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February 1, 2020

Who Can Enter the BookLife Prize?

The BookLife Prize seeks to find great books by independent authors. As such, any and all authors can submit self-published and/or unpublished books.


Yes to both! You may submit your book regardless of whether it has been published or not. There is no publication date requirement for the BookLife Prize.

What Books Are Eligible for the BookLife Prize?

Unpublished or self-published novels–works for which the author has subvented the cost of the book’s publication–are eligible for the BookLife Prize. All submissions must correspond with one of categories in either the Fiction or Nonfiction Contest. The categories in the Fiction Contest are: Romance/Erotica; Mystery/Thriller; Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror; General Fiction; and Middle-Grade & YA Fiction. The categories in the Nonfiction Contest are: Memoir/Autobiography; Self-Help; Inspirational/Spiritual; and Business/Personal Finance.

How Do I Enter My Book For The BookLife Prize?

The 2019 BookLife Prize Fiction and Nonfiction Contests are now closed. (The next Fiction Contest opens April 1, 2020.) BookLife members enter the BookLife Prize by logging in and going to project page for the book or manuscript they'd like to enter.  Here are detailed instructions. New users who have no BookLife account enter on this page.

What is Middle Grade Fiction?

Middle Grade Fiction is aimed at readers ages 8-12; YA Fiction is aimed at readers ages 12-18. As of 2018 The BookLife Prize judges both in the same category.

What does "works for which the author has subvented the cost of the book’s publication" mean?

This means that the author has paid for more than half of the cost of producing, editing, and manufacturing his/her book. For the BL Prize, marketing and PR costs do not apply to the subvention of the cost of a book's publication. 

What About A Book Originally Published With A Traditional Publisher Which Has Been Rewritten?

A book which still contains a substantial amount of content which appeared in a version of the book originally published by someone who underwrote the cost of producing, editing and manufacturing the book does not qualify for the BookLife Prize.  If an entry is found to have a substantial amount of content which appeared in a previous version that was underwritten by a third party, then the book will be disqualified. 

What Are the Prizes?

A grand prize winner in both the Fiction and Nonfiction Contests of the BookLife Prize will receive a writing stipend of $5,000, as well as an author profile in Publishers Weekly.
Semifinalists in both Contests receive a blurb for their book from a bestselling or award-winning author/guest judge, as well as mention in Publishers Weekly.

All entrants will receive a brief critical assessment of their novel written by a Publishers Weekly reviewer.

Who Judges the BookLife Prize?

The first round of the BookLife Prize is judged by Publishers Weekly’s reviewers; the quarter-finals by the editorial staff of Publishers Weekly and BookLife; the semi-finals by a guest judge–professional book editors and bestselling/award-winning authors–in each of the seven categories; the finals by the full panel of guest judges.

How Do I Make My Critic's Report Public?

All Critic's Reports are private unless an author sets the Report to "public," which can be done on the Project page of the book that is the subject of the Critic's Report. Unless a Critic's Report is set to "public," it will not show up on the BookLife Prize rankings pages.

Can I Use My Critic’s Report for Marketing My Book?

Yes! While the Critic’s Report in no way constitutes a book review from Publishers Weekly, authors are welcome to use the text of their Critic’s Reports as promotional copy or as blurbs to promote their books. Please note: When attributing quotes from Critic’s Reports, authors must credit the BookLife Prize.  (Click here to see an example Critic's Report.)

If I Lost the Email with My Critic's Report, How Can I Get a New Copy?

A permanent copy of every Critic's Report is on the Project page of the book that is the subject of the Critic's Report.  (If the Critic's Report is set to "private," then only the author can see this permanent copy.)

Can I Enter the Same Book Year After Year?

As long as a previously submitted book did not advance to the semi-final round, it can be resubmitted in subsequent years. However, be aware that because the reviewer providing the Critic's Report will be different from year to year, the Critic's Report and score can be very different.

Can I Enter a Collection of Short Stories or Novella or Novelette?

No. Currently, the BookLife Prize is only open to full-length books. 

Can I Enter a Work of Nonfiction?

Yes.  Beginning with the 2019 BookLife Prize, there is a Nonfiction Contest for books in the following categories: Memoir/Autobiography; Self-Help; Inspirational/Spiritual; and Business/Personal Finance. The Nonfiction Contest entry period is currently closed.

Can I submit an audiobook to the BL Prize?

No. Currently we do not offer a BookLife Prize for Audiobooks.

Can I submit my book to the BL Prize if I have already submitted it for free review consideration from PW?

Yes. The BL Prize is a separate entity and in no way related to PW's review coverage.

Can I Track My Submission?

Yes! You can track your submission through the BookLife Project dashboard. You will also receive an email when the Critic’s Report for your submission is ready. Additionally, all submissions can be tracked through the BookLife Prize home page.

May I Enter My Book in More Than One Category?

No.  Each submission can only be entered into one of the following categories: Romance/Erotica; Mystery/Thriller; Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror; General Fiction; YA/Middle Grade Fiction; Memoir/Autobiography; Self-Help; Inspirational/Spiritual; and Business/Personal Finance. (For the BookLife Nonfiction Prize, YA does not have a separate group and should be submitted to its appropriate nonfiction category.)

May I Enter More Than One Submission?

Yes! Authors can enter as many books as they like to the BookLife Prize.

May I Submit Multiple Books in a Series?

Sure! But if you want them all to be judged by same reviewer, please contact as soon as you’ve submitted so we can set that up for you.

When do I submit my entire book or manuscript?

The entry periods for the 2019 BookLife Prize Fiction and Nonfiction Contests are now closed. Check out the BookLife Prize main page for the latest news on finalists and awards.

Where Can I See Results from Previous Years' BookLife Prizes?

To see all of the public entries, including the grand prize winner, finalists, semi- and quarter-finalists, click here.


Click here to see more information about the BookLife Prize.