National Book Awards Entry Rules & Guidelines


> Eligibility
> Submission Process
> Prizes
> Additional Conditions
> Frequently Asked Questions


All books must be published by U.S. publishers located in the United States between 
December 1, 2017 and November 30, 2018.

For the Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, and Young People’s Literature Awards, authors must be U.S. citizens, or if authors are non-U.S. citizens or have particularly complex immigration issues, there is now a petition process. In the case of authors for whom this would apply, publishers must contact us directly and answer the following questions: 

  1. Has the author lived in the United States for 10 or more years as of November 30 of the Awards year?

  2. Was the author's book initially edited and published by a U.S.-based publisher? 

  3. Does the author consider themselves: an American immigrant who is currently and actively engaged in pursuing citizenship, OR legally unable to pursue traditional pathways to citizenship at this time? 

Please note that the Foundation will keep all information confidential. 

For the Translated Literature Award, neither author nor translator are required to be U.S. citizens.

The following are eligible:

The following are NOT eligible:

In the event of a dispute as to eligibility, the Foundation will decide whether a book is eligible, and its decision will be binding.




All publishers submitting books for the National Book Awards must agree to:

Additional Note: The Miami Book Fair International is an official partner of the National Book Foundation. The Fair will invite all Longlisted authors to participate in the Fair from Friday, November 16 to Sunday, November 18, 2018, with all travel and accommodations underwritten by Miami Book Fair International.

Email questions about your submissions to Awards Coordinator Anna Dobben at, or call the Foundation offices at 212-685-0261. Technical questions should be emailed to Meredith Andrews at

Frequently Asked Questions

Is my self-published book eligible?
Self-published books are not eligible if published via a publishing service, such as CreateSpace. However, if a self-publisher publishes more than one author and is not published through a publishing service, the title would be eligible. The National Book Foundation may request a catalog of titles from a self-publisher to verify eligibility.

Can books be sent to judges via UPS or FedEx?
With the exception of international shipments, judges cannot be made available to sign for packages. Books must be sent via US Postal Service First Class Mail, Priority Mail or Media Mail. For tracking information, please use USPS Priority Mail--this is very helpful!

I missed the entry form deadline but would like to enter a book. Is this possible?
Unfortunately, no entries can be submitted once the entry form deadline has passed. Additionally, books submitted via the entry form by Wednesday, May 16, 2018(midnight, PST) must be mailed to judges and the National Book Foundation by Friday, June 29, 2018. If a book arrives after this date, the book is considered only at the judges’ discretion.

What should I do if galley copies of an entered title won’t be available before June 29, 2018?
In the case where a galley copy or a title won’t be available until after June 29, 2018, please send a bound manuscript to judges and the National Book Foundation before the June 29, 2018 deadline. Finished copies may be sent to judges and the National Book Foundation when they become available.

What if my book could be considered in more than one category?
Books may only be submitted in one category. Please choose the category most appropriate when entering the book for submission.

How do I find the judges’ addresses to mail the books to?
Once the entry form and payment for a title have been submitted, a confirmation e-mail, including shipping addresses for judges, will be sent to you. If you do not receive this confirmation e-mail, please check your spam filter. Questions may be directed to

Is it possible to send judges e-books in lieu of printed copies of an entered title?
Unfortunately, no. Entered titles must be sent as a finished copy, galley copy or bound manuscript to the judges and the National Book Foundation.

Do I need to include a cover letter with books that are mailed to judges?
Please include a list of submitted books in each shipment. Additionally, boxes must be clearly marked “National Book Awards.” Judges also receive a list of entered books that are being sent to them.

Are graphic novels, graphic memoirs, and/or comics eligible for the National Book Award?
Yes, provided they meet the other eligibility requirements.

How many titles are submitted for the National Book Award?
In 2017, 1,529 titles were submitted for consideration for the National Book Award. Of these titles, 394 were for Fiction, 553 were for Nonfiction, 245 were for Poetry, and 337 were for Young People’s Literature.

Can an author submit their own book for consideration?
No. The entry form must be completed by the author’s publisher in order for a book to be considered.

How will I know if judges have received the books I mailed?
We will contact any publisher who has entered titles but not yet sent them to the National Book Foundation before the June 29th mailing deadline. To track a package to judges, please send books via USPS Priority Mail, which is very helpful.

When will I be notified if a book I entered for consideration is on the Longlist?
If a book is chosen for the Longlist, the contact person who submitted the book will be notified in mid-September. For details regarding Longlist, Finalist and other National Book Award related announcements, please sign up for our newsletter.