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Book Award Update For Indie Authors: March 2024 – Avoiding Common Pitfalls

Book Award Update For Indie Authors: March 2024 – Avoiding Common Pitfalls

Photo of Hannah Jacobson Oct 2023

Hannah Jacobson

As an independent author, having your labor of love recognized with a prestigious book award can feel like the ultimate validation of your talents and hard work. However, the road to literary accolades is filled with potential potholes that can derail your chance at success if you're not careful.

In this Alliance of Independent Authors post, we'll explore some of the most common mistakes indie authors make when entering book awards—and how to avoid them. Welcome to the Book Award Update March 2024.

Not Doing Your Homework 

One of the biggest blunders indie authors commit is failing to thoroughly research and understand the awards they are entering. Each book prize has its own strict eligibility rules, submission requirements, judging criteria, and deadlines that must be adhered to meticulously.

Skimming over the fine print and making assumptions about what is expected can lead to automatic disqualification or put you at a disadvantage before judging even begins. Comb through every detail on awards website and entry forms, and if anything is unclear, don't hesitate to reach out to the organizers for clarification.

Prioritizing Quantity Over Quality

With so many book awards available to independent authors, some writers fall into the trap of entering as many competitions as possible in hopes that sheer volume will lead to a win somewhere. However, this approach of blind entries often backfires.

It's better to be judicious and strategic, focusing your efforts on awards for your specific genre, book format, or indie author status. Entering without a strategy can drain time and finances while leaving your book overlooked amid a flood of subpar submissions.

Skimping on Polish and Presentation

Cutting corners on quality and professionalism can cost you. Poorly edited manuscripts filled with errors, unprofessional cover designs and interior layouts, and haphazard supplementary materials send a clear signal that you didn't put in the utmost care and effort.

Award judges are looking for the cream of the indie crop: books that were labored over with incredible polish, and that meet (or exceed) the standards of traditional publication. Don't lose credibility by skimping on writing craft, editing, formatting, design, and overall presentation. If your final product feels rushed, inauthentic, or unprofessional in any way, address those issues before submitting.

Photo by Susan Q Yin on Unsplash

Disregarding Critiques and Judging Feedback

If you're fortunate enough to make the shortlist or final rounds of a book award, you'll often receive critiques and scoring feedback from the judging panels. Some authors make the mistake of dismissing or ignoring this input as simply the subjective opinions of people “who didn't get it.”

In reality, these professional judges are doing you an immense favor by offering their unvarnished, nuanced perspectives from an industry expert lens. Seriously consider incorporating their constructive criticism and suggestions into future drafts and editions of your work. The insights could be essential for honing your craft and increasing your chances of awards success down the line.

At the end of the day, submitting to book awards should always be viewed as an opportunity to get your writing in front of highly knowledgeable critics and tastemakers. Respecting the process, following all rules to a tee, and maintaining professionalism in every aspect of your submission puts you in the best position for positive results and growth as an author.

Book Award Pro LogoAbout 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 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.

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