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Writer’s Digest Self-Published e-Book Awards

Writer’s Digest 2nd Annual Self-Published e-Book Awards is now closed. Winners will be notified by December 31, 2014.

This competition spotlights today’s self-published works and honors self-published authors. Whether you’re a professional writer, a part-time freelancer or a self-starting student, here’s your chance to enter WD’s newest competition, exclusively for self-published e-books.




Enter your book into one these categories:

  • Mainstream/Literary Fiction
  • Genre Fiction (Includes all sub-genres such as Romance, Horror, Science Fiction, Humor, etc.)
  • Nonfiction (General, Cookbooks, Reference, Guidebooks, Textbooks)
  • Inspirational (Spiritual, New Age)
  • Life Stories (Biographies, Autobiographies, Family Histories, Memoirs)
  • Children’s Picture books
  • Middle-Grade/Young Adult books
  • Poetry

One Grand Prize Winner will receive:

  • $3,000 cash
  • Interview with winner featured in Writer’s Digest magazine
  • Winner’s name on the cover of Writer’s Digest magazine (subscriber issues)
  • A full 250-word (minimum) editorial review of the winning book
  • $200 worth of Writer’s Digest books
  • 30-minute platform & marketing consultation with Chuck Sambuchino, author of Create Your Writer Platform
  • One year Subscription (new or renewal) to Writer’s Digest magazine

The First-Place Winner in each category will receive:

  • $1000 in prize money
  • Recognition in Writer’s Digest magazine
  • A 140-character write-up, perfect for tweeting to fans, followers, and potential new readers
  • $100 worth of Writer’s Digest Books
  • One year Subscription (new or renewal) to Writer’s Digest magazine


Honorable Mention Winners will receive $50 worth of Writer’s Digest Books and be promoted on www.writersdigest.com.

All entrants will receive a brief commentary from the judges.



1. The competition is open to all English-language self-published e-books for which the authors have paid the full cost of publication, or the cost of publication has been paid for by a grant or as part of a prize.

2. You must enter online. You may provide a file of the book or submit your entry by using the Amazon gifting process. If submitting a file: Acceptable file types include .epub, .mobi, .ipa. (Microsoft Word documents and other word processing type documents (.doc, .docx, .odt, etc.) are not an acceptable file type.) If submitting your book by using the Amazon gifting process, please click here for specific instructions. If you do not have the book file and cannot gift us a copy through Amazon, there is a space on the entry form where you can provide us instructions for obtaining a complimentary copy of your e-book. Additional files/books may be requested of semi-finalists.

3. Entries will be evaluated on content, writing quality and overall quality of production and appearance.

4. All e-books published or revised between 2009 and your date of entry in 2014 are eligible. (Writer’s Digest may demand proof of eligibility of semifinalists.)

5. We accept check, money order or credit card payment for the required judging fee. Early-bird entry fees are $99 for the first entry, $75 for each additional if entered at the same time, during the same checkout. Regular entry fees are $110 for the first entry, $85 for each additional if entered at the same time, during the same checkout entry. Payment of entry fees must be received before a title is forwarded to the judging panel.

6. All early-bird entries must be submitted completely online no later than August 1, 2014 (11:59 pm EST). Entries submitted for the regular deadline must be submitted by September 19, 2014 (11:59 pm EST). All winners will be notified by December 31, 2014. Non-winners will be sent a competition status update following the winner notification date. Judges commentaries will be emailed to entrants by 12/31/14.

7. Judges reserve the right to re-categorize entries.

8. Books which have previously won a Self-Published Award (printed and bound, or e-book) from Writer’s Digest are not eligible.

9. Employees of F+W Media, Inc. and their immediate families are not eligible. Books published by Abbott Press  and Blue Ash Publishing are not eligible to participate.

10. Writer’s Digest is not responsible for the loss, damage or return of any books submitted to the competition.

11. Refunds are not provided for disqualified or withdrawn entries.


Be sure to check out more writing contests sponsored by Writer’s Digest.

Online Contest Software provided by WizeHive


Frequently Asked Questions:

What is an e-book?

An e-book is a book-length publication in digital form. It is readable on computers and other electronic devices. An e-book may also be available as a printed/bound book. However ONLY the e-book form is accepted in this particular competition.

What does “e-book format” mean?

This is the format that your e-book has been published in, because word-processing files don’t work on e-reading devices. Publishers typically submit e-book versions of a title that they publish to major e-book channels like Amazon, iTunes, Barnes & Noble, etc. Check with your publisher if you have questions regarding e-book publication.

How do I know what file type my e-book is?

