Reach for the Moon and Land Among the Stars This Awards Season!

Book contests are a wonderful way for self-published authors to build upon their platforms and cultivate credibility. And yes, while they’re occasionally the hallmark of snootiness, awards ought not to be overlooked as the fantastic marketing tool they are! Not only will winning a book award (or two, or three) boost an author’s physical and social presence, they also create cross-searchable entries online and, as such, play a big role in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategies.

Yes, winning awards make for a great addition to your book listings on Amazon, Goodreads, and other websites, and they also give you a great excuse to throw a party or a book reading and possibly even release a new celebratory edition of your book! Awards do all these things–and they also perform a truly critical service in affirming your hard work.

It has been hard work, what you’ve accomplished. But awards aren’t just about you, they’re also about your readers! There are so many books in the world, and such fierce competition online and in bookstores for customers’ attention, that readers can easily be swamped by the sheer number of options available. Awards lend distinction, dare we say credibility, to help your book stand out in a crowded marketplace.

Book Contests

An award win or nomination increases your exposure in several key ways, including:

  1. Fleshing out your resume, biography, and social capital;
  2. Boosting your book’s marketing presence with feature articles in publications or online, in press releases, and elsewhere;
  3. Award badges which can be featured on your book’s cover, rendering it eye-catching both in stores and in online retail listings;
  4. Last but not least, several contests (including those held by Writer’s Digest and ForeWord Magazine) are attached to cash winnings, which can go a long way toward further marketing efforts for your award-winning opus.

It’s true that many contests have deadlines based upon the book’s publication date, so it is in every author’s best interest to enter as many contests as possible as soon after publication as possible.  But there are other contests that don’t depend upon publication dates (or at least, not as strictly), so even if your book has been published for a few years, your marketing efforts would be well-served to enter contests for which you are still eligible.

Published Outskirts Press authors can browse through the free Top National Contests & Awards ebook in their Book Marketing Bookshelf from within their Publishing Center for a vetted listings of many of the best book awards to enter (many of which have upcoming deadlines for submission).   Here’s just a sample of some of the awards with upcoming deadlines:

Top National Contests and Book Awards

USA Best Book Awards

  • Deadline: Fall
  • Website:
  • Details: This contest is another option to spread your marketing dollars, as they accept manuscripts up to two years after publication. All winners receive industry and media exposure.

Benjamin Franklin Awards

  • Deadline: Fall/Winter
  • Website:
  • Details: Held by the Independent Book Publishers Association, the annual Benjamin Franklin Awards is one of the premiere contests in independent publishing today, where Gold Medal winners in each category receive an engraved crystal trophy acknowledging their accomplishment.

Reader Views Literary Awards

  • Deadline: December of your copyright year
  • Website:
  • Details: With numerous categories and various awards per category (including cash prizes and publicity packages), the Reader Views Literary Awards should not be missed. And it’s easy to miss them! They have the earliest deadline among all these contests, so plan early.


Deadline: Dec/Jan
Details: Held by the prestigious review journal Foreword Reviews, the INDIEFAB Awards are a cornerstone of the independent publishers marketing foundation. Not only are winners featured in the print and digital editions of Foreword Reviews, but they play a role in a national publicity campaign.

Eric Hoffer Book Awards

  • Deadline: January
  • Website:
  • Details: One submission automatically makes you eligible for numerous category considerations, including most-thought provoking work, best cover, best first-time author, and best over-all book, which comes with a $2,000 Grand Prize.

The Outskirts Press Best Book of the Year Awards

  • Deadline: By invitation only
  • Website:
  • Details: Every year Outskirts Press recognizes one book as our official Best Book of the Year with this prestigious award that comes with a $1,500 Grand Prize for the winning author. The prerequisite for becoming one of the three special Semi-Finalists in this contest is winning a Colorado Independent Book Publishers Association EVVY Award.

Each award presents its nominees and winners with unique advantages, from cash and promotion in print and online magazines to possible literary representation in areas such as film and foreign rights, to promotion at public events such as the Book Expo of America.  But each award submission process also presents its own unique challenges, from entry fees to stringent eligibility requirements to the logistics of producing and mailing book copies to reviewers and judges–and as with many other marketing opportunities, this process can eat up a lot of a self-publishing author’s time, money, and energy. And with the holiday season rapidly approaching, it’s easy to get distracted and miss the submission deadlines entirely.   Don’t let that happen to you!

If you’ve published with Outskirts Press, why not let us take care of the details? We’d love to help you, and we’d love to take your book to the red carpet!  But even if you choose to do it all yourself, make sure you do it.  Winning a book award for your published book is truly one of the most amazing feelings! There’s nothing quite like it.  Here’s to your great success!




