The U.S. Selfies book awards for self-published authors have expanded the 2021 categories for submission to include children’s books, as well as adult fiction. Publishers Weekly, the international news platform, and BookBrunch, the daily online news service for the U.K., today announced the new categories along with key dates for the second year of the wildly popular awards.
With the expansion, there will be two winners in 2021: one winner in the children’s book category, which includes all age groups and formats, from picture books to middle grade to YA; and one winner in adult fiction. The awards each carry a cash prize of $1,000 and a $5,000 advertising package from Publishers Weekly and selected sponsors. Books must have been published during the calendar year 2020 and demonstrate solid sales via sustained marketing and publicity efforts.
The 2021 awards submission period opens on January 1, 2021 and closes on the night of March 1, 2021. Two juried shortlists, one for each category, will be announced during the week of May 24, 2021. The U.S. Selfies awards will be presented at the American Library Association annual conference on June 26, 2021, in Chicago.
“BookBrunch are thrilled to work with Publishers Weekly and BookLife again on an expanded U.S. Selfies book awards to include children’s books as well as adult fiction, as we seek to discover the best self-published books in the country,” said Jo Henry, managing director of BookBrunch, which administers the Selfies in the U.K, where the children’s book category was added in 2019.
With the mission to discover new talent and reward the best self-published titles each year, BookBrunch launched the Selfies Awards to great acclaim in the U.K. in 2018. In 2020, BookBrunch teamed up with Publishers Weekly and its self-publishing arm, BookLife, to launch the awards initiative in the U.S. With a great deal of enthusiasm, sponsors jumped on board, including IngramSpark, the e-book and print-on-demand publishing services company, and Combined Book Exhibit, which showcases published works at trade shows and expos around the world.
Cevin Bryerman, executive v-p and publisher of Publishers Weekly, said, “The launch of the U.S. Selfies was an overwhelming success, supporting self-published authors and helping their books gain even more traction in the library and general book market.”
Tim Westover took top prize in 2020 for The Winter Sisters, a novel of science and superstition that takes place in antebellum small-town Georgia. Westover donated the entire proceeds of his book sales, more than $50,000, to the Atlanta Children’s Hospital. He was presented the award at the American Library Association in an online ceremony on June 24, 2020. He received national publicity in the Washington Post and other media and was invited to attend the Sharjah Book Fair in November in the United Arab Emirates.
“The U.S. Selfies provide real inspiration and encouragement for indie authors whose work merits wider recognition by librarians, booksellers and book lovers,” said Carl Pritzkat, v-p, general manager, Publishers Weekly and president of BookLife.
Eligible titles in the adult fiction and children’s books categories must have been published in the United States during the calendar year 2020 by authors and/or illustrators who live in the U.S.; authors and illustrators need not be U.S. citizens. Entries cost $50 each and will only be accepted from authors and/or illustrators who are predominantly or solely self-published, defined as authors and/or illustrators who act as publishers and/or creative directors. The deadline for submission is March 1, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. EST.
What the judges will be looking for:
Stories that entertain and delight readers
- High production values in e-book or print format
- Enticing covers and blurbs that successfully nab the target audience’s attention
- Effective and creative marketing and publicity strategies with the potential for significant sales
Each author or illustrator who submits a book will receive a free subscription to the BookLife Report, a weekly newsletter for indie and self-published authors. Shortlisted authors and illustrators will receive free entrance to the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago in June 2021. The winning authors, in addition to receiving $1,000 cash, receives a $5,000 package of advertising in Publishers Weekly’s print magazine and online. Co-authors or author-illustrator teams will share the prize.