The file should either be saved as “title.filetype” (so, TheShining.epub), or you can right-click on the file and select “Get Info.” This will allow you to view the file type.

What formats are accepted (if not able to gift a copy of the book)?

Acceptable file types include: .epub, .mobi, .ipa (Apple), .azw (Kindle)

Should the cover be part of the e-book?

Yes, please include your cover as a part of your submission. Please make sure the cover and text are in the same file.

How do I gift a copy of my e-book?

Amazon allows you to gift a copy of your e-book, which will allow us to get it to judges more easily. This option is offered for e-books available on Amazon. Please click here for the complete set of specific gifting instructions.

I have purchased the gift copy of my book but cannot find the email containing the GIFT CLAIM CODE from Amazon?

Please click here for a PDF containing the easy to follow step-by-step instructions

How do I enter & provide the gift claim code for my entry after I have the Gift Claim Code from Amazon?

Please click here for a PDF containing the easy to follow step-by-step instructions

How do I add the gift claim code to my draft (not yet submitted) copy of my entry form ?

Please click here for a PDF containing the easy to follow step-by-step instructions

What if there is a problem with my e-book or you do not receive the gift or file?

Due to time constraints, we are not able to track/confirm individual deliveries of e-books on a one by one basis. Please follow delivery instructions as provided. Although we appreciate the consideration, there is no need to email our office after sending a gift copy unless instructed. We will send an email to all entrants with missing files/books at times, before the judging wraps up, to make arrangements.

How do I sign-up/log-in to the online entry system?

Please go to https://app.wizehive.com/apps/WDeBookAwards14. Once on the log in page, specific instructions are listed on the left hand side of the page. Once the final deadline has passed, you will no longer be able to access the online entry system. If you are having problems, please click here for specific instructions.

PLEASE NOTE REGARDING LOG INS: Reference to log in information is unique to the specific application which you are logging into. In other words, your WDSHOP log in is NOT the same as your Writer’s Digest Community login, Forum log ins, Competition log ins, Newsletter log ins etc.

Are short stories accepted?

Short story collections are eligible.

What if my e-book has multiple authors?

No problem, just be sure to include all author’s name’s on the entry form. The email address submitted on the entry form should be the main contact for all competition related messages.

Can I replace an edited version of my e-book after I submit the entry?

Once a book has been submitted, the judges will have access to start reading it; replacements & substitutes will not be allowed. You may submit a new edition (additional) of a qualifying entry; however it would be considered as a new entry and would not replace the existing entry.


For additional questions or concerns, contact us at WritersDigestSelfPublishingCompetition@fwmedia.com.


114 Responses to Writer’s Digest Self-Published eBook Awards

  1. Sue says:

    I know it will vary year to year, but about how many total entries did you receive last year? Is there a limit on the number of books you will accept? And if possible, can it be broken down by genre? It would make it easier to decide what categories might be the best for those of us with multiple books.

    • Tara Johnson says:

      Last year was our 1st year for the e-book competition so I do not have an average number of entries. Also, last year we only had 2 categories (Fiction and Nonfiction) so I cannot provide a breakdown by genre. I can tell you that there is no limit to the number of books we will accept. Sorry I could not be more helpful.

  2. Kerquin says:

    I have self published both paperback and ebook on Amazon. I paid for editing and the book cover. does this qualify under the guidelines? Would it qualify under the novel contests as well?

    • Tara Johnson says:

      If you self-published and paid for editing and book cover out of your own pocket, then yes, the book is eligible.

  3. dmj9111 says:

    Are e-books eligible if they have been published by Kindle Direct Publishing?

  4. efraimzgraves says:

    I have an enhanced ebook that is published online. Will this be acceptable? See a sample here: http://emrepublishing.com/steam-city-pirates/sample/index.html

  5. TomOC says:

    I am puzzled. I am looking at a page from the latest (hard copy) issue of WD and it has the url for THIS page and in big, cursive letters the words: “Deadline: August 1, 2014″ ….so how is this competition already “closed” ??
    … my first guess was that this is an outdated webpage and it is referring to last year’s competition, but at the top of this page I also see the following: “The 2014 competition will begin accepting entries in late April. Please check back for details.” As I type this it is late on June 9th. IS there going to be a 2014 competition ?? Thanks in advance for your help.

    • Tara Johnson says:

      Hello. We apologize for the delay. This competition will begin accepting entries on June 16, 2014.

  6. Kathleen12345 says:

    Is it okay to enter an ebook that is already entered in another competition?

  7. Mikk says:

    What are the word-count requirements for the 2014 contest entries?

