Award Contests for Self-Published Fantasy Authors

Award contests are a great way to gain credibility and exposure for indie authors. There are tons of contests out there, and it's difficult to know which ones to enter. Contests based on readers voting are exciting and usually involve a lot of effort campaigning for votes. They are sometimes seen as popularity contests and therefore can be less credible. Here are three contests with awards selected by judges, which have great exposure and are affordable.

Readers Favorite
(by April 1, 2018 for Early Bird fee $89)
This annual contest has over a hundred genre categories and is open to traditional and self-published authors. Each genre category is judged separately, with five different award levels: gold, silver, bronze, honorable mention, and award finalist. Readers Favorite is a well-established review site with hundreds of thousands of contacts and millions of followers.     

Drunken Druid Book of the Year (by Feb 28, 2018 for 2017 awards, entry fee $25)
This contest is much more affordable than Readers Favorite, and has a decent amount of exposure. It's open to any fiction work published during the year, including collections of short stories and poems, with a minimum length of 30,000 words. The winner is featured on Drunken Druid websites and social media accounts throughout the year. Books are reviewed by a selection committee, and a short list is published ten days before the winner is announced. 

SPFBO (submission date varies, no entry fee)
The Self-Published Fantasy Blog Off (SPFBO) is revolutionizing views on self-published books. This contest is in its third year and keeps drawing more attention. Only self-published fantasy works are eligible to enter, although they can be published in previous years. The contest accepts 300 books. Ten respected fantasy bloggers are assigned 30 books each, and then choose a finalist from their batch. The finalists are scored by all ten blogs, and the scores compared for determining the final rankings. The current contest is in the finals stage, and you can follow its progress here. The 2018-19 contest will likely begin taking submissions sometime after this year's finalists have all been scored. Follow Mark Lawrence to watch for the next announcement of open submissions, usually in late spring. The contest is limited to 300 entries and can fill up in a few days. Successful entries lead to great exposure within the fantasy community and opportunities to network with other entrants.
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I recommend entering all three of these contests, and best of luck to you! If you have any to add to this list, please let me know.

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