Just updated all content and added three new contests!
Researching book award contests can be overwhelming. I started with a Google search and spent hours drilling down into contest rules and requirements. My first book, Sunbelievable, was published by my own publishing company and therefore qualified as a “self-published” versus a print-on-demand “self-published” book. The distinction is important to keep in mind when sorting through submission guidelines.
The list below represents my first-hand knowledge and experience as an awards applicant, since I submitted both of my books — Sunbelievable and I Want Cake! — to most of the contests. Each book received several awards, but I’m most proud of the IndieFab finalist award — nominated for best early reader picture book 2015. This was a huge surprise, following a terrific review from the prestigious Foreword Reviews.
I hope you’ll find this list useful — it’s one of my most read posts. Take a careful look at the contest links I’ve provided and select ones you think may be a good fit. And please do consider leaving a comment about your own book award contest experience!
1. The Golden Kite Award: https://www.scbwi.org/awards/golden-kite-award/ “Presented by the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators the Golden Kite Awards, given annually to recognize excellence in children’s literature, grant cash prizes of $2,500 to author and illustrator winners in four categories: Fiction, Nonfiction, Picture Book Text, and Picture Book Illustration. A commemorative poster with the winners will be created and distributed to, among others, various schools, libraries and publishers. In addition to the four Golden Kite Award winners, four honor book recipients will also be named by the panel of judges which consists of children’s book writers and illustrators. More than 1,000 books are entered each year. Eligible books must be written or illustrated by SCBWI members, and submitted either by publishers or individuals.” Click here for information about the 2018 contest: the deadline is December 1, 2017.
2. The Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards: http://www.moonbeamawards.com/ “Designed to honor the year’s best children’s books, authors and illustrators. The Moonbeam Awards program is open to authors, illustrators, and publishers of children’s books written in English or Spanish and intended for the North American market. ISBNs are not required. Presented by Jenkins Group and Independent Publisher magazine, the Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards are designed to bring increased recognition to exemplary children’s books and their creators, and to support childhood literacy and life-long reading. Awards are given in 38 categories covering the full range of subjects, styles and age groups that children’s books are written and published in today.” Click here for information about the 2018 entry guidelines.
3. Mom’s Choice Award: http://www.momschoiceawards.com/ “The Mom’s Choice Awards® recognizes excellence in family-friendly media, products and services. The evaluation process scores production quality, design, educational value, entertainment value, originality, appeal and cost. Each item is judged on its own merit. The Mom’s Choice Awards® accepts rolling entries. In most cases, decisions can be made in 8 – 12 weeks. Distinguish yourself and your work and join this prestigious awards program.” Click here for the online entry form.
4. The Purple Dragonfly Book Awards: https://www.dragonflybookawards.com/purple-dragonfly/ This contest is sponsored by Story Monsters LLC (formerly Five Star Publications, Inc.). “Divided into 53 distinct subject categories ranging from books on the environment and cooking to sports and family issues, the Purple Dragonfly Book Awards are geared toward stories that appeal to children of all ages. We are looking for stories that inspire, inform, teach or entertain. A Purple Dragonfly Book Awards seal on your book’s cover tells parents, grandparents, educators and caregivers they are giving children the very best in reading excellence.” Click here for information about the 2018 awards: the deadline is May 1, 2018.
5. The Royal Dragonfly Book Awards: https://www.dragonflybookawards.com/ This contest is also sponsored by Story Monsters LLC (formerly Five Star Publications, Inc.). “The Royal Dragonfly Book Award contest honors excellence in all types of literature and book marketing, recognizing creativity and hard work for a comprehensive list of genres in 68 categories. A Royal Dragonfly Book Awards seal on your book’s cover, marketing materials, or website tells readers and industry professionals they are reading a highly acclaimed publication. Contest winners garner instant credibility, attention from the media, and an opportunity to increase sales.” Click here for more information about the awards and submission dates.