    • Tara Johnson says:

      We do not have word or page count limitations for the Self-Published eBook Awards. Thanks.

  8. anu keene says:


    I would like to enter my eBook in the 2014 competition. When will it be open and when can I enter it?


  9. Dennis Brack says:


    • Tara Johnson says:

      Hi Dennis,
      We received your book for our Self-Published Book Awards. You will be notified when it is shipped to the judges.

  10. KarlaBran says:

    I was notified that I’d won Honorable Mention – and I received an email that said you’d sent me a graphic to add to my website for promo, but I never received the graphic (my email has been somewhat unreliable). I asked to have it resent to my personal email, and still haven’t received anything. Help?

  11. Brian C. Kuhn Jr. says:


    When will authors receive their brief reviews from the judges and know who won the competition? I never received the e-mail. Thanks. :)


    • Tara Johnson says:

      Winners were notified by December 31. Top winners will be announced in our May/June issue. All winners, including Honorable Mentions, will be listed on writersdigest.com in April. Book commentaries will be emailed to entrants by February 1.


  12. ninaloard says:

    When should we expect the judges commentary on our submission?

  13. Kathie says:

    I realize it’s only two days past December 31, 2013, but I have received no notification of the 2013 ebook competition award winners or commentary on the book I submitted, by December 31, as promised. When will notification be happening?

    • Tara Johnson says:

      Sorry for the delay. Winners were notified by December 31. Top winners will be announced in our May/June issue and all winners, including Honorable Mentions, will be posted on writersdigest.com in April. Book commentaries will be emailed to entrants by February 1.


  14. sstubsten08 says:

    When will you be notifying the authors who submitted eBooks to let them know if their eBook made the cut or not? Will you be supplying each individual author feedback on their eBooks?

    Thanks for your time.

    • sstubsten08 says:

      Ok I missed the part where it said, All winners will be notified by December 31, 2013. Sorry about that. Please disregard my previous question. :-)

      Thanks WD team.

    • Dean.Peake@Gmail.com says:

      I’ve not been notified of anything. Nor have I been contacted about feedback. When can I expect this?


      • Tara Johnson says:

        Hi Dean.
        Winners were notified by December 31. Top winners will be announced in our May/June issue. All winners will be posted on writersdigest.com in April. Book commentaries will be emailed to entrants by February 1.


  15. elgross says:

    Hi there, I have entered three stories into the contest that I have on Amazon.com and I noticed that you have not bought them with the gift card that I supplied. Am I to assume that you have not received my stories yet?

  16. Hmm.. My question didn’t post.
    Exactly what time is the cutoff for the competition, and is it tonight (Sept. 30th) or tomorrow night (Oct. 1)?
    The entry form only lists the early bird times.

  17. What time do we have to have the submissions in by on Oct 1st for the online entry?
    5pm Eastern? 11:59pm Eastern? Or Pacific time? :)

  18. Sarah Towle says:

    Hi Tara,
    I have a book self-published using iBooks Author. Are these eligible for submission? I don’t see the IBA format listed. But I can offer a promo code.

    Thanks for letting me know,

  19. I have an unpublished book which I would like to be published in the USA first. How can Abbot Press (Writers Digest) help me do that?
    I am Emenike Emmanuel from Nigeria.

  20. AndiDWD says:

    I write under a pen name, and I see there’s a space on the entry form to indicate it. However, the form also requests the writer’s real name. In the instructions, it indicates “This information will be reproduced exactly as submitted if you are selected as a winner.” Does that mean that my real name would be shown if I were to win?

    • Tara Johnson says:

      No. We would only reveal your pen name publicly. Your real name is used for administrative purposes only.

  21. Dwight Okita says:

    I have a question. It says this is the first year WD has had a contest for self pub books. Is that correct? I thought there was one last year.

    But elsewhere it refers to this as the 21st Annual Ebook Contest. Could you clarify? I think I know why it’s called that but it’s confusing. Not many ebooks around 21 years ago. Is it because it’s part of the regular contest? Maybe an asterisk would help. Thanks.

    • Tara Johnson says:

      This is the first year for our eBook Awards. We also have our Self-Published Book Awards which has been around for 21 years. It is for printed books only. The final deadline for that competition was in June.

  22. pacanime says:

    If I send you an amazon kindle book as a choice, and register for the competition, will you be able to match up the entry OK with e-book gift?

  23. kendixon says:

    My nonfiction book, Adventures in the Science of Cosmology, is an educational book designed to stimulate 13 to 16 year olds towards a possible career in science. Two questions:
    1. Would it qualify for the contest?
    2. How on earth would the judges be able to make a decision between this book and other nonfiction books of totally different subject matter, such as cookbooks or bibliographies or reference books, etc.??? It doesn’t make any sense for these very divergent books to be competing with each other.


