Frequently Asked Questions

Will I Retain My Book Rights If I Enter?

Absolutely! It’s your book, you can do whatever you wish with it. You retain full rights to any work you submit.

What Formats Do You Accept?

We accept Mobi, ePub, PDF, Word Doc or Docx formats of your complete novel.

What If I Don’t Have A Mobi or Doc File?

We do not convert files for you, but you can get a mobi file of your book from Amazon KDP or Smashwords. See instructions for how to get files here. 

Can I Enter A Book That Has Not Been Released Yet?

No. We will accept any indie book that has been published after 2012, but the book must be currently available to the public.

Is There A Minimum Word Count For Entries?

  • Fiction entries are limited to independently published, full length novels consisting of 45,000 words or more.
  • Non-fiction entries are limited to independently published books of 25,000 words or more.
  • Children’s books do not have a minimum word count.
  • Novellas/Short Story Collections/Poetry Collections should be between 7,500 and 45,000 words.

Is There An Age Requirement To Enter?

All entrants must be 18 years old or older.

What Do You Mean By Independently Published?

Any books you enter must be independently published and your own work.  This means the book must be self-published by the author (You). In other words, you retain full rights to your book. We have broadened the award to include books published by small, independent presses.

Acceptable Books: If you are self-published through sites like Amazon’s KDP, Smashwords, Createspace or Pubit, or you are published through a vanity press where you retain your rights and remain autonomous, you can enter your book in the Best Indie Book Award™ contest. We have broadened the award to include books published by small, independent presses.

Not Acceptable: Your book is published by major publishers, such as HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster. Penguin, or any other major publisher and you have a contract where you do NOT have full publishing rights.

I Live Outside The United States, Can I Still Enter?


Categories To Be Judged:

  • Romance
  • Science-Fiction/Dystopian
  • Fantasy/Paranormal
  • Action/Adventure
  • Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
  • Young Adult
  • Mainstream
  • Non-Fiction
  • Novella/Short Story Collection/Poetry Collection
  • Children
  • Gay/Lesbian
  • Memoir
  • Christian

Can I Enter More Than One Book?

You may enter more than one book in the contest, but each entry must be accompanied by the $50 entry fee. So, if you enter two books in the contest, your entry fees will total $100, and so on. *Entry fees are non-refundable.

Can I Enter The Same Book In More Than One Category?

Yes. You may enter the book in multiple categories. There will be a $50 fee for each category entered.

How The Non-Fiction Category Works

We maintain the Non-Fiction category as a stand-alone category for general non-fiction. But each year, as we receive entries and evaluate them, we divide the Non-Fiction category into sub-categories. We can divide into several categories every year depending on how many entries we receive and what the sub-category will bear. For example, if we see several entries in the Non-Fiction category that fall under a Health sub-category, and the writing is very strong, we add Health to the categories for that particular year, while still maintaining the General Non-Fiction category.

Dividing Non-Fiction into more specific categories throughout the year allows authors more opportunity within the Best Indie Book Award contest. This can encompass several non-fiction categories, such as Self-Help, Health, Business and Investing, or even Political subjects. Likewise, we do the same in other multi-genre categories available within the contest. Once the award winners have been chosen and we roll into the new contest year, we will once again open just the General Non-Fiction category, and the process starts all over again. We open sub-categories every year depending on what type of entries we are receiving in the Non-Fiction category. Again, this is true of all the multi-genre categories, such as Science Fiction/Dystopian and Fantasy/Paranormal.

Why Do I See Memoir Winners in 2018 But Not 2016?

Over time, we have expanded the contest to suit the needs of the authors entering. As we grow, the categories grow. So, you may see new categories in 2019 that were not available in 2014. We may add categories at any time. In the event of a category having a large number of entries in a given year, we may also split categories to give entrants a better chance. Those new categories will only have winners from that point forward, resulting in less overall winners than a category that has winners from previous years.

How Will Books Be Judged?

Entries will be judged based on multiple writing skills, which include story-telling ability, author’s ability to engage the reader, transitions, pacing, movement of the story, author’s skill with voice, character, dialogue, and narrative. Grammar skills will also be taken into consideration.

