All books must be published by U.S. publishers located in the United States between
December 1, 2018 and November 30, 2019.
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 a petition process. In the case of authors for whom this would apply, publishers must contact us directly and answer the following questions:
- Has the author lived in the United States for 10 or more years as of November 30 of the Awards year?
- 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:
- Books by authors who are living at the commencement of the eligibility year (December 1, 2018)
- Full-length books of fiction and nonfiction
- Collections of short stories and collections of essays by one author
- Collected and selected poems by one author
- Self-published books, provided that the author/publisher also publishes titles by other authors (Note: the Foundation may request the publisher’s catalog to verify this.)
- For the Translated Literature Award only: English translations of published works of fiction or nonfiction. Books by authors and translators who are living at the commencement of the eligibility year (December 1, 2018). The original text need not to have been published in the year of the award submission, only the translated work
The following are NOT eligible:
- Anthologies containing work written by multiple authors
- Reprints of books published in previous Award years. Exceptions may be made for otherwise eligible books published outside the United States in the previous Award year at the National Book Foundation’s discretion.
- Books published through self-publishing services, including CreateSpace
In the event of a dispute as to eligibility, the Foundation will decide whether a book is eligible, and its decision will be binding.
- Publishers must complete the online entry form and submit payment.
- Publishers must mail six copies of each submitted book: one copy to the Foundation’s office, and one to each of five judges in the appropriate category, to be received by June 28, 2019.
- All books must be sent via U.S. Postal Service First-Class Mail, Priority or Media Mail. For tracking information, please send USPS Priority Mail, which is very helpful.
- Please include a list of submitted books included in the package being sent. Additionally, packages must be clearly marked with “National Book Awards.”
- Please send books as early as possible. Judges are not obligated to consider books that arrive after June 28.
- Bound galleys and bound manuscripts are acceptable if a book has not yet been published. Finished books should be sent to replace galleys and manuscripts when available.
- For ebooks, please provide a printed and bound, 8 ½ x 11-inch copy of the book, including publication date information.
- There is a $135 entry fee for each title submitted. Accepted forms of payment include PayPal and credit card. Please be prepared with payment information before you begin the online submission process. If you would prefer to pay for multiple titles by check, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Publishers whose submitted books are deemed ineligible by the Foundation will still be subject to the stated entry fee of $135 per title.
- The chair of each judging panel may “call in” titles through the Foundation office that have not been submitted by publishers. The Foundation then asks publishers to submit these titles for consideration, assuming they meet eligibility requirements. Publishers may submit at their own discretion. The $135 fee applies to all call-in titles.
- Each publisher must designate one person to coordinate all National Book Award-related matters with the Foundation throughout the Awards process. This person will be contacted in the case that a title becomes part of the Longlist. If this person is new to the process, please make sure they are familiar with these guidelines and deadlines.
- Each author must be made aware of and consent to the entry of his/her book for the National Book Awards.
- There are five panels of five Judges each in the categories of Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, Translated Literature, and Young People’s Literature, each including a panel chair, chosen by the National Book Foundation.
- The Foundation will announce Longlists of ten books in each category in mid-September.
- The Foundation will announce the twenty-five Finalist books, five in each category, on October 8, 2019.
- One Winner in each category will be announced at the National Book Awards Ceremony and Benefit Dinner on November 20, 2019.
- Each Winner will receive a prize of $10,000. Each Finalist will receive a prize of $1,000. In the case of the Translated Literature Award, prizes are split equally between author and translator.
All publishers submitting books for the National Book Awards must agree to:
- Contribute toward a promotional campaign if a submitted book becomes a Finalist. For presses with income of $10 million or above, a contribution of $3,000; under $10 million, a contribution of $750; and for presses with income under $1 million, the fee is waived.
- Inform authors of submitted books that, if selected as Finalists, they must be present at the National Book Awards Ceremony and at related events in New York City.
- Inform authors that the Finalists Reading will be held at The New School on Tuesday, November 19, 2019.
- Inform authors that the National Book Awards Ceremony will be held at Cipriani Wall Street on Wednesday, November 20, 2019. If the publisher attends, it is the expectation that they will provide a seat for their Finalist (discounted tickets are available for small, nonprofit, and/or university presses).
- Cover all travel and accommodation costs for Finalists (the Foundation will provide travel support for Finalists in the Translated Literature category).
- Inform authors that, if selected as Finalists, they must agree to participate in the Foundation’s website-related publicity.
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 22 to Sunday, November 24, 2019, with all travel and accommodations underwritten by Miami Book Fair International.
Email questions about your submissions to Awards Coordinator Anna Dobben at email@example.com, or call the Foundation offices at 212-685-0261. Technical questions should be emailed to Meredith Andrews at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 15, 2019 (midnight, PDT) must be mailed to judges and the National Book Foundation by Friday, June 28, 2019. 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 28, 2019?
In the case where a galley copy or a title won’t be available until after June 28, 2019, please send a bound manuscript to judges and the National Book Foundation before the June 28, 2019 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 email@example.com.
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 2018, 1,637 titles were submitted for consideration for the National Book Award. Of these titles, 368 were for Fiction, 546 were for Nonfiction, 246 were for Poetry, 142 were for Translated Literature, and 325 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 28th 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.