7 Book Competitions for Indie Authors

Winning Awards & Influencing Readers

Indie writers can shine by earning a seal of approval from respected literary competitions. Although top book awards may be limited to traditionally published authors, the popularity of breakout talent in the self-published market is driving organizations to find ways to find the hidden gems within the 1,700,000 self-published titles released each year.

With the work judged on the quality of writing and the production value of the finished product, book competitions help you gain exposure and build your audience. You may even win some prize money along the way. 


So if you’re ready to take your writing to the next level, here are some fantastic contests and competitions to consider.

The Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards 

The annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards honor self-published books in several categories, including memoir, romance, mystery, and science fiction. The competition offers a $1,000 to $10,000 grand prize, a paid trip to the Writer’s Digest Annual conference, and more. <More>

Entry Fee $100

Deadline June 1, 2023

The BookLife Prize, hosted by Publishers Weekly, is an annual writing contest for self-published authors. The competition is open to all genres and offers a grand prize of $5,000 and a profile in Publishers Weekly. <More>

Entry Fee $99

Entry Deadlines

        • Fiction August 31, 2023
        • Nonfiction October 2, 2023 & January 31, 2024

The Chanticleer International Book Awards

This competition offers cash prizes and recognition for the winners. The categories include mystery, romance, science fiction, and more. <More>

Entry Fee $99

Entry Deadline Varies by Genre

Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Award

There’s the Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Award for those who write in the mystery and thriller genres. This contest accepts self-published works and those published through traditional publishing channels. Better yet, the awards are bestowed at their annual conference with an audience of well-known agents, editors, and small publishers. <More>

Entry Fee $85 (Free if you are a conference attendee)

Entry Deadline June 15, 2023 (For books published in 2022)

The Independent Book Publisher Awards (IPPY)

The Independent Publisher Book Awards is an annual competition that honors the best in independent publishing. The competition offers cash prizes and recognition for the winners. Over 90 contest categories include fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. <More>

Entry Fee $75 – $95

Entry Deadline February 2024

IndieReader Discovery Awards

The IndieReader Discovery Awards is an annual competition that honors the best in self-published and indie books. The competition offers cash prizes, reviews, and recognition for the winners.<More>

Entry Fee $150

Entry Deadline February 15, 2024

The Next Generation Indie Book Awards

This is an annual competition honoring the best in independent publishing. The competition offers cash prizes and recognition for the winners. Categories include fiction, nonfiction, and children’s books, among others.<More>

Entry Fee $75

Entry Deadline February 9, 2024

photo of keyboard with lightbulb idea symbol for the enter key

While the entry fees for these contests can add up quickly, many authors find that the benefits of entering far outweigh the costs. Winning can significantly boost an author’s career, including increased visibility, media coverage, and peer recognition.


Even if you don’t win, participating in a contest can be a great way to gain objective feedback on your writing and the marketability of your novel. Additionally, many competitions offer opportunities to attend conferences, workshops, and networking events, providing valuable resources for self-published authors looking to expand their networks and improve their craft.

Submission Checklist

Carefully read the rules and guidelines for each contest to ensure you follow all requirements for manuscript formatting, genre categories, and entry fees.


It’s also a good idea to research the judges and previous winners to give you a sense of the type of work that tends to do well in each competition and help you tailor your submission accordingly.


Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for feedback from other writers or professionals in the industry before submitting your work. A fresh set of eyes can help identify areas for improvement and ensure that your submission is the best it can be.


So why not take the plunge and see where your writing can take you?

Copyright 2023 | Indie Writer Pro

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