Self-Publishing Contests in 2016: Where Should You Submit Your Indie Book?

Once your indie book has been written, edited (contact Midnight Publishing for editing rates and various services!), proofread, formatted, had a cover designed, professional back matter/blurb created, and uploaded to distributors and online social media outlets like Goodreads, it might feel like you’ve done everything you can to get your book off the ground, short of skywriting info about its debut.

Not so fast.

One of the hurdles self-published and small press authors are still crossing is that very important piece that traditional publishers still offer (and is their main playing card): legitimacy.

The argument some publishers and bookstores still make is that when someone self-publishes, they haven’t had to jump through the ringer regarding their book’s creation. There are no “gatekeepers,” no companies tossing the manuscript into the slush pile, as well as the “lack of a professional team” ensuring that the book is refined and polished until it shines. Essentially, some of the publishing world is clinging to the notion that self-published/indie books = poorly written.

This is simply NOT TRUE. In fact, according to AuthorEarnings.com (a website founded in part by Hugh Howey, the indie publishing sensation), in November of 2015, 28 percent of Amazon UK’s bestselling books were indie published, compared to 14 percent of those published by one of the Big Five.

So not only are indie books making authors some serious money, but they are becoming bestsellers over traditionally published titles. Consumers aren’t worried about the publisher if the book is high-quality and enthralling, has good reviews, and comes highly recommended. Now, this quality comes with a team ensuring your indie book is refined to the highest caliber, but it is a team that you acquire yourself, with the freedom as the author to make executive decisions and choices about your book’s trajectory. However, there’s one other issue…

How do you get coveted professional reviews and awards that validate your indie book’s quality?

By submitting to contests that accept indie or small press-published entries.

Not only do you gain exposure, but an award and possible accompanying review can be vital to building that coveted validity, and setting your indie book apart from others. As a self-published author myself, my steampunk fantasy novel The Charismatics has won several awards and distinctions: Self-Publishing Review’s Grand Prize and First Prize in Fiction for 2015, and indieBrag’s B.R.A.G. Medallion for excellence in self-publishing. Entering myself into both of these contests cost me less than $100 altogether. You can find contests that are affordable and budget-friendly, and they’re a great way to showcase to readers that your book is worth their hard-earned money.

Below are some recommendations and resources for upcoming contests in 2016 tailored to indie authors:

There are loads of other resources online regarding upcoming contests, but remember to be intentional about choosing them—not all of them are reputable, and not all of them are budget-friendly. Choose wisely, and contact Midnight Publishing anytime for advice or direction on how to take your book (unfinished or not) to an award-winning level! As the best editing, marketing and ghostwriting company in Phoenix, Arizona, we can’t wait to share our expertise with you!