How Can You Judge A Contest So Quickly?  Submissions Close Oct 15th And You Announce Winners By December 30th.

We are often asked by authors if we have late entry options, so we chose to keep the contest open as late as possible for authors finishing new projects who may want to enter in that given year. This is not uncommon with contests.  But it’s also not easy on the contest owners, coordinators and judges, as it intensifies the work required to choose the winner.  As for judging quickly, there is nothing quick about the judging process.  In fact, the judging process is very intense.

We begin judging as soon as we begin taking entries, and the judging process has multiple stages.  There are three major judging tiers in the BIBA contest, followed by an intense finalist round that has several phases.  For example, an author enters his book.  It is immediately positioned in the category entered.  Within a few days, the coordinators look at the book to determine if the category entered is appropriate for the book.  (Sometimes we recommend that an author change the category to give them the best chance.)  Then we read the first ten to twenty pages to determine if the writer can open a story with the proper hooks.  This is Tier One of judging.  If the author passes the first tier of judging, the author moves to Tier Two, at which point the judges are looking more critically at the way the author handles narrative, dialogue, and pacing.  And so on up through Tier Three.  But in Tier Three, now the author is being pitted against other authors.  In the first two tiers, the author is really only competing with him/herself.  By Tier Three, your book has gone through some intense evaluation, AND has oftentimes been heatedly debated by judges.  Pat yourself on the back and treat yourself to a good dinner out.

In the finals, the going gets even tougher for the authors, as they are then being stacked against other authors who have passed the first three tiers of the contest.  We may have thirty books in any given category in the First Finals Phase.  If you make it to the first round of finals, you are doing an awesome job. But then those finalists must be reduced down to just five, which is a major undertaking in itself.  At this point, judges begin reading with the intent of reading the full manuscript.  You can bet that by the time an author gets to the Mid-Finals, their novel is being read in its entirety.  Each tier, and how well an author passes all the checklists, determines how much of the manuscript is read. This is much like the role of an editor at a major publishing house.  Editors do not read a manuscript entirely before making a decision about how good the author is at their craft.  Likewise, no major contest can read every entry in its entirety in any given year of a contest, because there simply is not enough manpower to do so, and the entry fee would be astronomical.

It doesn’t matter at what point in the year you enter the contest, your book will go through the same exact judging process.  And that, folks, is how our contest works.  Not quick at all.

When Will Winners Be Announced?

Winners will be announced by December 30th of each year.

What Do The Winners Receive?

There will be one winner for each category.

Each winner will receive:

  • The Best Indie Book Award™ Emblem to proudly display on their website and book cover. The emblem can be used to promote your book wherever you like.
  • A physical Best Indie Book Award™ trophy to display at book signings, in their office or home.
  • Their winning book featured in advertising, email, social networks and other means.
  • Their book displayed on the front page of the Best Indie Book Award website, and listed on the permanent, archived “Winners” page of this site.
  • The winners will also be announced on this site and across multiple social networks. (Tens of thousands of followers total.)
  • Winners can proudly mention their award everywhere, including in their book blurb and bio.
BIBA Trophy
BIBA Trophy

How Do I Enter?

Complete the entry form and payment.

What is the Best Indie Book Award?

The Best Indie Book Award™ is an annual literary award contest recognizing independent authors in ten major genres. Entries are limited to independently (indie) published books, including those from small presses, e-book publishers, and self-published authors.

2018 Best Indie Book Award Winners

The Best Indie Book Award™ has been mentioned by many best-selling authors and on many author related websites and blogs. Previous winners include USA Today and New York Times best-selling authors, movie producers, actors, and independent authors from around the globe.

Books must be submitted in English, but submissions are not limited to authors in the United States. Previous winning entries have come from Japan, Israel, the United Kingdom and other countries.

* In rare cases, due to the high cost of shipping outside the United States, a physical award may not be shipped to a winner that lives outside the United States. We will, however, do all we can to ensure winners receive their trophy. In such instances, we will contact the winner to make arrangements for delivery. If no viable method of delivery is available, a certificate will be mailed in lieu of a trophy, and the winner will also receive the digital award emblem to use that all winners receive. To date; all of our winners have received the physical trophy.