and how does it end?

Finally, remember the old lottery saying, "You’ve got to be in it to win it!" So be tenacious and keep applying for those where your book is eligible. Online sites like Mslexia and publications like Writing Magazine often run short story competitions or you could write letters to respond to their articles. All conversations eventually may lead to you being able to promote your book.

Want to know more?

If you would like to know more about publishing your book, please drop us a line here.

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“If you’re thinking of self-publishing, I hope you don't go at it alone. With a team like SilverWood behind you, you have the support you need to publish the best work you believe in.”

J A Higgins