Register for Benjamin Franklin Awards Now!

Does your book have a copyright date of 2013? If so, now is the time to register for the Benjamin Franklin Book Awards.

As one of our published authors, we can handle all of the submission details for you! With your purchase of this option and your eligible book, we will handle all the details, including:

  • The award submission fee
  • Sending the necessary copies of your book
  • Completing all of the necessary entry forms
  • Selecting the most appropriate category for your book (if we’re not sure, we’ll ask you)
  • Shipping and handling costs
Click to order

The deadline for the 2013 Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards is coming up!

If your book has a copyright of 2012 or 2013, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity you don’t want to miss! Now that so many books are published each year, customers look for “award-winning” books to spend their hard-earned dollars on. The only way to have an award-winning book is to enter contests, and this is one of the most prestigious.

We can handle all of the submission details for you, including:

  • printing copies of your book for the judges
  • mailing your book to the judges
  • paying your award submission fee, and 
  • completing the entry forms for you. 

So what do you get when you win? In addition to the ability to promote your work as an “award-winning” book, there are various awards provided by Writer’s Digest, including their grand prize: $3000 in cash and a trip to New York City!

But hurry! The deadline is Friday, April 5, 2013. 


Benjamin Franklin Book Awards Kick Off BEA

The annual Benjamin Franklin Awards take place tonight at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York between 6pm – 8:30pm. Outskirts Press will be on-hand in support of the self-publishing finalists.

From the IBPA Website: The IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards, which includes fifty plus categories recognizing excellence in both editorial and design, is regarded as one of the highest national honors in small and independent book publishing. Ever since 1987, when the awards competition was established by Jan Nathan, founder of IBPA, winners have been announced at IBPA’s Publishing University, just prior to Book Expo America.

Outskirts Press is the only major self-publishing company to have even one finalist in these highly-respected book awards, much less two!  Which just goes to show that award-winning authors publish award-winning books at Outskirts Press.  Congratulations to the two talented authors below for their placement as finalists in the 2010 Benjamin Franklin Awards.  The winners will be announced tonight. Good luck!

In the Land of Cotton, by Martha A. Taylor
In the Land of Cotton, by Martha A. Taylor

Martha A. Taylor was a young white girl living in the Deep South, inundated with the racist sentiments of the times. But Martha’s natural curiosity and generous heart led her to question this racial divide. When she discovered a primitive Negro family living deep in the woods near her house, everyone’s life changed forever. Take the journey of a lifetime alongside Martha as she forges relationships that lead to self discovery and a clearer understanding of the world around her. In the Land of Cotton provides an outstanding snapshot of life in the South during those troubled times—a snapshot everyone should take a close look at, regardless of era or color.

Lost American Principles, by Steven L. Hall
Lost American Principles, by Steven L. Hall

Steven L. Hall is originally from Idaho and currently lives in Alaska. A graduate of Boise State University, Summa cum Laude, he calls himself “an Economist by training; an Entrepreneur by vocation (semi-retired); and a writer by avocation.” He has studied politics, governments, and economies for years and offers unique insights, not only about how they affect our everyday lives, but also in regard to our responsibilities in a democratic society, if we wish to remain free.

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8 year-old Dalton James Dreams Big With Self Publishing

Dream Big… Write it Down!

Dalton James, eight year-old published author/illustrator of The Sneakiest Pirates and The Heroes of Googley Woogley will be giving an author/illustrator talk at Andersonville Elementary School today, May 13th, at 7:30 a.m.

Dalton will be speaking to the entire student body on what inspired him to write a book, how he goes about writing and illustrating a book, and what has happened to him since becoming a published author. He will be reading his newly finished and as yet unpublished book The Mudhogs to the students.

Dalton’s family, in conjunction with Dalton’s publisher Outskirts Press held a contest over the school year inviting children to write and illustrate their own books and submit them to Dalton. Dalton’s family, friends and teachers formed a committee to judge the books and the winner’s book will be published through Outskirts Press.  Nearly 180 entries were received.

At the end of his talk Dalton will announce the winner of the contest, who happens to be a student at Andersonville Elementary. The winner will receive copies of Dalton’s two books, The Sneakiest Pirates and The Heroes of Googley Woogley.  Outskirts Press will also publish the winner’s book within the next several months.

The Sneakiest Pirates, by Dalton James
The Sneakiest Pirates, by Dalton James

Dalton’s presentation will be filmed to make a DVD that teachers may request  for their classrooms so they to can present Dalton’s presentation for future students to further inspire children to read, write, and draw.  

