What is this year’s submission window?

Dates for submission for the 2018 contest are as follows:

10/1/17 – 11/30/17 Unpublished Entry Window
1/1/18 – 1/31/18 Published Entry Window

For submission guidelines and entry forms, check out our


I’m a previous winner, and I need more stickers. Can I buy more?

We have as many as you need! Please go to our store for purchasing details.


Is it true? Can I purchase a digital image of the sticker for use on my book cover?

Yes! The Finalist sticker is also a reality!

SDBA Winner & Finalist Sticker






Please check them out at the SDBA STORE!


How will I be notified that my submission has been received within the submission window?

Please include a self-addressed, stamped postcard, and we will be happy to send that back to you once your entry has been received. Otherwise, there will be NO NOTIFICATION given.

Once the submission window closes, you will only be notified if you become a finalist.


Does my work remain my own?



Can I pay the fees and submit my entry in more than one category?

No. Choose your category carefully. One entry, one category. If more than one category is circled on the entry form, your entry will be judged in the first category circled. Also, multiple submissions of the same entry will be disqualified and the checks appropriately shredded.


What if I ask my entry to be judged in a certain category and there are not enough entries for that category to be included in the judging?

We will do everything we can to ensure your book is judged in the category you requested. However, occasionally we do not have enough entries to include a category in the competition. In that case, we will include your entry in one that is closest to the one you requested; i.e. if you requested “contemporary fiction” and we have only two entries in that category we may move it to “general fiction.”


Can I submit before or after “Call for Entries” in my genre window?

Published submissions for the 2018 contest may only be published or copyrighted within the 2017 calendar year. Please follow these directions and adhere to the appropriate submission times for your entry.


Why do I have to send in four copies of my published book and why aren’t my published books returned; can I request my book to be returned if it doesn’t qualify??

Each entry, published or unpublished, is evaluated by at least three separate judges. Published books are not returned as we do not have the staff or money for postage to collect them from the judges. All submissions become the property of SDBA. And remember, you must send four copies of your published book (three for an unpublished manuscript). Consider this – most contests do not return entries.


How are the unpublished manuscripts/published books judged?

Judges in every category are instructed to evaluate each entry on its own merit and not to compare it to other books/manuscripts they are judging.

The judges do know the names of the authors of the books, but not the manuscripts. The unpublished category is a blind evaluation which means the judges do not know the name of the author. Since author names are on published books, judges are instructed to let us know if they are familiar with the author and we will have them judge another entry.


I have my first 30 pages ready to be submitted in the unpublished category, do I still need a complete manuscript if I qualify?

YES! Si! Ja! Oui, oui!

Judging unpublished novels and memoirs is a two-step process. The first 30 pages are judged to determine who the finalists will be. If you are a finalist you will be notified by phone or email. Finalist names will be posted on the San Diego Book Awards website. If you are not a finalist, your 30-page entry will be returned to you at the end of the contest.

If you are a finalist you will be notified by phone or email. Finalist names will be posted on the San Diego Book Awards website. If you are not a finalist, your 30-page entry will be returned to you at the end of the contest only if you have included an S.A.S.E. with sufficient postage (See submission guidelines). If you are notified that you are a finalist, your first 30 pages will be returned to you so, if you wish, you may make changes based on the judges’ comments. After that, you will have approximately one week to send in your entire manuscript, so be sure to have it finished. If it is not, your status as a finalist will be revoked and you will not be able to participate in the final competition.


Is it possible to contact the judge personally who critiqued my book?

If you request it, we will ask the judge to contact you, but contacting you is at the judge’s discretion. Just email us at sdbookawards@gmail.com.


Where can I find your list of previous winners?

We keep a running archive right here, and in the SDBA website toolbar. It only goes back to 2007, but that’s a lot of winners and finalists!


I don’t like having my picture taken–do I have to?

Please be aware that your entry to SDBA is an automatic agreement that all photos and facsimiles of your person taken at SDBA events are SDBA property.


Last updated December 2017