Great Contest Opportunity for Self-Published Authors

A Fellow-writer shared this newsletter with us:

Half Price Books Is New Sponsor for Shelf Unbound Writing CompetitionI’m pleased to announce that Half Price Books has come on as the sponsor of the 2013 Shelf Unbound Writing Competition for Best Independently Published Book. As such, Half Price Books has generously offered to stock and promote this year’s winning entry in their 115 retail stores in 16 states.

Half Price Books started as an indie bookstore in 1972 and is now the nation’s largest new and used family owned bookstore chain; their commitment to literacy, readers and writers makes them the perfect partner for our competition.

“Half Price Books is proud to be a part of this competition and to help support and bring recognition to the independent and self-published writer community,” said Sharon Anderson Wright, president and CEO of Half Price Books (

We invite all independent and self-published authors to enter the competition, and we’ve extended the deadline to October 1. Details are below and on our website, Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Margaret Brown
Shelf Unbound

Participating in the Shelf Unbound Writing Competition was one of the best decisions of my writing career. Not only did I receive valuable, personalized coaching from Publisher Margaret Brown, winning the contest led to a popular feature article by Amazon and CreateSpace, interest from one of New York’s top literary agents, and a wide audience of indie book lovers. The entry fee to last year’s contest was the best money I’ve ever spent!

— Jennifer Bresnick, author of The Last Death of Tev Chrisini



Shelf Unbound book review magazine announces the Shelf Unbound Writing Competition for Best Independently Published Book. Any independently published book in any genre is eligible for entry. Entry fee is $30 per book. The winning entry will be selected by the editors of Shelf Unbound magazine.

“Independently Published” books include self-published books (such as those published through CreateSpace,, iUniverse, etc.) and/or books published through small presses releasing less than five titles per year. Books entered in last year’s competition are eligible for re-submission in this year’s competition. There is no limit to the number of books an individual can enter; each book is a separate entry.

The official rules for the competition can be found at here.

To submit an entry, email a PDF or Word Doc of your entire book, including the cover,, subject line Contest Entry (or mail a physical copy of your book to: Shelf Media Group, PO Box 852321, Richardson, Texas 75085-2321), and send a check for $30 made out to Shelf Media Group to Margaret Brown, Shelf Media Group, PO Box 852321, Richardson, Texas 75085-2321, or pay via PayPal (click on this link and select “Competition Entry Fee”: All entries received (and entry fee paid) will be considered.

The top five books, as determined by the editors of Shelf Unbound, will receive editorial coverage in the December/January 2014 issue of Shelf Unbound. The author of the book named as the Best Independently Published book will receive editorial coverage as well as a year’s worth of full-page ads in Shelf Unbound (rate card value $6,000). The book will also be stocked and promoted in all 115 Half Price Books retail stores in 16 states.

The deadline for entry is midnight on October 1, 2013. The winners will be notified by November 2, 2013. Additional information and rules can be found on our contest rules page at

For further information, please feel free to contact Margaret Brown, Publisher, via

Shelf Unbound book review magazine, a 2013 Maggie Award finalist for Best Digital-Only Publication, reaches more than 125,000 avid readers in the U.S. and in 59 other countries around the globe. Subscriptions to Shelf Unbound are free

Shelf Media Group
3322 Greenview Drive

5 thoughts on “Great Contest Opportunity for Self-Published Authors

  1. I am conflicted about contests such as these…. I do not think, as a fledgling author (self-published for zero dollars) that I should have to pay a fee to enter any legitimate contest. I understand there is no such thing as a free lunch but I have a hard time even considering any contest that wants something up front from me. That is my thought on the subject and I refuse to enter such contests but maybe you have a different opinion?

    • I can definitely relate, and I weigh the deal carefully before I submit for any contest. For this one, the reward is pretty awesome, I think. But it is somewhat like buying a lottery ticket–with better odds if you have an excellent and professionally presented product. Personally if I’m putting money in I like to at least get a book with authors who are chosen for publication, or some kind of return…maybe a critique at the minimum. Once in awhile I’ll put a ticket in on a big one even if I’ll probably end up with zippo at the end. Sometimes it feels good to take a chance.

  2. A) I entered and mailed the book yesterday.

    B) I enter about 2 or 3 contests a year. I look at the reach compared to the costs, and I look at the overall viability of the contest organizer. This contest *might* get me more exposure, so I chalk it up to marketing expenses. Most contests have a filing fee of some kind, and it’s usually low. The local PNWA has a contest with a filing fee around the same price. Glimmertrain has a filing fee. It goes to finance the contest costs, and might even be used for other costs. Getting your book in front of likely readers is going to cost something, even if it’s just your time in posting to blogs and websites. This is part of that marketing effort.

  3. Pingback: Shelf Unbound Self Published Book Competition

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