The Top Two Things Award-Winning Books Have in Common

In today’s crowded book marketplace, winning a book award can help an indie author catch a reader’s attention and indicate to that reader that this book is worthy of their time. A book award can also convince booksellers and librarians that a title is worth adding to their collections. Book awards help indie authors stand out from the crowd. Awards can open doors and create opportunities for you and your book.

But with 70,000+ new books published every month, competition for top awards has never been fiercer. For most book competitions, authors can only apply once (typically in the year a book is published). So before you apply for any book awards in 2020, make sure your book is ready to take on the competition! Here’s a list of the top 2 things that can help your book compete successfully:

1.  Writing That Wows the Judges. The panels of judges for many of the top contests in the country might be asked to sort through thousands of books to find their winners. Kirkus, for example, reviews about 10,000 books a year and selects only a few dozen for top honors. Standing out in a competitive field like this requires your writing to be more than good—it must be stellar. To take a manuscript from good to great requires multiple rounds of professional editing by an editor who fully understands your genre or topic.

Two Coins by Sandra Wagner-Wright, which tells the story of the Great Scandal of British Calcutta in 1883, was selected by Kirkus as one of “The Best Indie Books of 2019” because the storytelling wowed the judges. The Kirkus reviewers wrote that author and historian Sandra Wagner-Wright “paints India’s culture and climate in stunning detail….The realistic, intricate characters take turns narrating the tale, panoramically revealing themselves through their perceptions.” Kirkus called Two Coins a “powerful story with a vivid setting, compelling plot, and multifaceted characters.” Bublish is honored to have been Sandra Wagner-Wright’s publishing partner for Two Coins, handling the editing, design and publication of this award-winning book.

2.  A Professional Cover That Stops Judges in Their Tracks. Imagine staring down a stack of hundreds of books…what’s the first thing you see in this pile? Book covers. Do not underestimate the power of a professionally designed cover in the award selection process. A well designed cover can catch a judge’s eye and a poorly designed cover can put your book in the “pass” pile in a matter of seconds. No reputable book award program is going to bestow their top honor on a book with an unprofessional cover. Why? Because that makes them look unprofessional, too. You might have the best fiction or nonfiction book in the world, but if you don’t have a professional, eye-catching cover, you’re putting your chance of winning a top award at risk.

Angels on Overtime by author and documentary filmmaker Ann Crawford won the Feathered Quill Book Award for Inspirational Fiction and the Reader’s Favorite Award for Inspirational Fiction in 2019. But the original book cover, redesigned by Bublish in 2018, did not clearly convey the award-winning story within its pages. Take a look at the before and after.



As the independent author community enters a new year and a new decade, professionalism will increasingly define the winners and losers not just in top book award competitions, but in book sales as well. The year 2020 is poised to become the year in which more books will be published than any other year in the history of book publishing! Is your book ready to take on the competition?

Bublish is pleased to announce the following 2019 literary and publishing awards for its authors:

Two Coins (Women of Determination and Courage Series) by Sandra Wagner-Wright — Kirkus Reviews’ “The Best Indie Books of 2019” and has been shortlisted for the 2019 Chanticleer International Book Awards (winners will be announced in the spring of 2020)

Dead Serious: Breaking The Cycle of Teen Suicide by Jane Mersky Leder — The Carl Sandburg Literary Guest Award

Einstein’s Compass A YA Time Traveler Adventure by Grace Blair and Laren Bright — American Book Fest, 2019 Best Book Award Winner, Young Adult Fiction, 2019 International Book Awards Finalist, Young Adult Fiction, Reader’s Favorite Honorable Mention, YA Science Fiction, 2019 Finalist National Indie Excellence Award, Young Adult Fiction, 2019 eLit Award-Winner in the Juvenile, YA Fiction

Glasses for Margie by Virginia K. White — Colorado Authors’ League Finalist 2019

The Stone of Wisdom (Book 4 of the Centaur Chronicles) by M. J. Evans — Feathered Quill Book Awards Silver Medal for Young Readers

Horse Gods: The Dressage Rider’s Betrayal by L. R. Trovillion — International Review of Books Gold Badge of Achievement, Reader’s Favorite 5-Star Review Badge 

Angels on Overtime by Ann Crawford — Feathered Quill Book Award for Inspirational Fiction, Reader’s Favorite Award for Inspirational Fiction

Fresh off the Starship by Ann Crawford — Reader’s Favorite Award for Visionary Fiction

Bart’s Escape Out the Gate by Lisa Reinicke — Colorado Authors League Finalist, CIPA Bronze 

Wilhelmina’s Wish by Lisa Reinicke — Mom’s Choice Gold, Purple Dragonfly Honorable Mention

Football Flyboy by Lisa Reinicke — IBPA’s Benjamin Franklin First Place Gold Award for audiobook, Colorado Authors League Gold, Reader’s Favorite Finalist

Counteract (Book One of the Resistance Series) by Tracy Lawson — 2019 New Apple Summer eBook Awards for Excellence in Independent Publishing, Solo Medalist, YA Mystery/Thriller

Revolt (Book Four of the Resistance Series) by Tracy Lawson — Wishing Shelf Independent Book Awards Finalist

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