As promised, here is some information for several book awards contests around the country. This list is far from comprehensive, so be sure to check with your local library, major booksellers, and your own Internet searches.
If it hadn’t been for our local library, I may not have learned of the San Diego Book Awards Association before the deadline passed. This competition is limited to San Diego residents, but you may have something similar in your area. For this contest, the book had to be published in the 2010 calendar year. That is not true of all competitions. Check the submission guidelines for each!
Another contest in which The Blizzard is entered is sponsored by the Southern California Independent Booksellers Assn. . It is only one of nine regional organizations (see list below), which, I assume, hold their own contests. Check out the one in your area. An interesting note about the current SCIBA competition is that is hasn’t even closed yet. The deadline is July 15th for books published between July 1, 2010 and June 30, 2011.
•Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association
•Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers Association
•New England Independent Booksellers Association
•Northern California Independent Booksellers Association
•Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association
•Midwest Booksellers Association
•New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association
•Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance
A major competition is for the IPPY, the prize presented by the Independent Publishers Book Awards. Its contest is divided into 69 categories and drew over 4,000 entries last year. They also give awards for the Best Regional Fiction and Best Regional Non-Fiction books in eight U.S. and two Canadian regions, plus Australia/New Zealand.
As with any competition, watch your submission deadlines! The IPPYs give you a break on the entry fee for getting your entry(ies) in early. The Blizzard is entered in the national Young Adult Fiction category and also in the Great Lakes Region contest, because the story – in case you didn’t know – takes place in northern Illinois.
ForeWord, a trade journal devoted exclusively to reviewing books from independent houses, sponsors its annual Book of the Year Awards to bring increased attention to the literary and graphic achievements of independent publishers and their authors.
The are numerous awards to recognize excellence within a given genre and even for sub-categories within a genre. For example, if you’re a mystery writer, you can compete for the Edgar Allen Poe Award (the “Edgar”) but if your hero is a private eye, then you also qualify for consideration in the Shamus Awards. There are a total of 44 awards for mystery writing.
The Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards are a specialty competition to recognize excellence in children’s and young adult literature. As in many of the book awards competitions, each entry is read by each member of a three judge panel.
Yes, there is a monetary investement in entering these contests, but as I mentioned last time, winning an award can provide big promotion and publicy advantages. If you don’t believe in your book, why should anyone else? But whether you win or not, I think there is a certain “street cred” you get when talking with publishers, agents, or other authors when you mention your book is entered in such-and-such contest. It projects confidence in your ability as well as knowledge of and participation in this industry you’ve chosen to join. Lastly, I admit there is a bit of excitement as you await the announcement of the winners.