Discovery Awards


We believe that the best way to help an indie author make their book a success is to get them access to people who can make a difference.  That means PR professionals, journalists and media people, publishers, agents (because many indie authors still want to be traditionally pubbed), and book reviewers—all of whom are included on our panel of judges (you can find the full list by clicking “The Judges” link on the top of the previous page).  Because while all the gold foil stars, cash prizes, trophies and awards ceremonies might be fun, the reality is that, in the end, they’ll do little to make your book a success.


  • The “IndieReader Discovery Awards” are open to indie authors who have self-published books*
  • Books have to have a valid ISBN or ASIN number
  • There are no restrictions on pub dates
  • Both eBooks and paper books can be submitted

* Sorry…if your book was originally traditionally published it is not eligible for entry

What’s the timing?

  • Entries for sixth annual (2017) IRDAs are being accepted from Thursday, June 16th, 2016 through Tuesday, February 28th 2017.
  • Payment must be received by Tuesday, February 28th 2017 (you have another week to get the paper books to us).
  • Payment received after that date will be entered in next year’s Awards program.
  • Should the author choose not to enter for the following year, their submissions will not be returned, nor credited for the cost of entering.
  • Winners for the 2017 IRDAs will be announced at the Book Expo America (BEA) in NYC (5/31/2017 to 6/2/17).  Exact date TBD.

How much does it cost?

The IRDA entry fee is $150 per title which includes the first category.  There is a $50 fee for each additional category entered. You will also need to submit three copies of each title for the first category entered and one each additional category thereafter. This only applies to those who have gifted a book via Amazon or another service. If you upload a sharable ebook file through our enrollment form (after purchase), such as mobi or epub, you need only upload one copy.

Books will not be returned.

NOTE: As of September 1st, 2014, a book review will no longer be included as part of the IRDA sign-up. If you wish to have your title evaluated, you will have to purchase a review. There will be a 10% discount should you sign up for the IRDA and a review at the same time.

How do I enter?

  • The IRDAs have two main categories (fiction and non-fiction) and 40 + sub categories.
  • You can enter your book in more than one category, but an additional $50 fee is charged for each category entered.
  • When entering, please submit three copies of your book NO MATTER HOW MANY CATEGORIES YOU ENTER. This only applies to those who have gifted a book via Amazon or another service. If you upload a sharable ebook file through our enrollment form (after purchase), such as mobi or epub, you need only upload one copy.
  • At the end of the online entry process you’ll be instructed to print out an online registration receipt to send in along with your book(s).
  • Please include completed entry form and check/credit card info, or online registration receipt in the same package as your book(s).
  • Go to the signup page to get started

How will the winners be selected?

Judging for the IRDAs will be based—first and foremost—on the quality of writing and the originality of the story.  While editing, production quality and cover and interior design will also be considered, the goal of the IRDAs is to find talented writers and great books.

Will all those impressive judges actually be reading submitted books?

Every one of our judges have agreed to read–and judge–submitted books.  Why?  For the simple reason that they’re interested in finding talented writers who might otherwise be overlooked.

What if I write, for example, Science Fiction, but the judge doesn’t like that genre?

Have no fear.  We’re pairing types of books with reviewers who prefer that genre, so there won’t be someone reading science fiction (or chick-lit or memoir) who doesn’t like that particular genre.

How many winners will there be?

  • There will be a first, second and third prize winner in both the fiction and non-fiction categories.
  • There is the potential for there to be one winner in each of the 50 + sub categories, but only if the book receives a 4-5 star rating. If a book receives this designation, it will go on to a second reader to be rated.

What do the winners get?

The main thing that IRDA winners get is exposure to a panel of judges who can make a difference in their book’s success, in addition to exposure in major media outlets, which in the past have included The Huffington Post and The Wall Street Journal, trade publications including Shelf Awareness and GalleyCat/MediaBistro.

In other words: what you win is priceless.

In addition, there’s also:

  • A Kindle Paperwhite 3G

The winners from each sub-category (in addition to the top winners), will also receive the following:

  • A professional book review from IndieReader
  • Exposure to a panel of judges who can make a difference in your book’s success
  • An IndieReader “All About the Book” feature
  • A sticker pronouncing your book an “IndieReader Discovery Awards” winner
  • An IRDA Winner designation in IndieReader’s new app

The first place winner in the Fiction and Non-Fiction categories will also get the following:

  • A review from Kirkus Reviews, a powerful resource for millions of readers, writers, librarians, media executives and the publishing industry.

Can you guarantee any type of publishing deal if I win?

No, there is no guaranteed publishing deal. But publishers—along with very credible agents, publicists and reviewers—will be reading your work.  In fact, the whole reason the judges are participating is to try and find talented writers who might otherwise be overlooked. They are very busy people. Otherwise why would they bother?

How can I sign up?

You can sign up by going to the sign up page and following the instructions. You may pay with Paypal or credit card.

Will I receive confirmation that my book(s) have been received.

Yes, we will email you upon receipt of your book(s).

Will I be notified if I don’t win?

Sorry.  You will not.

What if I win? When would I be notified?

Winners and finalists of the 2017 IRDAs will be announced late May of 2017.  Exact date TBD.

Will I be notified if don’t win, or even place as a finalist?

No. Only Winners and Finalists will be notified, however, a complete list of Winners and Finalists will be posted to the IndieReader site following the announcement in late May/early June.

IMPORTANT: What do you need to enter me in the awards?

It is the author’s responsibility to make sure IndieReader has been sent the required number of books (3 copies) to be judged. These can be paper copies, ebooks or PDFs.

If additional books are needed, they must be received before the cutoff, or your book will be disqualified. No refunds will be given for disqualified books.

How Will My Book be Used by IndieReader?

Following a thorough reading of your book by an IndieReader reviewer, it will be given a rating and verdict and added to the running list of titles vying for the Discovery Award’s top prize on the IndieReader magazine website ( 

Should you wish to use your verdict in a promotional manner, we ask that you credit IndieReader as the source.  If you want to purchase your review in its entirety, we’d be happy to offer it to you at a 10% discount.

To purchase your full review, please contact