How important are awards? Well, it’s a thrill to receive one, no matter where it comes from. Be aware, though, that there are awards and there are awards. In some cases, they’re little more than scams that take your money (in the form of entry fees) and offer the chance of an essentially worthless acknowledgement. In other cases, they’re a prestigious recognition of a job well done.

Either way, if you win an award, including that information on your website, in your press materials and — if there’s time — on your book’s cover, can increase your credibility and influence both booksellers and readers to buy your book. (Everything else being equal, would you rather buy a book that’s an award-winner, or one that isn’t?)

Most contests are limited to books published within a specific time period, so do your research ahead of time to be sure you don’t miss out on important opportunities.

Some of the major awards for self-published authors are:

Joel Friedlander, over at The Book Designer, offers a list of awards for self-published authors. And here’s a whole website called Writer Beware, dedicated to exposing publishing scams.

Next: Plan your big launch event.