Friday, March 5, 2010

Would you risk $85 on a chance to put "AWARD WINNER" stickers on your books?

There are many award programs in the book business. Some of them seem like scams, with the primary purpose being to generate income from entry fees.

I have not made my mind up about the value of book awards. They undoubtedly make winners feel good and losers feel bad. Winning provides an excuse to send out a press release, but I'm not sure if winning books sell better because of the awards.

However, if you (and others) believe in the merit of your book, it probably won't hurt too much to take a chance for a hundred bucks or so.

Keep in mind that few readers will recognize the name of the award. Even the National Book Award, established in 1950, will mean much less to the average person than Oscar, Emmy, Golden Globe or Pulitzer.

If the name of the award-giver means little or nothing to the public, it may make sense to concentrate on contests with low entry fees and few entrants -- rather than go after one of the major prizes.

(There's nothing to stop you from inventing your own scam award just for your own book, and announcing your status to the world. A few years ago, Orlando Digital, a lying scumbag plagiarizing competitor of my telecom business, gave itself a "prestigious" award. I was pleased to tell the world that the company was bullshitting, so a fake award does have risks.)

The IPPY Awards are not fakes, and are apparently the world’s largest book awards contest and the longest-running unaffiliated contest open exclusively to independents. There are now just 15 days until this year's final entry deadline of Saturday, March 20th.

Here are the basics:

- 14th Annual Awards, accepting entries for all 2009 and early 2010 releases
- 67 Categories, 20 Regions, 12 Outstanding Books of the Year
- Awards ceremony & publicity event at BookExpo America
- Entry Fee is $85 per category

The IPPY Awards reward those who exhibit the courage, innovation, and creativity to bring about change in the world of publishing. These awards include the Regional IPPY Awards for Best Fiction and Best Non-Fiction in eight U.S. and two Canadian regions. It costs just $45 to add the regional entry to your regular IPPY category entry. Also, every book entered is also considered for our Outstanding Books of the Year awards, at NO EXTRA CHARGE. So, you can enter three contests at once for just $130.

Enter now at:

Still undecided? Here are the Top Ten Reasons to Enter the IPPY Awards:

10. Bragging rights
9. Endless P.R. possibilities
8. Credibility opens doors
7. Awesome stickers
6. 3 ways to win
5. Awesome party
4. Great marketing dollar value
3. You can't win if you don't enter
2. It's so easy to enter

Launched in 1996, the Independent Publisher Book Awards are designed to bring increased recognition to the deserving but often unsung titles published by independent authors and publishers. Open exclusively to independents, the "IPPYs" recognize the year's best books and bring them to the attention of booksellers, buyers, librarians, and book lovers.

The IPPY Awards contest is among the largest and most recognized book awards events in the world, and all independent, university, small press, and self-publishers who produce books written in English are eligible. Titles copyrighted 2009 or 2010, or that were released in 2009 or early 2010 may be entered. National category entry fee is $85; Regional category can be added for $45; Outstanding Books of the Year consideration at no extra charge. Final deadline is March 20, 2010; enter online or postmark entries by that date.

Print guidelines and entry form:
Enter online at:

Here is the link to the 2009 Awards results article online, with links to event photos, press release, etc:

The 5th Annual Regional IPPY Awards go to the Best Fiction and Best Non-Fiction Books in eight U.S. and two Canadian regions. If your book is written or published with a regional focus, don’t miss the opportunity to extend your exposure and increase your chances of winning a regional Independent Publisher Book Award.

Outstanding Books of the Year: For 27 years the mission of Independent Publisher has been to recognize and encourage the work of publishers who exhibit the courage and creativity necessary to take chances, break new ground and bring about change, not only to the world of publishing, but to our society, our environment, and our collective spirit. One book in each of the following categories will receive a special award for Outstanding Book of the Year:

Most Original Concept - Most Likely to Save the Planet
Freedom Fighter of the Year - Most Outstanding Design
Peacemaker of the Year - Story Teller of the Year
Best Book Arts Craftsmanship - Most Inspirational to Youth
Most Life-Changing – Most Progressive Health Book
Independent Spirit Award – Independent Voice Award

Questions? Contact Jim Barnes, Awards Director, or phone: 1-800-644-0133 x1011

  • Disclaimer. This blog posting is NOT meant to be an endorsement or recommendation of the IPPY awards, or the company behind it -- The Jenkins Group. Jenkins conducts several awards programs, provides various services to publishers, and is also a pay-to-publish company (a.k.a. a vanity publisher). I have not examined any of their books or heard complaints from any of their authors, and their website seems to be forthright and non-sleazy.


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