Self-Published Book Awards

Deadline: April 1, 2020

Whether you’re a professional writer, a part-time freelancer or a self-starting student, here’s your chance to enter the premier self-published competition exclusively for self-published books. Writer’s Digest hosts the 28th annual self-published competition—the Annual Self-Published Book Awards. This self-published competition spotlights today’s self-published works and honors self-published authors.

Already Entered?
You can edit or manage your entry HERE

One Grand Prize winner will receive:

  • $8,000 in cash
  • A feature article about you and your book for the March 2021 issue of Writer’s Digest
  • A paid trip to the Writer’s Digest Annual Conference, including a coveted Pitch Slam slot

One First Prize winner in each category will receive:

  • $1,000 in cash
  • Promotion in the March 2021 issue of Writer’s Digest

All Grand Prize and First Prize winners will receive:

  • Be featured on the Writer’s Digest website
  • One year subscription to Writer’s Digest Tutorials
  • A digital award seal for use in promoting your win.

Honorable Mention Winners will receive promotion on and a digital seal for use in promoting your win.

All entrants will receive a brief commentary from one of the judges.


  • Mainstream/Literary Fiction
  • Genre Fiction
  • Nonfiction/Reference (General Nonfiction, Cookbooks, Guidebooks, Textbooks, How-To, etc.)
  • Inspirational
  • Life Stories (Biographies, Autobiographies, Family Histories, Memoirs)
  • Early Readers/Children’s Picture books
  • Middle-Grade/Young Adult
  • Poetry

How to Enter

  • All entrants must send a printed and bound book. You may register your book online. All books not registered online must be accompanied by an Official Entry Form. You may enter more than one book and/or more than one category; however, you must include a separate book, entry form and the additional fee for each entry. We accept check, money order or credit card payment for the required judging fee. All checks will be cashed within 60 days of the competition final deadline. Entry fees are non-refundable.
  • The competition is open to all English-language self-published books for which the authors have paid the full cost of publication, or the cost of printing has been paid for by a grant or as part of a prize. Entrants must send a printed and bound book. PDFs and proofs will not be accepted. Entries will be evaluated on content, writing quality and overall quality of production and appearance. No handwritten books are accepted. All books published or revised and reprinted between 2014 and 2019 are eligible. (Writer’s Digest may demand proof of eligibility of semifinalists.)
  • Due to U.S. Government restrictions we are unable to accept entries from Syria, Iran, North Korea, or Crimea.
  • Click here to download the printable entry form (for entries not registered online)
  • For more information visit our Preparing Your Entry Page or our FAQ page.

20 thoughts on “Self-Published Book Awards

  1. AvatarCcroskery

    Just wondering if translated, self-published books can be entered? If so, are they considered “from” the country of origin of the translator or the author?
    I am American and live in the US, but the books I translate are from Iranian authors.
    Your entry rules state that “due to US gov’t restrictions, we are unable to accept entries from Iran, ….”
    Please advise.

  2. Avatarmvptravel

    I received this email from you:

    Your book TRIPS, TRAVELS AND DREAMS How LSD Saved Me (entered in the Life Stories category) was included in the 2019 Writer’s Digest 28th Annual Self-Published Book Awards and was considered, along with all submissions, for the prizes. The (assigned) judge’s commentary, however, which is due after the judging portion of the competition–was not provided to us.
    As a result, we regret having to inform you that the judge who was assigned to your entry titled [TK], was not able to complete the commentary portion of their judging obligations for the 2019 competition.
    We have re-assigned your book to a new 2019 reader from our judging panel, who will read and provide* you with the promised commentary (*commentary mail date February 2020).
    We would also like to offer you a 50% discount* on an early bird entry into the upcoming 2020 Writer’s Digest 28th Annual Self-Published Book Awards. *Apply code WD19SPUB50 during checkout; offer expires April 1st, 2020.
    Writer’s Digest Competitions

    I would like 100% assurance from you that my book was considered in your competition, even though the judge assigned DID NOT COMPLETE the judging process!

    Michael Palmer

  3. AvatarRgnick77

    I entered the 2019 Competition. I received a confirmation email that my book was with a judge. I waited until December 9th for the commentary and I have not received anything thing. Can someone please advise?

    1. AvatarJbarks

      Top Award Winners will be notified before October 31, 2019. The top winners will be listed in the March/April 2020 issue of Writer’s Digest. All winners’ names will be listed on after the March/April issue is published. Commentaries will be sent to entrants by December 9, 2019.

    2. Cassandra LippCassandra Lipp

      The winners announcement will be published online on February 5, 2020 and also in the March 2020 issue of the print magazine. All the winners and honorable mentions have already been notified by email.

  4. Avatarlbrei

    This deadline is showing as May 31, but my current WD print edition (July/Aug. 2019) says on page 11 that the Early Bird deadline is Aug. 1 and Regular deadline is Sept 4. Also, this page mentions $8K top prize while the magazine notes $5K. Are these different contests? If so, why isn’t the one advertised in the current print edition shown on the previous page? What’s going on?

  5. Avatarremacd

    I have entered comp but cant get my book delivered – USPS tried to deliver this parcel to address on 18/4 but failed as there is no access. are the addition instructions I need to tell USPS? I’m posting from New Zealand so cant really pop in myself – many thanks

  6. AvatarJim Davidson

    I noticed that the deadline for Self-Published Book Awards has been extended from May 1, 2019 to May 31, 2019 without explanation. Is this moving target going to continue to move and, if so, how will it affect the judging of the contest?


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