6. Cybils Children’s and Young Adult Literary Blogger Awards: http://www.cybils.com/ “Our purpose is two-fold: Reward the children’s and young adult authors (and illustrators, let’s not forget them) whose books combine the highest literary merit and “kid” appeal. Foster a sense of community among bloggers who write about children’s and YA literature, highlight our best reviewers (and shamelessly promote their blogs) and provide a forum for the similarly obsessed. You (and you can be anybody, even you) may nominate any book published in the contest year in English.” Nominations open October 1 and close October 15 of each calendar year.
7. The Independent Publishers Book Awards (IPPY): http://www.ippyawards.com/ “Conducted annually, the Independent Publisher Book Awards honor the year’s best independently published titles from around the world. The awards are intended to bring increased recognition to the thousands of exemplary independent, university, and self-published titles published each year.” The IPPY Awards contest is accepting entries for books released between January 1, 2016 and February 24, 2018, or with 2016-2018 copyrights. Click here for more information: the next final entry deadline is February 24, 2018.
8. The Indie Excellence National Book Awards®: https://www.indieexcellence.com/ “The National Indie Excellence® Awards (NIEA) is open to all English language printed books available for sale, including small presses, mid-size independent publishers, university presses, and self-published authors. NIEA is proud to be a champion of self-publishing and small independent presses going the extra mile to produce books of excellence in every aspect.” Click here for more information: the next final entry deadline is March 31st, 2018.
9. Next Generation Indie Book Awards®: http://www.indiebookawards.com/ This contest is open to independent authors and publishers worldwide who have a book written in English and released in 2016, 2017 or 2018 or with a 2016, 2017 or 2018 copyright date. Entries are being accepted for the 2018 contest. Click here for the submission guidelines.
10. Benjamin Franklin Awards™: http://ibpabenjaminfranklinawards.com/ This award “recognizes excellence in independent publishing. Publications, grouped by genre are judged on editorial and design merit by top practitioners in each field. Includes fifty-five categories recognizing excellence in both editorial and design, and is regarded as one of the highest national honors in small and independent publishing. The IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards program is unique in that entrants receive direct feedback from decision makers in the industry.” Click here for more information: deadlines are First Call from May 1 – September 30 and Second Call from October 1 – December 15 each year for titles published in that year.
11. Foreword Book Reviews INDIES Award: https://publishers.forewordreviews.com/awards/ “The Foreword INDIES are awarded to independent publishers, university presses, and self-published authors whose books not only meet our editorial standards, but also blow our minds. Winners in each category are honored with widespread recognition. Thousands of books are entered each year, and over 120 librarians and booksellers take part in the judging, narrowing it down to a group of finalists and winners that represent the best independently published books in over 60 categories.” Click here to enter the 2018 contest: the deadline is January 15, 2018.
12. The Rubery Book Award: http://www.ruberybookaward.com/ “The International Rubery Book Award is the longest established book award based in the UK for independent and self-published books. We receive entries from all over the world. The key to our success is having a keen eye for quality from distinguished and reputable judges. We pride ourselves on judging thoroughly which can certainly be seen in the quality of the books that have won over the years. This is an award to be proud of winning!” The 2018 International Rubery Book Award is now open for self-published and independently published books. Click here for information about submissions: the deadline is March 31, 2018.
13. Readers Choice Awards: https://www.tckpublishing.com/2017-readers-choice-awards/ “TCK Publishing recognizes indie, self-published, and traditionally published authors. Self-published and indie authors may submit one book in any of the given categories for no fee, with a limit of one free entry per author and per email address.” Click here to enter the 2017 contest: the deadline is December 10, 2017. **Please note: I’ve just learned about this award and would appreciate feedback from anyone who applies. Thanks!
More award contests will be included as the list grows. I welcome your additions and suggestions!
Thanks for the list, good to know that there are other notable awards for children’s books besides Caldecott and Newberry awards. I am always looking for quality picture books and chapter books to list on my online kids bookstore.