  24. Sharon says:

    I published with Fast Pencil. The submission I’m sending is the download from their site. I don’t see anything that allows a “gifting” option. Is that a problem?

  25. Angel says:

    Hello, good morning everyone. I want to enter my book that’s on amazon right now. Not sure if it qualifies though. It’s a short story and pretty much, I paid nothing to get it publised. I published it from lulu.com and the only thing I paid for is the copies that I ordered. It also has a kindle version which was published free as well. So does my book qualify for this contest. If so, how do I enter my book, lets say I want to enter the kindle version because I’m not to familiar with the other formats. How can I enter the kindle version of my book? Do I sent it to you as a gift or does it have to be something else? Please let me know, I really want to join this competition. Thank you.

  26. dlcraddock says:


    I would like to enter my nonfiction book, STAY AWHILE AND LISTEN. The book does not release until 10/31, though. Am I still eligible to enter? I can provide verification that the book will be out this year. I submitted the book to Apple last week and expect to receive verification for pre-orders this coming week (beginning 9/16) or next, and will be submitting to Barnes & Noble and Amazon as well.

    Thanks for your help!

    • Tara Johnson says:

      The book is eligible as long as you can provide the files. Judging can not wait until 10/31. Thanks.

      • dlcraddock says:

        Thank you, Tara. One more question: Would it be possible to send you an iTunes code to download the book when we receive them? I read that you accept gifted Kindle books for judging, so I wondered if iTunes download codes were also eligible. If not, I can just submit an epub.

        • Tara Johnson says:

          Please submit the epub file. We can not wait until the 10/31 release date to download the book from iTunes. Thanks.

          • dlcraddock says:

            Will do! Sorry, I wasn’t clear; I meant that I would receive iTunes download codes before the 10/31 publication date. Sending an epub works just fine though.

            Two final questions for you (I hope!). First, my wife and I founded a publishing company to publish this book and others like it. We’re a startup; it’s just the two of us, and I’m the author of the book. Am I still eligible to submit the book?

            Second and lastly, what would be the best way to send you the paperwork that shows our book will be published on 10/31?

            Thank you for your patience.

  27. dlcraddock says:


    My nonfiction book, STAY AWHILE AND LISTEN, will be published on 10/31 of this year. Am I still eligible to enter? I can verify that the book will be out this year; we submitted the book to Apple for pre-order on iTunes and expect to receive verification this week, and will be submitting to Barnes & Noble and Amazon for sale on their respective e-devices.

  28. I published a book with a publisher that markets themselves as a traditional publisher. Then I found out that they are actually a self-publishing company. Yes, I did pay them…a lot. I have since severed my contract with them (yes, I paid my full fee to them). I am now in the process of doing some editing on one of the two small books they published. Would my edited version be admissible in pdf format?

    • Tara Johnson says:

      Thanks for your inquiry. Yes, your book would be eligible. Would you mind letting us know where you originally published?

  29. BillMc9793 says:

    When it says “the first-place winner in each category will win…” does that mean the two categories fiction and non-fiction? Or are the categories Mainstream/Literary Fiction, Children’s/Picture books, Genre Fiction, Middle-Grade/Young Adult books, etc.?


  30. Hi Tara,
    My book is available as an e-book but also as a paperback. Is it a problem for the competition?
    Thanks for your reply.

  31. debbieduncan says:

    Hi Tara,
    My eBook won a QED seal the year I published it (2011). Because F+W and dbw are related, is it eligible for this Writers Digest award? Thanks!

  32. esfinc says:

    Hi, Instead of using the Gift option at Amazon for a Kindle download, can I use a Gift card (using a code that the judges can use to download the eBook) from the Balboa Press website that I received when I published my eBook through them? Should I send both the .epub, .mobi, .ipa, or .pdf file and the code for the Gift card, or is just the code for the Gift card enough? Thanks!

    • Tara Johnson says:

      Yes, please be sure to provide the link for where it can be purchased as well as the code. If you have access to the .pub, .mobi, ipa, or .pdf files, you may upload those when entering.

      • esfinc says:

        Thank you, but I am still unclear. I have both .epub and .mobi files. Do you also need to download it from Balboa’s website (using the Gift card/Code) if I send you one or both of these files. Should I upload both? If only one, which do you prefer? Thanks!

