finalistWritten by Melissa Craven

Not all Young Adult books are the same. It’s a vast genre with sub-genres ranging from Contemporary YA to Dystopian, Urban Fantasy and Paranormal. When I first ventured into the world of writing competitions, I automatically entered my Urban Fantasy in the Young Adult categories. It seemed like a no brainer to me since I’m a YA author. My first competition was with the International Book Awards and I placed as a finalist in the YA category. I was thrilled and couldn’t wait for the next one.

Nada… for the next three competitions—which I entered exclusively in the Young Adult categories. When I placed in the International Book Awards, I was given a free entry into a second category (as a thank you for creating a Listopia list of all the fiction IBA winners) in the finalist 1USA Best Book Awards. So I chose the Fantasy genre in addition to the general YA category I’d already entered. When announcements were made, I was surprised to place in the Fantasy category but not in the Young Adult genre.

Then things started to click for me. I was entering the wrong categories. The Young Adult genre is an enormous field of competition and it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle of thousands of entries. So rather than enter every competition I could find, I started researching competitions more carefully, choosing those with the widest range of categories and YA friendly sub-genres. These are my top ten competitions for Young Adult authors. Look for the best fit for your book, and remember, it might not be general YA. (And some of these offer cash prizes too!)


1.) The Dante Rossetti Awards by Chanticleer Book Reviews – This is my top pick as a competition exclusively for Young Adult authors. Here you will find YA categories for: Contemporary, Fantasy, Steampunk, Sci-Fi, Romance, Historical, Inspirational, Dystopian, Edgy, Urban, Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Lighthearted-Humorous, New Adult and Tweens. The 2015 awards will be announced soon and I have my fingers and toes crossed for this one. This is also the lowest entry fee of any competition I’ve found.

2.) Readers’ Favorite didn’t work out for me this year, but they do offer a huge selection of YA and other YA friendly sub-genres. I plan to enter again next year, and I will be much more careful about which genres I select this time around.

3.) Global ebook awards has quite a diverse selection of genres and sub-genres, and the award seal is beautiful. I plan to check this one out for next year.

4.) USA Best Book Awards has a great selection of categories and an affordable entry fee. I do wish the award seal was a bit more jazzy, but as a very happy finalist, I won’t complain!

5.) International Book Awards is associated with the USA Best Book Awards with similar categories and affordable entry fees. Both USA BBA and IBA offer a competition category for Cross Genre books, which is not widely offered and very difficult to find.

6.) National Indie Excellence awards is on my radar for next year, with over 150 categories to choose from and a lovely medal for winners (I’m seduced by the bling).

7.) Indie Book Awards – Lots of bling here with medals and trophies for winners in over 70 genre categories.

8.) IPPY Awards Independent Publisher Book Awards is probably the most prestigious award for indie authors. The genre category is not as diverse, but if you win, it’s a big deal.

9.) IBPA Ben Franklin Awards is also a more prestigious award, but the entry fee is pretty pricey if you are not already a member of Independent Book Publishers Association. The genre categories are YA friendly, but I like this competition for the addition of categories like: Best Cover design, Best Interior Design and Best First Book to name a few.

10.) Reader Views Literary Awards, like the Ben Franklin Awards, has a diverse selection of YA friendly genres, with the addition of categories like: Best Teen Book of the Year and Best Book by an Author Under Eighteen.