Posted by: nancyisanders | May 28, 2012


One of the things I’m busy doing right now is sending my new book, Frederick Douglass for Kids in for awards.

It’s a very tight window of time that your book has to be submitted for awards.

Most awards require a copy of your book sent to them the year it was published. Many places even have deadlines of June or August even if you book wasn’t released until October!

The key to staying on top of which awards have which deadlines is to make yourself a little calendar and then double check your book is submitted on time.

To help you with this process, I have included links to some of the bigger children’s awards on my site. Just click on the Awards tab at the top of my blog, then click the link for “Places to Submit.”

Also check in with your publisher to see which awards they’re submitting your book to. Then you can create a budget to send to the others.

My publisher is submitting my book for nearly a dozen big awards for nonfiction children’s books. So I’m going through that list on my blog for any names my publisher isn’t submitting to, and shipping out copies of my book to the ones that fit in my budget.

Just to let you know an actual breakdown of what that budget looks like, here’s some numbers:

* I ordered 20 copies of my book with my author’s discount for around $200.
* I get the priority mail cardboard envelopes for free at my post office. One book fits inside each envelope. (I can fit 3 of my books inside a legal sized priority mail envelope.)
* It costs about $6 to mail each book.
* Some awards don’t require anything except the book. Some require marketing materials. So I designed a promotional flyer to include with these books, plus tuck in one of the full-color bookmarks my publisher designed for me to hand out. (Click here to see the promotional flyer as an example of one you can make. Just scroll to the bottom to download the flyer.)
* Some awards are free to submit to. Many cost $50. Some such as Teacher’s Choice cost $195 or $300 if your publisher isn’t a member of their organization.
* Some awards require one copy of the book mailed to them. Others require multiple copies of the book mailed to each chairperson helping with the event. And still other awards, such as state reading lists, don’t require a book at all…just the name of the book’s title and they’ll get it to read themselves.

Hope this helps as you’re thinking about submitting your book for an award! If you don’t have any budget for submitting your children’s book for awards, don’t despair! Just go over the list of state reading awards that I posted on my award site here on my blog and submit yours for those.

Here’s a picture of some of my books packaged and ready to take to the post office!


  1. Very helpful post, Nancy. This is probably something first-time authors don’t even think about. Obviously it’s a financial investment for you as an author. One thing I’d like to know is how an award benefits the author most. Does it enable you to be more likely to be published again? Is there a noticeable financial gain and greater sales? More likelihood of school or library visits? What are the other good things that you experience when you’ve been the recipient of an award?

  2. Hi Beth! Personally I think the biggest benefit to an author is the exposure. As one of my publishers said to me, they like to submit books for as many awards as possible because top people in the literary field are reading these books, so that means that they’re reading my new book, too. That is probably the single most important reason I am submitting my books. If they win an award, it’s icing on the cake. As far as better chance of getting published or greater sales…that’s hard to track. I know that when I’m choosing books to read as an author to improve my writing skills or teach my classes, I look at these lists of award winners first. And I know librarians and teachers look at these lists to help them choose which current titles to use and purchase each year. Plus, I know when I tell publishers on my resume about my award-winning books, they respond with positive comments. So I know winning awards doesn’t hurt and can actually help a book although I don’t think there’s a way to track this exactly. But when my book, D is for Drinking Gourd: An African American Alphabet has won various nice awards and it has sold over 80,000 copies so far, I can assume that winning the awards has been a positive thing.The other benefit is that I can put on my author’s blurb when I teach at writing conferences (or wherever) that I’m an award-winning author! That’s been a nice perk, too.

    • Thanks for your reply, Nancy. It’s so interesting to follow what you do with your books. Very informative!

  3. Hi Nancy,

    Critical and important post. Thanks for sharing your tips and info!

    All the best,

  4. Best wishes on winning more awards with this new book!

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