The Dalton Family plans on holding a similar contest again next year in the hope that  even more children will aspire to writing and illustrating their own books for publication.

The Heroes of Googley Woogley, by Dalton James
The Heroes of Googley Woogley, by Dalton James
Way to go, Dalton. Keep it up! You’re an inspiration to us all.
Interested in publishing your own children’s book, or a book by your son or daughter?
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Self Publishing Book Marketing – Book Award Submissions

Save 25% by having your book
conveniently submitted to the six
renowned book contests listed below.

It used to be that simply having a published book was indicative of supremely high quality, but now that self-publishing is available for everyone, winning a book award is one of the most powerful and effective ways you can make your book stand above the crowd. With so many book awards and contests available, Outskirts Press has pre-screened and vetted 6 contests. Outskirts Press can facilitate the submission details to all these contests for you. With your purchase of this package and your eligible book, we will handle all the details, including:

  • the award submission fee
  • registering your book with the contest
  • sending them each the necessary review copies of your book
  • accurately and completely filling out the necessary entry forms
  • selecting the most appropriate category for your book (if we’re not sure, we’ll ask you)
  • shipping and handling costs of your book to each of the contest’s multiple judges

Outskirts Press authors can order any of the following submission options or the Book Award Submissions package at any time conveniently from within their Author’s Center.


The Writer’s Digest International Self-Publishing Book Awards

You could win $3,000 cash and promotion in Writer’s Digest and Publisher’s Weekly!

Outskirts Press is already the sponsor and publisher of Writer’s Digest’s annual Writing Competition Collection, which is one of the most renown short story contests in the country. Now Outskirts Press can help you participate in the Writer’s Digest International Self-Publishing contest for books. You may be eligible to receive your part of over $17,000 in cash and prizes.

We can take care of all the submission details for you, including the completion of the necessary forms, the entry fee, and the required copies of your book. We will select the most appropriate category for submission from among the category choices listed below.

This contest is one of six confirmed and vetted awards Outskirts Press recommends and it available as part of its Spring Season Book Awards Submissions.


  • ONE GRAND PRIZE WINNER will be awarded $3,000 cash and promotion in Writer’s Digest and Publishers Weekly. The editors of Writer’s Digest will endorse and submit 10 copies of the Grand Prize-Winning book to major review houses such as The New York Times and The Washington Post. In addition, Book Marketing Works, LLC will provide a one-year membership to the Independent Book Publishers Association, guaranteed acceptance in a special-sales catalog providing national representation through 1800 salespeople selling to non-bookstore markets, guaranteed acceptance by Atlas Books (a top distributor to wholessalers, chains, independents and online retailers), six hours of book shepherding from Poynter Book Shepherd Ellen Reid and guaranteed review in Midwest Book Review.
  • 10 FIRST-PLACE WINNERS will receive $1000 cash and promotion in Writer’s Digest. In addition, Book Marketing Works, LLC will provide a guaranteed review in Midwest Book Review, a one-year membership to Book Central Station, the eBook Beyond the Bookstore, a Publishers Weekly book by Brian Jud and a copy of Grassroots Marketing for Authors and Publishers by Shel Horowitz. Plus, all Grand Prize and First Place winners will receive book-jacket seals to promote the award-winning status of their book, promotion on the Writer’s Digest Web site at, a copy of The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing, 4th Edition by Tom and Marilyn Ross, $100 worth or Writer’s Digest Books and a Notable Award Certificate.
  • HONORABLE MENTION WINNERS will receive promotion at, $50 worth of Writer’s Digest Books and a Notable Award Certificate. All other entrants will receive Certificates of Participation, a brief judge’s commentary and a listing with a link on the Writer’s Digest Web site, provided an accurate URL is provided.



Every year USA Book News honors outstanding mainstream and independent books with their National Best Books Award.


  • USA Book News Exposure: A six-month book listing which includes your color book cover, a brief paragraph about your title and a hyperlink to your website. Fantastic coverage for the busy 2010 holiday season! Additional coverage in the USABN E-zine, sent to thousands of book buyers.
  • National Media & Industry Exposure : Coverage of results from the USA Book News network of media outlets and industry contacts for exposure to over 500,000+ subscribers. In addition, the USA Book News national media campaign highlighting the winners and finalists runs from October through January.

The Next Generation Indie Book Awards The Next Generation Indie Book Awards submission service through Outskirts Press is open for English-language books. Double-check your copyright date to ensure eligibility. 