  33. Hello! Ive just self-published my book but have not transferred it over to Kindle yet. I used Lulu.com. Thus, is there a way I can “gift” my book to you or how exactly can I deliver it to you? Thanks in advance for your guidance. I’m new to this daunting self-publishing world! :-)

  34. Jules says:

    My actual publication date is 1-2-2013

    Am I eligible to enter?

  35. lhall4019 says:

    My ebook is published in three places and has three ISBN numbers One is available via Smashwords and their various affiliated distribution points, in several formats. The other is via Ingram from Xlibris. The third is a deluxe PDF version available only at my website. It is the best and most user friendly in terms of visual content and internal hyperlink navigation. The other formats are rather limited in that regard.
    I presume you only want one, but I could send all three. I would appreciate a recommendation. Thanks.

  36. Can I submit my fee using PayPal?

    • Tara Johnson says:

      I’m sorry but we do not accept PayPal. We accept checks, money orders, Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover. Thanks.

  37. Can I submit my entry as a pdf without embedded audio? This will make the file much smaller. As for the audio, I can link the files to a website. This is what I do for epub and mobi readers.


  38. JillShultz says:

    Could you please share a few more details about the judging? How many judges are there? For the sake of selection, are books organized by subcategories, with judges who prefer that genre reading that round and bumping the finalists up to the next round?

    • Tara Johnson says:

      There will be (approx.) 10 judges. Books are not organized by subcategories–everything falls under fiction or nonfiction. Judges are chosen based on interest and experience in the subcategories as a whole, and are informed that they will have a mix of subcategories within their books.

  39. wjmtv says:

    I’m confused about the naming protocol for an uploaded file.

    If my book is a novel called “Jane Doe’s Dilemma,” is this what the filename should look like?


  40. kellyv21 says:

    I wanted to just “gift” the copy from Amazon to enter, but I’m not sure how to do the redemption code. Any ideas?

    • Tara Johnson says:

      Amazon allows you to gift a copy of your eBook, which will allow us to get it to judges more easily. This is only available for Kindle books. Once you gift your eBook, it will be delivered via e-mail. You should see a “Give as a Gift” option when viewing your eBook’s page on Amazon. You may gift us a copy at WritersDigestSelfPublishingCompetition@fwmedia.com

  41. Hello, are short stories/novella allowed to enter?

  42. Are short stories/novellas able to apply/compete?

  43. Can short stories apply/compete?

  44. sstubsten08 says:

    Do we have to submit our e-Book cover with our uploaded epub file?

    Thank you

  45. Do you accept pdf formats? My “enhanced” ebook has 63 minutes of embedded audio in 9 of its 17 chapters; therefore, it is 57 MB in pdf. For epub and mobi formats there are links to the audio in a website: http://roofmanpansini.com/

    My ebook is nonfiction espionage and the integrated audio moves the narrative. Hear real spies in real conversations.

    Thank you,
    John Pansini

  46. kellyv21 says:

    I have entered the paperback of Tent City into another contest here on Writer’s Digest. Is that okay to enter this one too?

  47. Glynis says:

    Wondering…I have an e-book but it is also available in paperback. May I submit it? Any advice appreciated. Regards.

    • Tara Johnson says:

      Yes, you may submit it but please keep in mind that we will only review the e-book. This competition is for authors who have e-books only as well as authors who have printed and e-book versions of their books.

  48. John Bigmouth says:

    “Acceptable file types include .epub, .mobi, .ipa, etc.”
    Does ‘etc.’ include .docx and Pdf files?

  49. SheilaP63 says:

    My book is a small collection of flash fiction and short stories, along with some poems. Will this meet your criteria?

  50. littlekart says:

    Are pdf files acceptable?

  51. SharonGShort says:

    My self-published e-book is a collection of humor/life columns selected from a column I wrote for a daily newspaper for ten years. I also self-published the collection in print. Since the content was originally published in a newspaper, and I self-published as an e-book, does this qualify in the nonfiction category? Thank you.

  52. pooloftears says:

    Just checking, but the self publishing rule extends to all books published through Abbot Press, correct?

  53. Rose Anderson says:

    Hi Tara,
    Is erotic romance acceptable for submission?

  54. yvonnew says:

    It says

    “All entrants will receive a brief commentary from the judges.”

    Does this mean that the book will be listed on your website with a brief review?

    • Tara Johnson says:

      The brief reviews will be shared with the individual entrants. They will not be posted on the website. Thanks.

  55. Stacy says:

    This will be my first time every attempting to do a WD contest does this have to be based on a particular story?

    • Tara Johnson says:

      Hi Stacy,
      This competition is for self-published eBooks. You may submit fiction or nonfiction.