Book awards: Can they boost your bottom line?


One of the best ways to gain recognition and credibility as an author – and possibly one of the most underutilised marketing tools – is by winning a book award. Book buyers, the media and the book trade are more willing to support and push award-winning authors.

Easier said than done. Many competitions have an entry fee, so authors need to choose their competitions carefully, unless they have a lot of money to blow. And to win an award, you actually have to WIN – which means beating a bunch of other people with the same hopes and dreams – and talent. Still, you can receive a lot of exposure and you just never know who will pick up your book, even if it doesn’t win.

If you choose your awards carefully by researching each one to make sure they are credible, you will enjoy the following benefits if you win:

  • Increased media visibility – readers follow the media and what the media have to say
  • The attention of readers – book buyers use wins and reviews to help them determine the quality of a book and whether it’s worth buying
  • More reviews – more awards generates more interest among reviewers; reviews are vital for stimu­lating interest amongst book buyers and retailers
  • More sales – greater visibility and interest generates increased sales
  • Greater support from online retailers – online retailers, such as Amazon, back books that are surrounded by sales-stimulating activity

We have provided a short list of competitions to get you going. If your book is listed on, don’t forget to let us know if you have won any awards so that we can post your achievements on our site and add that valuable information to your book page.

The Rubery Prize

The Rubery Prize is a prestigious international book award for indie writers, self-published authors and books published by independent presses. Closing date: 31 March 2018

PEN South Africa – Write! Africa, Write!

PEN is a portal featuring writing competitions for poetry and fiction and submission opportunities to publish in local Journals. You can also find out about the latest industry news, awards and events.

Golden Baobab Prize for Early Chapter Books

This award is for the best unpublished manuscript for an early chapter book targeting readers aged 9 to 11 years old. Final submission deadline: 31 March 2018

The Gourmand World Cookbook Award

This international award honours the best food and wine books, as well as food television, in the world. It is free and open to all languages. South African Chef and Quickfox Publishing author, Nompumelelo Mqwebu, is a 2018 international finalist in both the First Cookbook category and the Self-Published category for her book “Through the Eyes of an African Chef”, the winner of which will be announced in May this year. She won the South African regional award for both categories. To find out how to enter the 2019 Gourmand Awards, visit the organiser’s website.

SA Writer’s Circle

This organisation hosts a competition every month, with a focus on short stories with fun and diverse topics, guaranteed to spark your creativity and keep your writing muscles flexed.

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