Self-Published Book Contests & The Eric Hoffer Award—Horse of a Different Color

Most legitimate book-award contests don’t allow submissions by self-publishing authors. There are, of course, the book contests for self-publishers that hand out awards like candy. Nearly every contestant wins something—including a shiny sticker they can display on their book cover to make buyers think they have written something of quality. Fortunately, there’s at least one book contest out there for self-publishing authors that does not dance to this tune. The Eric Hoffer Awards honor excellence in writing, and showcase exceptional self-published books and books produced by small presses. Here is their impressive mission statement:

The Eric Hoffer Award Mission Statement:

Self-Published Book ContestsThe Hoffer Award was founded at the start of the 21st century (with permission from the Eric Hoffer Estate) to honor freethinking writers and independent books of exceptional merit. The commercial environment for today’s writers has all but crushed the circulation of ideas. It seems strange that in the Information Age many books are blocked from wider circulation, and powerful writing is barred from publication or buried alive on the Internet. Furthermore, many of the top literary prizes will not even consider independent books or previously unpublished prose, choosing instead to become the marketing arms of large presses.

The “Hoffer” honored prose is largely unpublished, and the books are chiefly from small, academic, and micro presses, including self-published offerings. Throughout the centuries, writers such as Emily Dickinson, James Joyce, Walt Whitman, and Virginia Wolfe have taken the path of self-publishing rather than have their ideas forced into a corporate or sociopolitical mold.

The books and prose of the Hoffer Award are nominated by the people and judged by independent panels. Winners of the “Hoffer” are given prizes, honors, and worldwide media exposure, as well as being covered in the US Review of Books and published in the annual anthology, Best New Writing.

This is a real opportunity for outstanding self-published authors to get the recognition they deserve. One of my clients, Michael Hurley, won this year’s Eric Hoffer Prize for General Fiction for his exceptional novel, The Vineyard. It was an honor well-earned.

If you’re searching for self-published book contests that are genuine, check this one out. Deadline for submissions for the 2016 Eric Hoffer Awards is January 21. Visit the website for details and a list of award-winning books from this and previous years at

Jessi Rita Hoffman … book editing by an industry professional

8 Comments on “Self-Published Book Contests & The Eric Hoffer Award—Horse of a Different Color”

  1. Andrew Masuku

    Hi Jessi!

    I notice that you provide professional editing services? I request for your permission to send my MS for your consideration and quotation for its editing.


  2. The Eric Hoffer Award

    Thank you so much for the positive and honest mention of the Eric Hoffer Book Award. Some people don’t understand what we do. We exist to fill the gap created by the larger, often corporate-funded, book awards that pay little or no attention to small, academic, and independent presses (i.e. self-publishers). Our judges are volunteer, and our low registration fee goes mostly to our awesome shipping expenses to reach and circulate books through almost one hundred judges. Our judging is rigorous but even-handed, and only the top 15% receive honors. Thank you again for simply stating the truth.

  3. Paul Maon

    Hello my name is Paul Mason and I have written a book and the company then mention about the Eric Hoffer Awards, so if any one can answer this question and that is-is such award given for he merits of it’s writing or does a person pay for it. Thank you, Paul Mason.

    1. Jessi Rita Hoffman

      Paul, if you do an Internet search for “Eric Hoffer Award Submissions” you’ll see that a fee is involved. From what I understand, this is pretty typical even for the reputable contests. If you think about it, it takes a lot of time to read hundreds of manuscripts. Someone must do that reading, and they probably have to be paid.


    2. The Eric Hoffer Award

      The Eric Hoffer Award fee ($55 book/$40 chapbook) is a very low compared to others. Some awards charge for every entry combination, which results in hundreds of dollars to fully register a book. For the Hoffer Award, a single category registration exposes your book to all higher level awards. The staff is composed of volunteers, although a small honorarium is given to the category judges. Clearly no one is getting rich for their hours worth of service. The bulk of our budget goes to shipping books around the country for evaluation. If you’d like to learn more about us, read this article: . Or simply see what past participants are saying: .

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