Top 5 Fantastic Picture Book Awards to Help Your Book Get Noticed
A must-read for all self-published authors.
Bonus: Amazing award-picking tool and most needed scam warnings.
In the lone journey as a self-published author, we understand that after book reviews, book awards significantly boost morale and encourage you to write and publish more.
Winning an award may not directly boost your sales but can help increase the credibility of your book. And also increase the chance of getting accepted by book promotion sites like BookBub.
While there are several prestigious awards for picture books, including Caldecott Medal, Newbery Medal, Coretta Scott King Book Award, The Kate Greenaway Medal, Hans Christian Andersen Award, Pura Belpré Award, and The Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award, many of these prestigious prizes and awards have not yet opened to self-published books. Still, there are many fantastic picture book awards you should consider for your creation.
Self-published authors can now apply for various awards recognizing excellence in picture books. However, we evaluated these book awards based on their accessibility, cost, transparency, acceptance of global self-published authors, and value.
The Rubery Prize
A well-known brand where a panel of prominent judges will award this prestigious worldwide book prize to the best books written by independent authors, self-published authors, and books released by independent publishers.
Entry and prize:
The entry period for the award program opens in August and finishes in March. They announce the judges' names at the start of every award year. For 2023, they charge £44 as an entry fee. Also, the selected book of the year for the current year receives a cash prize of £2,000. Each category winner also receives £200 in cash. In addition, winners and shortlisted authors receive a write-up, while winners also receive a glass plaque.
They accept picture books as a separate category under Illustrated Children's Books. The judges are well-known writers. For instance, one of their 2023 judges, the Booker prize, shortlisted author Clare Morrall. The cash prize offered conforms to the entry fee. The London Review of Books praised the Rubery Award.
To learn more and enter your book, visit The Rubery Book Award website.
IAN Book of the Year Awards
The IAN Book of the Year Awards is an international competition with two picture book categories: illustrated children's fiction and non-fiction for children/juvenile/young adults. While they do not reveal the judges' names, they state they have experienced reviewers, authors, publishers, and editors judging the books. They are also one of the most prestigious awards for self-published authors.
Entry and prize:
The 2023 competition begins on October 15, 2022, and ends on August 15, 2023. Non-members pay $49 to enter, while IAN members pay $39. Winners share a $6,000 cash prize. They also provide digital seals for both finalists and winners.
The Independent Author Network (IAN) is a community of self-published and small indie press authors. They use a large social media following to promote their authors. Their openness and ethical code of conduct make them an excellent award choice for your book. They are also an Alliance of Independent Authors partner.
To learn more and enter your book, visit the Independent Author Network website.
North Street Book Prize
The North Street Book Prize accepts self-published or hybrid books, and there is a separate category for children's picture books. Winning Writers, a high-quality author and poet resource group, manages the award. They have an easy-to-understand webpage for their awards that contains all the pertinent information.
Entry and prize:
The entry fee for each book is $75, and the subsequent award submission period begins on February 15, 2023, and ends on June 30, 2023. The grand prize winner receives $10,000, and each category winner receives $1,000. In addition, each honorable mention will receive $300.
The North Street Book Prize is a highly sought-after book award with fully disclosed judges and a sizable cash prize. While they publish critiques for the winners, they offer discounted private comments for non-winners. They also provide downloadable resources to all entrants, including Carolyn Howard-The Johnson's Frugal Book Promoter.
To learn more and enter your book, visit the Winning Writers website.
Eric Hoffer Book Award
The Eric Hoffer Book Award honors the great American philosopher Eric Hoffer's memory by emphasizing outstanding writing and the independent spirit of small publishers. Since its beginning, the Hoffer has become one of the most important international book awards for small, academic, and independent presses. And they have a separate category for children's books.
Entry and prize:
The entry fee for each book is $60, and the submission deadline is January 21, 2024. The grand prize is $2,500 and awards multiple honors in various book categories.
The Eric Hoffer Book Award is well-known in the book world, and winning it will benefit your book. While they do not reveal the names of the judges, they make the judging process transparent. So you can enter your book into this seasoned award.
To learn more and enter your book, visit The Eric Hoffer Book Award website.
The Wishing Shelf Awards
The Wishing Shelf Book Awards is a non-profit book award for self-published authors. Author Edward Trayer manages the award, and schoolchildren judge the picture books category.
Entry and prize:
The entry period for the award program is open all year and closes in December. For 2023, the entry fee is £79 with feedback and £39 without feedback. In addition, the winner of the year receives a medal. Furthermore, they may award the finalists medals for an additional payment. In addition, all winners and finalists receive e-certificates.
They have two categories for picture books, preschool picture books and books for children aged 6 to 8. Because your target audience is the judge, any feedback improves the relevance of your current and future writings. They also provide feedback for all authors, irrespective of the results. The Alliance of Independent Authors recommends them. They donate the entry fees to charity causes and spend money promoting all the finalists' and winners' books on Facebook, The Fussy Librarian, and other well-known websites.
To learn more and enter your book, visit The Wishing Shelf Book Awards website.
Find Your Right Fit.
While these are our recommendations for picture books and children's literature, many other local, regional, and national awards recognize and honor the work of children's book creators. It's important to note that the eligibility requirements and application procedures for these awards may differ, so read the specific guidelines for each award before submitting your book.
Book Award Pro monitors thousands of awards daily to match ideal opportunities for your book. You can also partner with Book Award Pro to put your book in the limelight. According to them, over 2.2 million books get published yearly. Book Award Pro can help you win awards, get critical third-party validation, and stand out. Please note that Book Award Pro is an affiliate link.
Beware of Award Scams.
Writer scams are nothing new and have been around for a long time. However, there are increasing scams, particularly in the self-publishing industry. A few people report the incidents, but many more go unreported. Scammers' favorite way to collect easy money from unsuspecting authors is through awards. While it may tempt you to include an award-winning author or book in your bio, please be cautious about which awards you nominate your book.
If you're new to self-publishing, spend some time reading Victoria Strauss' blog Writer Beware®, where she keeps her readers up to date on the dark side of the publishing industry. In addition, she has some good advice on avoiding awards that are mere profiteering tools for a few. She cites solicitation, high entry fees, dozens or hundreds of entry categories, anonymous judging, non-prize prizes, and opportunities to spend more money as red flags when determining the genuineness of an award.
The Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi), a self-publishing authors' association, goes a step further and vets awards based on whether the award enriches the author or organizers, the transparency of the judging process, whether the entry fees are commensurate with the prizes, and whether there is profiteering upsell. They also clearly state the best and worst ratings and the reasons for each. Before applying for any book awards, you must first check the ratings of the Alliance of Independent Authors. If you don't see the award you're looking for on their list, you can write to them and request an evaluation.
You can also visit the Poets & Writers website for genuine writing contests, grants, and awards. They carefully review each contest's practices and policies before including them on their website.
As a self-publishing picture book author, check out the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) 's two prestigious awards for independently published books. But, these are only open to members - Pre-publication grant and Spark.
Good luck with winning some awards for your beautiful creation. If you would like to have your book reviewed by us, please check out our review policy. And each month, we also choose the best picture books we read and award Star of the Month in overall and illustration categories. And this is free and includes an attractive seal that authors can use on their website.
Take advantage of signing up for our newsletter (We promise to send only one email a month, and you can unsubscribe anytime). Have a picture book? Send it to us so we may review it. Remember to read our book reviews and browse our resources section.