Beyond Major Prizes: The Value of Targeted Book Awards for Indie Authors

Photo of Hannah Jacobson Oct 2023

Hannah Jacobson from Book Award Pro

In this regular Alliance of Independent Authors post our Book Award Advisor, Hannah Jacobson, considers the value of targeted book awards for indie authors, and how they can validate, motivate and more. 

Welcome to the Book Award Update June 2024 with Book Award Pro.

Don’t Let “Famous” Book Awards Define Your Success as an Author 

For many authors, being recognized with a famous, esteemed literary award (such as the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, or the Man Booker Prize) represents the pinnacle of literary achievement. These honors carry immense prestige for some groups, and can elevate an author’s reputation in the book world.

However, the reality is that the vast majority of authors will never have a chance at these prestigious prizes due to strict eligibility requirements around traditional publishing avenues.

This can be a particularly disheartening realization for independent authors who self-publish or go the non-traditional publishing route.

But here’s an important perspective to maintain: you do not need to win the Pulitzer Prize, National Book Award, or Booker Prize to be considered a wildly successful, award-winning author with an engaged readership. There are a wide array of respected and targeted book awards that provide validation, visibility, and credibility to writers. These often have a focus on a specific genre, theme, geographic location or publishing type.

The Value of Book Awards for Indie Authors

While many “famous” literary prizes may seem out of reach, securing more targeted book awards can be beneficial for independent authors in several ways:

Validation: Having your work selected by a panel of respected literary professionals provides third-party endorsement of your writing skills.

Visibility: In an oversaturated market, any award can help your book stand out and get noticed by potential readers.

Credibility: The ability to describe your book as award-winning enhances its positioning and your reputation as a writer. And many more targeted book awards will resonate specifically with readers of your chosen genre, topic, locality or similar.

Motivation: Being recognized for your craft provides a sense of achievement and inspiration to continue producing high-quality work.

Don’t Be Deterred by Ineligibility

Just because you may not meet the strict criteria for a specific award, don’t be deterred from pursuing other prestigious honors. Numerous respected regional, genre, and association awards regularly accept submissions (and recognize talent) from indie authors.

Winning or being nominated for these types of distinguished and more targeted awards can unlock the same potential benefits provided by a more well-known program.

Embrace an Award Submission Strategy

As an independent author, you should absolutely make submitting your books to relevant, respected awards a component of your overall marketing and promotion efforts. More independent authors are being recognized by literary award programs each year. Consistent nominations and wins over time can elevate your status, create marketing hooks, boost sales, and expand your readership.

Don’t get discouraged if you don’t immediately win the awards you apply for. Keep writing at a high level, pursue the awards that are a good fit for your work, and celebrate any accolades that you achieve. The path to success rarely depends on landing a certain “big one.”

By staying motivated and continually putting out high-quality writing, you can achieve tremendous success as an award-winning indie author through a multitude of prestigious honors beyond the “famous” prizes.

About Hannah Jacobson, ALLi Awards & Story Marketing Advisor

Book Award Pro LogoHannah Jacobson is the founder of Book Award Pro: the company that leads the industry in helping authors find the perfect reviews and awards for their books.

Book Award Pro is the industry expert on accolades, operating the world’s largest database of legitimate reviews and awards. Every year, authors spanning six continents win thousands of new awards, receive valuable reviews, and market their books in one easy-to-use platform.

Book Award Pro has been a trusted ALLi Partner Member since 2020. Hannah is the ALLi advisor for awards and story marketing, and contributes to ALLi resources including the Book Award & Contest Ratings page, Book Prizes & Awards for Indie Authors guidebook, and the Ultimate Guide to Winning Book Awards. Begin your award-winning journey for free or connect with Hannah and Book Award Pro on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

Find out more

Front cover Book Prizes and Awards for Indie AuthorsFor more information on applying for book awards that are open to indie authors, you can purchase our short guide, available in multiple formats on our bookstore: Book Prizes & Awards for Indie Authors.

Members enjoy free access to the ebook.

Thoughts or further questions on this post or any self-publishing issue?

Question mark in light bulbsIf you’re an ALLi member, head over to the SelfPubConnect forum for support from our experienced community of indie authors, advisors, and our own ALLi team. Simply create an account (if you haven’t already) to request to join the forum and get going.

Non-members looking for more information can search our extensive archive of blog posts and podcast episodes packed with tips and advice at ALLi’s Self-Publishing Advice Centre.


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