IndieReader Discovery Awards – Why you SHOULD enter!

IndieReader Discovery Awards – Why you SHOULD enter!


This is the third year running for the IndieReader Discovery Awards, which is devoted specifically to self-published authors (though small-press authors can also enter). Some authors have complained about the hefty price tag for entering ($150), which on face value, that entry fee does look steep compared to other competitions that range between $50 and $100 tops.

But one thing you’re missing is that every book submitted is guaranteed a book review. No other book awards competition that I’ve found offers anything like that. And when you look around at prices for book reviews, $150 is more than fair. So really you’re getting a bonus entry into their awards just for buying a review (you must receive 4 stars or better to qualify for their award competition)! That’s how I looked at it when I submitted Amidst Traffic to the Discovery Awards, which scored a 4-star review.

Still waiting to hear the results… Fingers crossed!

Plus, if you score 4 stars or better, you get a cool IndieReader Stamp of Approval logo to put on your book. I just wish that their awards medal logo looked as cool. Unfortunatley, it’s a tad on the cheesy side.

Another reason I like to promote this award competition is that, unlike many other award competitions or book review companies, this website is TRULY devoted to indies. They’re not in it just because there’s an established market to make money from self-published authors.

Additionally, the IndieReader staff is phenomenal. Every time I send them a question, they were really quick to respond and very generous in providing general support and encouragement. They get mad points from me for their PR & image.

If didn’t enter your book for the 2013 awards, definitely consider them for every year moving forward! And if there’s still time left before the deadline, you should enter now!

You can enter and get more details on the IndieReader Discovery Awards by clicking here!

Also, for a larger list of award competitions that allow self-published authors to enter, check out this great list compiled by The Book Designer.

What about you?

Do you know of any other award competition worth entering? Provide your links below!

About Michel Sauret

I'm a independent and literary fiction author and Pittsburgh-based photographer


  1. I was going to post this as a reply to your item on Kirkus Reviews but then I found this post. (It starts a little off topic)

    My take away from paid reviews (Self Publishing Review and IndieReader) is that they are an ‘all care, no responsibility’ product, like the self pub services industry in general. There’s very little the likes of us can do if we feel short changed.

    SPR charged $75 for a review. They set a month as their turn around time, but it was about seven weeks before they posted me the review for approval. It turned out to be a very good review. It then took them a whole month to actually get round to posting that review on their website. (Copy … Paste) Another month later, and I’m still waiting for it to be cross posted to Amazon as they promised. (Copy … Paste) The review generated absolutely no publicity for the book. No sales, not even a token ‘to read’ on Goodreads.

    IndieReader charge $100 for the stand alone review and $150 if submitted as part of their Discovery Awards. The main reason I entered IRDA was not the thought of winning but the promise that my book would be read by a panel of reasonably influential people, something they go to great lengths to remind entrants.

    I was disappointed by the lack of transparency, albeit stated upfront. I have no idea who read my book other than the promise that “Every one of our judges have agreed to read and judge submitted books.” I have to admit, it sounds a little too good to be true. There would have to have been *some* vetting going on or else ‘read’ means ‘read the first five pages and move on to the next one’. But then again, what can we say, do or ask?

    As for the review section of the IRDA …

    Shortly after I submitted my book to the IRDA in early March, it was read by someone on the fringes of the IR review team – she rated it on her Goodreads profile. Looking over that person’s reading preferences on Goodreads, I could not have pictured anyone less suited to my book than her. Her tastes are: non-Fiction, memoir, Historical Fiction, Chick-Lit, Women’s literature and some Literary Fiction. Compare that to mine, Literary Fiction with this line in its description: “Contains references to pornography, sexual violence, prostitution, schizophrenia and male-to-female gender dysphoria/autogynephilia.” While my book is Lit Fic and she reads some Lit Fic too, we all know that there is not one kind of Lit Fic. I doubt the audience for American Psycho, The Color Purple, Fight Club and The Joy Luck Club are the same. A review of a book by someone so far outside of the book’s target audience is a total waste of time for all concerned. Any book reviewed like this will be misrepresented.

    When you are paying $150 for something, you do expect the person you pay to perform some level of due diligence. Presumably IndieReader were just flooded with submissions due to the Discovery Awards and had to farm my book out to whoever they could find. I can’t say for certain that this person will be my eventual reviewer, but I can’t imagine why she would have read it otherwise. I’ve also been waiting four months for this review – twice the stated turnaround time.

    I really want to like IndieReader, I totally agree with what you say about the availability of the IR staff. Amy always responds to emails, which is very much the exception rather than the norm in this business. But this whole process has just made me think that they are scarcely any different to every other website out there, letting the optimism of aspiring authors help pay their bills.

  2. Man I’m sorry to hear about your recent bad experience with this! Hopefully you can get in touch with Amy and she can help take care of it.

    They’ve been marketing their paid reviews a lot lately and maybe they got an unexpected and overwhelming number of requests all at the same time?

    Not sure…

  3. That’s essentially my theory too. When the deadline loomed they would have had more work than they had the year before, so corners were cut. I submitted my book within ten days of the IRDA deadline and it was given to someone outside of their usual review team. It was then slapped with a consolation three star rating by that person and removed from the IRDA because the IRDA and the IR review system are directly connected. It’s not hard to piece that one together.

    From the IRDA FAQ:


    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.”

    Note that ‘judge’ and ‘reviewer’ are interchangeable terms.

    Amy has also stated that for a book to win a category it has to have had a 4 star review (IR Approved). I can’t imagine the process happening backwards, whereby a judge’s decision is overturned in favour of a reviewer’s opinion. Therefore, if the IR reviewer doesn’t really like your book, it does not go anywhere near the much touted panel of judges. If you get a poorly matched reviewer, then too bad, it’s the book’s fault. You aren’t getting a free review with your IRDA submission, you’re buying a $150 review with a bonus IRDA submission should it rate four stars or above.

    So anyone else out there that received a mediocre review as part of your IRDA submission, your book probably never got to the IRDA.

    Fair enough that a competition/award has some vetting going on, they all do and they all have to. But it all starts at the beginning with some simple due diligence and consistency of customer treatment, not to mention some reassuring transparency.

    I don’t know what Amy would do to ‘take care of it’. Like I said earlier, it’s ‘all care, no responsibility’. It’s not the end of the world for anyone involved, so the path of least resistance will be the one followed.

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