Which book awards are legitimate?
Book Award Pro
When it comes to which book awards are legitimate, there are a few key factors to keep in mind. There are thousands of book awards to consider, and more being created all the time. Being able to determine which are the most valuable for your book can help you use your time and resources effectively.
Outside of awards that are simply scams (which is very rare), how do you judge which book awards are the real deal? Here are some of our key indicators of a legitimate, valuable award.
Which book awards are legitimate?
Legitimacy and value are often subjective, so we should start by getting our definitions straight. Book awards can do a lot, but their real value comes from how you can leverage them to impress readers, gain recognition, and bolster your career. If you're looking for some key indicators of a legitimate award opportunity, here are a few good ones:
Reasonable entry fees of about $100 USD
Of all awards we track, 85.3% charge an entry fee, with the industry average at $89 USD. Organizing book awards is like any other business: it has costs. Companies that run award contests need to pay for a website, prizes, and judges.
They cover these costs with entry fees. Just because an award doesn't offer a cash prize, don’t assume it’s suspicious.
If you find an entry fee significantly higher than average, do your research. We've found a few book awards with entry fees above a few hundred dollars, but they’re rare. The bottom line is, if an award is too much of a financial strain to enter, don't do it. There are thousands of other options that meet your budget.
Successful authors market their entire book award journey, even if the award organization doesn’t. However, many book awards leverage their following to help authors reach new audiences. Here are a few indicators of the marketing value of an award:
Does the award offer a spot on a podcast as part of their prize package? Excellent! Podcasts are great for reaching new readers, bringing visibility to your book, and as content for your story marketing.
Video tends to be more engaging than audio, so try to look for podcasts that film their episodes. Remember, an hour long podcast can be broken up into blog posts and short videos to stretch your marketing mileage even further.
Social media posts
Many awards maintain active social media accounts with sizable followings of readers, industry professionals, and other authors. If an award is active on social media, they likely share news of recent award winners.
This is a great opportunity to get your book in front of new audiences. While promotion on social media may not be listed as an actual prize, you can review an award organization’s social media accounts to see if they promote their winning authors. If they do, it’s likely an opportunity you’ll want to keep in mind.
Most awards maintain a website, and many announce winners on their platform. Of course, the more well-known an award is, the more exposure you’ll receive from being featured. That’s not to say lesser-known awards aren’t as valuable. Even smaller awards put your book in front of a relevant online audience.
If an award organization maintains a newsletter, they’re most likely using it to announce winners. Even if an award has a modest amount of subscribers, being featured in a newsletter is still another means of driving your book’s awareness.
Benefits for simply entering
It's always a plus to know that your entry fee got you something, even if you don’t win. At Book Award Pro, we call these “bonus benefits” and we encourage them when we talk with award organizations.
Some valuable bonus benefits to look for are editorial reviews, feedback from judges, and discounts on partner services. Editorial reviews alone can cost hundreds of dollars, meaning you're getting a deep discount for an entry fee price.
Awards that build community
Just as you can tap into an award organizer's following, you could also network with other authors. There are awards that connect their authors with each other and build community from within, helping authors amplify their voices and build collaborations together.
Use these opportunities to connect with other authors, share your award news together, and grow your audiences.
Prizes that up your writing game
Many book award prizes give you access to professional reviews, editors, or even literary agents. These are extremely valuable. One of the toughest things for a writer to get is objective feedback. The professional advice you receive from experts in the industry can be career-changing for any author.
Finding the most valuable award for your book
So, which book awards are legitimate and specifically eligible for your unique book? The value and legitimacy of an award depends on your own unique goals and the ways you leverage your accolade.
Factor in the various ways an award may provide value. It doesn't have to check all the boxes above, just the ones that matter to you.
If you’re ready to start finding legitimate, valuable award opportunities, you can create a free Book Award Pro account and get curated matches in minutes.