Welcome to October's monthly book award update from Hannah Jacobson, ALLi‘s Awards Advisor. Hannah is the founder of Book Award Pro, the company that makes it easy for authors to find and submit to book awards.
Book Awards: Trends and Updates For Indie Authors, October 2023
As more book awards open their doors to independent authors, the number of opportunities to receive professional recognition from respected accolades is on the rise. While some awards are specifically open to independent authors, others are looking for excellence regardless of how you publish. These opportunities level the playing field for everyone, allowing talent and professionalism to shine (and indie authors certainly have plenty of that!).
For those pursuing award opportunities in their area of expertise, there are many respected, notable accolades accepting authors of all publishing types. These highly recognized, specialized awards are exciting opportunities to influence your field of study, enhance the professionalism of your author brand, target a niche audience, and reach new readers.
Specialized Awards for Independent Authors
Because of the singular nature of these specialized awards, the following examples may not be the right fit for your book. But, there are thousands of award opportunities out there. These examples are meant to demonstrate the unlimited possibilities for authors of all publishing types, backgrounds, and areas of expertise:
Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize
The Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize is awarded annually for the finest scholarly work on Abraham Lincoln, the American Civil War soldier, or the American Civil War era. The $50,000 prize is incentive enough for Civil War subject matter experts, but the award is also free for authors of all publication types to enter. For independent authors with expert-level knowledge of America’s Civil War, the Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize is an exciting opportunity to receive professional and academic recognition for your book.
Story marketing tip: If you’re pursuing specialized awards, try using field-related hashtags in your posts. This can help you reach readers who are specifically interested in your area of expertise. For example, if you submit your book to the Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize, you might share the exciting news with your Instagram audience and use hashtags like #GilderLehrmanLincolnPrize, #CivilWar, or #CivilWarAuthors.
For independent authors with marketing expertise, the Leonard L. Berry Marketing Book Award recognizes books that set the standard for excellence in marketing. The award considers a book’s ability to contribute to marketing as a whole, shape current thinking in the industry, and provide marketing professionals with practical guidance.
If becoming a thought leader in your field is one of your goals as an author, pursuing accolades that emphasize the importance of your book’s influence on current industry thinking can help you establish credibility and professionalism in your author brand. No matter your book’s subject matter, seeking awards that evolve the standard practices and thinking within your field can establish you as a respected authority.
Story marketing tip: You can use story marketing to promote your book, while informing your readers and peers of your contributions to your field. Alongside news of your book’s award journey, consider sharing your innovative ideas, philosophies, experiences, and vision for your industry in each of your posts.
AAAS/Subaru Book Prize
The AAAS/Subaru Book Prize recognizes excellent writing and illustration in science books for children and young adults. Motivated by encouraging the publication of quality science books for today’s youth, the prize is a wonderful opportunity for independent authors of educational, scientific works written for a young audience.
Subaru is a globally recognized name. For independent authors, pursuing accolades with such massive brand recognition can be a career-changing opportunity. While it remains true that any book award can bring value to an author’s career, independent authors seeking professional validation and increased visibility can benefit from pursuing accolades with household names.
Story marketing tip: While the brand name power of globally recognized accolades is an advantage, it also increases competition for visibility. To ensure your content reaches an audience without getting lost in the shuffle, focus more on impressing your current readers with your well-known award and less on targeting a new audience altogether. Word of mouth is a powerful thing, and with memorable brand names like Subaru, you may be surprised how much organic interest you’ll stir up by simply engaging with your current readership.
Preparing your book for professional recognition
Pursuing highly specialized awards is a powerful way for independent authors to contribute meaningfully to their field. They can also help reach new readers, impress current ones, and receive esteemed recognition from their peers. Apart from the examples included in this article, there are countless opportunities for you to make an impact with your work.
As an independent author, carefully preparing your book for professional recognition is of utmost importance, especially for accolades in highly specialized fields. Judging criteria for expert-level books is often more competitive and considers accuracy, educational value, thought leadership, and publishing standards.
Presenting your book as professionally as possible begins with high-quality, well-researched content and ends with a polished, skillful publication. Ensuring your book meets the highest standards of professionalism is the key to success as an independent author in the world of specialized book awards.
About Hannah Jacobson, ALLi Awards & Story Marketing Advisor
Hannah 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 for book awards and contests.
Search awards, including ratings, reviews and details of fees, on the ALLi Book Award and Contest Rating page on the ALLi website.
Interested in entering a writing competition? Take a look at this ALLi blog post Writing Competitions: Why Enter and How to Win.
For more information on applying for book awards that are open to indie authors, you can purchase our short guide in multiple formats on our bookstore: Book Prizes & Awards for Indie Authors in our bookstore. Members enjoy free access to the ebook.