Hi, So glad you found the list helpful! I love your website–what a wonderful resource! Perhaps you’d consider adding my book to your list?! Jo Ann
Billy Bob Buttons
Hi, my name is Billy Bob Buttons (my pen name, my real name is Edward Trayer) and my children’s novels have been independently published in the UK. I do pretty well but I’m so fed up of entering my books in American book awards. They cost a fortune and I doubt many of the books even get opened. So I decided to set up my own book award for independent and self-published authors of hardbacks, paperbacks or e-books, living and/or selling their books in the UK
I write children’s books, I’m a secondary school English teacher and I just did an 200 school book tour of England, so I thought I’d mix the three things up and organise for the children’s books to be judged by the children in the schools I just visited. The adult books, not so much my forte, will be assessed by members of established reading groups who know a good book when they read it.
This bit is very important. This is only my second year doing this and I’m not promising chests of gold, and I very much doubt Oprah will be knocking on the doors of the winning authors. But I do promise your books will be read cover to cover and judged by children and adults who love reading, and the entry fee will be used to cover the costs of running the Award plus a prize or two for all the finalists.
I also thought 75 dollars to over 120 dollars (90 odd quid) to enter a book award was a gigantic rip-off. They must be making a bloody fortune over there. So I thought £28 would be okay; cover the costs of posting the books to the schools, hosting the website, advertising the finalists, buying and inscribing medals and perhaps even stretch to a bit of prize money for the winners. This is a non-profit making Award and a copy of the accounts will be sent to every entrant.
Also, every entrant will be given feedback, whether they win or not, and, if you do do well in this Award, you can publicise your success in any way you see fit. I just discovered many of the independent book awards in America charge a licencing fee if you wish to publicise the fact you won! Cheeky or what!?
Thank you for your note! I’m very interested in your wonderful initiative and would like to participate. What are the dates of the event? I would definitely send my children’s book. How would I send the entry fee in USD?
I’ve organized an event called Bloggers Read Across the Globe (BRAG) to promote children’s reading and literacy. It kicks off February 28 on my website and runs through March with a great line up of children’s book authors and top book marketing experts participating. I’ve written original articles about reading and literacy for guest host’s websites, and will be hosting other bloggers articles on my site. Would you be interested in contributing an article? Perhaps you could describe your program and your books — it would get lots of attention and visibility. I would need the article (500-600 words) by Monday if possible to include in the BRAG event schedule. Also would need a 2 sentence bio, photo of you, and/or photo of your book(s).
I’m also helping a nonprofit organization — LitWorld — identify volunteers for World Read Aloud Day on March 7. I’ve been named an official WRADvocate! Please read more about it at LitWorld. Again, it’s a great opportunity for exposure.
I certainly understand your frustration about the awards process. It’s an expensive undertaking. My book won the 2012 Mom’s Choice Gold Award. It’s a wonderful honor and has helped me promote and market my independently published book. Have you tried this award? It’s international and not as expensive as many of the others. They also offer their winners many opportunities and ideas for promotion.
Let me know if you have any questions!
Love your blog, I am busy filling out my entries!
Just finished my 3rd “Wilson” book and am energized.
Please visit my website and Wilson’s face book.
Jo Ann Kairys
Hi Susan, Thanks for you comment! Your website is great and I just love Wilson! What a great story… I’m going to share it with my granddaughter who wants a dog more than anything in the world, but her mom is allergic. She loves stories about dogs. Thanks for sharing! Jo Ann
Is it standard practice to pay entry fees for children’s books contests? I’ve been told to be cautious with other mediums.
Jo Ann Kairys
Hi! Yes, as a rule, it is standard practice to pay to enter children’s book contests. The contest organizations are businesses… therefore, you pay for the “service” of having your book reviewed. From my experience, few provide valuable feedback from the judges. One exception is the Ben Franklin awards which offers detailed notes from judges’ critiques. Awards such as Caldecott may be different… but they don’t apply to self-published or independently published books. Hope this helps! Jo Ann
I’m an author with Auntie M’s Publishing. I saw your book on the site and thought I’d say hello. Great informative page by the way.
Jo Ann Kairys
Thanks for your comment! Glad you reached out… I’m gearing up for my next book’s launch in the spring. Lots of work!! Also am updating the list of children’s book awards and should have that soon.