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Diversity Grows For Book Award Categories: Book Award Update May 2024

Diversity Grows for Book Award Categories: Book Award Update May 2024

Photo of Hannah Jacobson Oct 2023

Hannah Jacobson

As an independent author, it is vital to stay on top of the latest developments impacting the book publishing industry. One major positive shift is the increasing diversity represented in book award categories.

In this Alliance of Independent Authors post, we'll take a look at how the literary world is becoming more diverse and how this is changing the book awards landscape. Welcome to the Book Award Update May 2024 with Hannah Jacobson from Book Award Pro.

The Literary World is Becoming More Diverse & Inclusive

The book publishing world has long grappled with diversity and representation. For decades, the books, authors, and perspectives highlighted by major media outlets and prestigious awards tended to come from a fairly narrow range of voices and experiences. This hampered discoverability for authors from marginalized groups and limited what stories were widely shared.

Awards Taking Action for Greater Equity

One area where we're seeing significant positive changes is through the increased diversity of book award categories and submission criteria.

Major book award programs are actively working to be more inclusive and create more opportunities to celebrate talented authors from diverse backgrounds. From widening submission criteria, to adding new representative categories, to diversifying judging panels, tangible steps are being made to create a more equitable playing field.

This improved representation creates more opportunities for authors from marginalized backgrounds or communities to be recognized and celebrated. Greater diversity in book awards signals an important step toward equity and richer storytelling.

IBPA Book Awards Expand Representation

IBPA Book Award Logo 2024One prominent example of progress is news from the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) about important changes to their annual book awards program, which is one of the top honors for independent authors and publishers.

Currently known as the IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award, beginning with its 2025 cycle, this program will be renamed as the IBPA Book Award.

Also in 2025, the awards will expand to include new award categories to highlight publishing excellence within underrepresented communities. The new award categories will include AAPI Communities, Black/African American Communities, Disabled Communities, First Nations/Indigenous Communities, Latina/o/e Communities, LGBTQIA2+ Communities, and Neurodivergent Communities.

The Value of Diverse Categories

The increasing diversity we're seeing across book award categories – whether focused on identity, region, genre, medium, or other areas – is immensely valuable. It leads to richer category options that allow for better discoverability of niche books and unique voices. Diverse categories show greater inclusion and work to counteract historical biases.

Award wins and nominations can be game-changing in terms of visibility, reviews, sales, and future opportunities for authors. This important progress represents a meaningful commitment to sharing marginalized voices in literature and creating more pathways to recognition for authors who have been overlooked by traditional gatekeepers.

The Future is Diverse & Equitable

Ultimately, these positive changes mean a wider array of stories, viewpoints, and authors are recognized in literature. New voices are introduced to broader audiences, and more opportunities are created for talented authors to have their work celebrated among readers. There are still strides to be made, but the trajectory is encouraging.

From accolades to awareness, these positive changes can open doors. The future of book awards is increasingly diverse and equitable, and that's something all authors can celebrate.

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 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.

Thoughts or further questions on this post or any self-publishing issue?

Question mark in light bulbsIf you’re an ALLi member, head over to the SelfPubConnect forum for support from our experienced community of indie authors, advisors, and our own ALLi team. Simply create an account (if you haven’t already) to request to join the forum and get going.

Non-members looking for more information can search our extensive archive of blog posts and podcast episodes packed with tips and advice at ALLi's Self-Publishing Advice Centre.


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