Awards Contests for Self-Published Authors: Are They Worth It?

My latest post for the Catholic Writers Guild blog is about awards contests and whether they are worthwhile.

In my post last month, I gave a link which lists some popular awards contests for self-published authors:

This list doesn’t claim to be all inclusive, but it is helpful. And be aware that most of these contests require an entry fee.

One award that doesn’t require an entry fee (if you’re a member) is the Catholic Writers Guild Seal of Approval. Sarah Reinhard gives extensive information on the SOA contest in this blog post:

Another awards contest that CWG members have been quite successful with is the Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPYs). In 2010, my Catholic historical romance, In Name Only, won the Gold Medal in the Religious Fiction category and CWG President, Ann Lewis’, book Murder in The Vatican: The Church Mysteries of Sherlock Holmes, won the Gold Medal in 2011. Other CWG members have won Bronze medals for their novels in past contests.

As well, CWG member, Karen Kelly Boyce, recently won the Eric Hoffer award (in commercial fiction) for her novel, Down Right Good.

The question is: are awards worth it? Awards are certainly affirmation that we are producing quality books. But do they sell books?

Case in point: A few years ago, at a local Catholic conference, the organizers allowed me to speak briefly in front of the 400 or so attendees. I then proceeded to tell them that my novel, In Name Only, had won a Gold Medal for Religious Fiction. Later that day, the local Archbishop came to my table. He said he was an avid reader and was interested in the book that “had won the Gold Medal.” “It’s a romance,” I replied, thinking that an archbishop would not be interested in a romance. I continued, “But it has inherent Theology of the Body themes.” “Great,” he said, “I love romance novels, especially one with Catholic themes.”

The archbishop wasn’t the only one who stopped by my table after I mentioned that my book had won a gold medal. During the next three hours, more than 40 people lined up at my table to buy my book.

While medals may help to sell books at conferences, I have to admit that the award didn’t make much difference in my online sales (in fact, I didn’t see any spike in sales following the medal announcement).

Even so, winning an award is an incredible honor, an invaluable addition to a resume and it increases personal one-on-one sales. So…what do you have to lose? The cost of the registration fee. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Contests are definitely worth it.

Copyright 2012 Ellen Gable Hrkach


3 thoughts on “Awards Contests for Self-Published Authors: Are They Worth It?

  1. Pingback: Sunday Snippets – May 20 « Plot Line and Sinker

  2. The Wishing Shelf Book Awards is a fantastic way to market your book for next to no cost.

    Everybody who enters will get:

    Feedback from over 15 readers.

    A quote for the back of their next book based on the readers’ feedback.

    A review on Amazon ( or .com) based on the readers’ feedback.

    Membership to our Facebook page where we invite agents and publishers to look at our author’s work.

    Treated like a human being and not simply a cash machine.

    PLUS the finalists and winners will get a certificate and 12 months of publicity on the net.

    This award is basically my way of ‘showing the finger’ to the rip-off awards out there. It is run by me (I’m also an independently published author) and my goal is to focus on the feedback and publicity for the authors who enter.

    So check the award out at or email me with details of your book

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