Submitting for Book Awards by Nancy Sanders

Submitting for Awards
by Nancy Sanders

I'm getting ready right now to prepare to submit my newest book for awards,
Frederick Douglass for Kids (Release date June, 2012. Website:

Two years ago I spent time submitting my other book in the same series for awards, America's Black Founders.

I worked with my publicist at my publishing house and basically, here's the plan we came up with:

1. Prepare a budget for awards submissions. Be sure to include the cost of your book, postage and envelope to mail it in, and the price for submissions. If working with a publisher, find out if they have a budget for awards, too. Many do.

2. Make a list of places to submit your book to for awards. Note the cost for submission and the qualifications for the award. (Some only award picture books, some only award novels, etc.)

3. Be sure to include places that don't necessarily offer an award, but honor your book by including it on their list of recommended reads. For instance the state reading lists.

4. Make a calendar. The calendar notes the deadlines for each place you're submitting your book.

5. Start submitting. Especially submit to award sites that are free.

The philosophy of the publicists I've worked with has been:

Don't worry about whether your book wins the award or not. Submit if it's within your budget for one main reason: EXPOSURE. When you submit your book for an award, it lands in the hands of judges, many who are important folks in their circle of literary influence. My publicists have even submitted my books for the Caldecott and Newbery awards and even for the Pulitzer Prize solely for exposure alone!

Some of the awards are free to submit to. Others carry a more hefty price tag such as the Mom's Choice Award which costs $300. However, they have an early bird special coupon to save $100 so try to get that if you can determine whether or not you think the exposure fits in your budget.

One other thought...rather than aim for expensive awards such as the Mom's Choice Award if it's too far above your budget, consider contacting several mombloggers who have a couple hundred of followers each. Offer to give them a free copy of your book if they'll review it on their site. I have one independent publisher who likes this approach and it has earned them thousands of dollars of sales of my books and great exposure...for a much more reasonable cost!

-Nancy I. Sanders ( is the bestselling and award-winning author of over 80 books with publishers big and small including her how-to book for children’s writers, Yes! You Can Learn How to Write Children’s Books, Get Them Published, and Build a Successful Writing Career. She is available for teaching your group of writers an online class on how you can take the next step forward in your career as a writer. For more information about her online workshops, visit her site: Virtual Visit Zone at

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Karen Cioffi said...

Nancy, great book marketing advice. It really does matter if you can add that 'award winning author' in your signature!

Thanks for sharing.

Donna McDine said...


Terrific article. I took Nancy's advice for The Golden Pathway and it placed in several contests. Thanks for your info Nancy!

All the best,

Karen Cioffi said...

Donna, I did too!

Nancy I. Sanders said...

Thanks for inviting me to visit your site today, Karen! It's a joy! And I'm so glad this information has been helpful to you and Donna, too.

Evelyn said...

Thanks for sharing, Nancy. You always have such wonderful advice for authors. And thanks for hosting, Karen.

Karen Cioffi said...

Evelyn, Thanks for stopping by. I agree, Nancy does always have useful information.