The Discovery Awards FAQ

Discovery Awards FAQs

No, you can not. We can’t stress enough that you should wait until you’ve finalized your book prior to submitting it for any IndieReader service. However, if you want to sign-up for a service to take advantage of a special offer and submit your book when it’s ready, just let us know.

As the saying goes, you can only make one first impression. Make it your best. We’ll be here when you’re ready.

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.

The top winners of the IndieReader Discovery Awards will be sent to Dystel, Goderich and Bourret Literary Management to be considered for representation. Why is that such a big deal? A literary agent may get 5,000 query letters a year. Only a fraction of these will lead to the agent requesting the manuscript.

In addition, judges for the IRDAs include PR professionals, journalists and media people, publishers, and book reviewers (you can find the full list by clicking “The Judges” link on the top of the previous page).

Because while all the 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 books that are self, hybrid and small press published
  • Books have to have a valid ISBN or ASIN number
  • There are no restrictions on publication dates
  • eBooks (PDF, epub or mobi files) and paper books can be submitted
  • Entries for 13th  annual (2024) IRDAs are being accepted from Wednesday, March 1, 2023 through Wednesday, February 14th, 2024.
  • Payment must be received by Wednesday, February 21st, 2024 but you have another week to get paper books to us.
  • Payment received after 2/21/24 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 will be announced on Thursday, May 30th, 2024.

The IRDA entry fee is $150 per title which includes the main (fiction or non-fiction) category. There is a $50 fee for each additional category entered.

Every submitted book will receive a verdict from our Professional Reviewers.

Following a thorough reading of your book by an IndieReader reviewer, it will be given a verdict (note: a positive verdict is not guaranteed but a negative one won’t be posted without permission from the author)  and added to the running list of titles vying for the Discovery Award’s top prize on the IndieReader 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.

This verdict (should it be positive) is great to add credibility to your book as promotional copy or a blurb.

To purchase your full review, please contact

  • The IRDAs have two main categories (fiction and non-fiction) and over 55 specific genres.
  • 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 in the same package as your book(s).
  • Go to the signup page to get started

It is the author’s responsibility to make sure IndieReader has been sent the required number of books to be judged.

If they are in paper format (hard or soft) we need three (3) copies.

PLEASE NOTE that because many of our reviewers are based outside the US we prefer efiles (PDF, mobi or epubs).

If you send your book as an Amazon gift we also require three (3) copies. If they are ebooks or PDFs (ie shareable files) we only need one (1) copy.  

NOTE: The number of copies required are the same no matter how many categories you enter. 

Books will not be returned.

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.

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.

Every one of our judges has 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.

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.

  • 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 over 50  sub categories (genres), but only if the book receives a 4-5 star rating. In other words, even if your book is the only one competing in a category, if it doesn’t rate 4 stars + it won’t win.

Prizes range from representation consideration by top New York-based agents Dystel, Goderich and Bourret Literary Management and exposure in major media outlets (because what means more to authors than discoverability?)

Also of importance to the IRDA winners 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.

For the Top 2 winners (1st place in Fiction & Non-Fiction):

  • $500 cash prize
  • A one hour, tailored consultation session with a publicist from Smith Publicity (VALUE: $499 per session)
  • A custom author website and one year of hosting and management from Featherlight (VALUE: $1,347 per year)
  • A one year membership to Jerry Jenkin’s private coaching community The Writers Guild (VALUE: $450)
  • A Reedsy credit towards any service (VALUE: $100 each)

For the Top 6 winners (3 Fiction & 3 Non-Fiction):

  • $250 cash prize (for the 2nd and 3rd place books in fiction and nonfiction)
  • A professional IndieReader review (VALUE: $250-$275/per)
  • First look consideration with an eye to representation from Dystel, Goderich and Bourret Literary Management (as the folks at MasterCard, and most authors—indie or otherwise—would say, VALUE: “Priceless”)

The winners from each sub-category (anywhere from an add’l 40 to 50 winners, in addition to the top 6 winners), will also receive the following:

  • Exposure to a panel of judges who can make a difference in your book’s success
  • An IndieReader “All About the Book” feature
  • Three stickers pronouncing your book an “IndieReader Discovery Awards” winner

The winners for “Best First Book” (for Fiction & Non-Fiction) will receive:

  • $150 in cold hard cash (or a check)
  • Three stickers pronouncing your book an “IndieReader Discovery Awards for Best First Book” winner

The winners for “Best Cover Design” (for Fiction & Non-Fiction) will receive:

  • $150 in cold hard cash (or a check)
  • Three stickers pronouncing your book an “IndieReader Discovery Awards for Best Cover Design” winner

Additionally, ALL entrants receive a verdict/blurb which they are free to post on the Amazon, GoodReads, websites.

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?

Yes, if you mail paper books you will be notified via email upon receipt.

Winners will be notified via email approximately two weeks before the Award’s announcement on May 31st, 2024.

No. Only winners will be notified and a complete list will be posted to the IndieReader site following the announcement in late May.