Home > Frequently Asked Questions

What is this year’s submission window?

For submission guidelines and entry forms, check out our
SUBMISSIONS GUIDELINES PAGE!
(entry forms are only available during the submission window)

How much does it cost to enter?
Unpublished Memoirs, Novels, and Novels for Children – $45.00
Unpublished Poetry Chapbooks and Short Stories – $25.00
All Published – $45.00

Entry fees are payable via check, or you may pay with your credit card using our SDBA STORE option. Please include check or payment receipt with your books and form submission.

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. And our digital sticker is a reality!
SDBA Winner & Finalist Sticker

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?
YES!

Can I pay the fees and submit my entry in more than one category?
No. Multiple submissions of the same entry will be disqualified and the checks appropriately shredded. If multiple categories are selected on the entry form, the submission will only be judged in one category. One entry allowed, one category judged. Choose your category carefully.

Each entry, published or unpublished, is evaluated by at least three separate judges.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. 

How are the unpublished manuscripts/published books judged?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 The unpublished category is a blind evaluation which means the judges do not know the name of any of the authors. 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I have my first 30 pages ready to be submitted in the unpublished category, do I still need a complete manuscript if I qualify?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!

Judging unpublished novels and memoirs is a two-step process.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 a 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.

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.