In the past, the top 70 books have been reviewed by New York literary agent Marilyn Allen of Allen O’Shea Literary Agency or one of Ms. Allen’s co-agents for possible representation in areas such as distribution, foreign rights, film rights, and other rights (unless an entrant prefers not to have the book forwarded to an agent). Ms. Allen has over 25 years of sales and marketing experience, including serving as Senior Vice President, Associate Publisher, and Director of Marketing for Harper Collins and directing sales and marketing teams for Simon & Schuster, Penguin Books and Avon Books. Ms. Allen has had the pleasure of working with many best-selling authors including Stephen King, Ken Follett, Barbara Kingsolver, John Gray, Mary Higgins Clark, and many more.

All Finalists and Winners for the 2010 Indie Book Awards are selected and notified in the late spring/early summer.

Awards provided by the Next Generation Indie Book Awards typically are::

  • $1,000 Cash Prize and trophy awarded to the best Fiction Book
  • $1,000 Cash Prize and trophy awarded to the best Non-Fiction Book
  • $500 Cash Prize and trophy awarded to the second best Fiction Book
  • $500 Cash Prize and trophy awarded to the second best Non-Fiction Book
  • $250 Cash Prize and trophy awarded to the third best Fiction Book
  • $250 Cash Prize and trophy awarded to the third best Non-Fiction Book
  • $250 Cash Prize and trophy awarded to the Best Cover Design Book entry
  • A Gold Medal awarded to the winner of each of the 70 categories
  • Finalist Certificates will be awarded to up to 10 finalists in each of the 70 categories

Finalists and Winners will also receive:

  • A listing in the 2010 Next Generation Indie Book Awards Catalog which will be distributed to book buyers, media, and others!
  • Extra exposure for your book on websites and blogs.
  • The opportunity to display Finalist or Winner stickers on your book.


The Reader Views Literary Awards

How would you like to become eligible to win thousands of dollars in marketing support AND a Literary Award at the same time? The annual Reader Views Literary Awards were established to honor writers who self-published or had their books published alternatively by a self-publishing company. In years past, winners of the Reader Views Literary Award have received $1000s of dollars of expert marketing assistance from renown marketing experts like:

  • The Kick-Start Guy
  • Herman University
  • Pump Up Your Book Promotion
  • and others.

Only English language books with an eligible copyright date are eligible.

All initial judging will be done by reviewers from Reader Views. They are experts in their fields as well as avid readers. Consider them your reading audience. Criteria for judging is content/originality, presentation/design, innovation, social relevance, and production quality. Five semi-finalists in each category will be determined by a point system. Final judging will be determined by a jury of judges. Three semi-finalists will be chosen in each fiction and non-fiction category. First and second place winners will be awarded in each category. Third place will receive an honorable mention. Each finalist will receive a certificate. Winners will be announced in the spring.


Only English language and Spanish language books with an eligible copyright date will be accepted.

The Benjamin Franklin Awards are among the most respected Book Awards in the country. The awards recognize excellence in both editorial and design. The specific genre categories are judged by three industry professionals, coming from the library, bookstore, reviewer, designer, publicity and editorial markets.

All finalists will be notified in the late spring, early summer.

The winners in each category will be announced at the IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards presentation during the Publishing University at the Book Expo of America. Finalists will receive a certificate of excellence; winners will receive the Benjamin Franklin Award trophy. All finalists will be displayed during the Publishing University and at the Awards Ceremony and all winners will be displayed in a special booth at Book Expo America. Winners and finalists will also be featured on the IBPA website, among other places.

Win $1,500 in Cash! 

ForeWord Magazine’s Book of the Year Awards were established to bring increased attention from librarians and booksellers to the literary achievements of independent publishers and their authors. Our awards process is unique because we ask a jury of our readers, librarians and booksellers, to select their top categories as well as choose the winning titles. Their decisions take into consideration editorial excellence, professional production, originality of the narrative, author credentials relative to the book and the value the book adds to its genre.

All finalists and winners will be notified via email. Finalists are announced by April 2010. Winners in each category and overall for fiction and non-fiction will be announced at the Book Expo of America. First, second, and third place winners will be awarded in each category. A $1,500 cash prize will also be awarded to Best Fiction and Best Nonfiction as determined by the editors of ForeWord Magazine. ForeWord Magazine reserves the right to withhold an award in any category should submissions not meet criteria outlined by editorial and professional production standards mentioned above. All cash prizes are solely at the discretion of ForeWord Magazine.

Winners and finalists will also be featured in ForeWord Magazine and elsewhere.

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