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A Short Guide to Christian Book Awards


How can you get industry recognition for your Christian book? What about seeing out Christian book awards?

A wide range of awards are available to authors of Christian literature, as diverse as those available in the wider literary world. The first step, if you hope to win christian book awards, is to understand the options available and to figure which best suits your work. This will depend in part on your book’s genre and subject, and on whether you work with a traditional publisher, work with a small press, or self-publish. Next, find out exactly what you need to do to qualify.

Top Christian Book Awards

ECPA Award

One of the most sought-after awards for Christian literature is the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA) Award. Nominations can only be made by ECPA member publishers, designed to acknowledge the top tier of Christian authors. It is one of the oldest and most prestigious awards within the Christian publishing community. Finalists and winners are selected in the following eleven categories: Bibles, Bible Reference Works, Bible Study, Ministry Resources, Biography and Memoir, Christian Living, Faith and Culture, Devotion and Gift, Children (Up to age 8), Young People’s Literature, and New Author. Additionally, one Christian Book of the Year is selected from Christian Book Award finalists, celebrating the highest level of merit and impact on the Christian literature community. These awards are open to ECPA members only.

Christy Award

The Christy Award, established in 1999, is presented each year to promote Christian fiction, with a mission “to acknowledge the value and impact of the novel of faith in contemporary culture.” Categories include General/Contemporary, Historical, Romance, Suspense/Mystery, Visionary, and First Novel. The deadline for submission is in December for works published during each calendar year. It is named after Catherine Marshall’s 1967 novel, Christy.

Christian Indie Awards

Sponsored by the Christian Small Publishers Association, this award seeks to promote small presses and independent authors in the Christian literature community. This is a great choice for self-publishing authors, or those working with a smaller publisher. You can nominate yourself, and Christian retailers and readers vote to determine the winner of this award. The award is given in 14 categories: General Fiction, Historical Fiction, Romance, Bible Study/Theology, Biography/Memoir, Christian Education, Christian Living, Devotional, Relationships/Family, Children 4 through 8, Children 8 through 12, Gift Books (such as coffee table books), Young Adult, and one category specifically for eBooks.

Christian Retailing’s Best Awards

This award promotes the best in the Christian retail world, in 60 categories, which also includes toys, games, and music, as well 32 categories for books. There is a 60-dollar nomination fee, with a discount available for early submissions. Winners are determined with a vote from retailers and others who work in the Christian products industry, such as authors, publishers, volunteers, and literary agents. According to their website, products are judged on their ability to “speak to people's hearts and evoke emotion”, “open people's minds to new ways of thinking”, and “encourage and affirm Christlike living.”

CPA Awards

The Catholic Press Award annually honors Catholic books in 23 categories such as Best Book by a Small Publisher, First Time Author, Children’s, Spirituality, and Spanish-Language Book. Publishers and Freelance Members of the Catholic Press Association are eligible to enter the awards, and are entitled to one free entry, after which submissions are 36 dollars each.

Carol Awards

The Carol awards are run by the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), for 11 categories of Christion works of fiction, such as Short Novel, Romance, Historical, Speculative, and Young Adult. Awards are given to both traditionally published works, as well as independently published books that are ACFW qualified – which authors can apply for. Detailed instructions are given on the Carol Awards website.

Christianity Today Book Awards

Each year, Christianity Today magazine honors books of interest to the Christian community. Their 2018 winners will be featured in their January/February issue of that year, which will include books published between November 1, 2016 and October 31, 2017.

Special awards are given to the winner of their Beautiful Orthodoxy Book of the Year, focusing on the magazine’s central philosophy, and in a special CT Women’s category. Winners in these special categories must first be nominated in one of the main categories, and must pay an add-on fee of 15 dollars to the initial 30-dollar fee for a main category.

Primary categories include Apologetics/Evangelism, Biblical Studies, Children & Youth, Christian Living/Discipleship, the Church/Pastoral Leadership, Culture and the Arts, Fiction, History/Biography, Missions/The Global Church, Politics and Public Life, Spiritual Formation, and Theology/Ethics. According to their website, “a diverse panel of scholars, pastors, and other informed readers will evaluate the books.”

Instructions for submissions are available on their website.

Christian book awards offer a great way to promote your book within the growing Christian literature community. This is a great way to reach readers that are right for your book, and each organization already has followers who will be interested in reading award-winning books. With high quality writing, the only challenge is finding, and applying for, the right award for your work.

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