Frequently Asked Questions

Eligibility

I am a Minnesota native but currently reside in another state for my job. I still visit several times per year and consider Minnesota my home. Am I eligible for the Minnesota Book Awards?

Unfortunately, our eligibility criteria require that the author maintain a residence in Minnesota. We appreciate your interest, but cannot accept books from individuals who do not live in the state.

I was living in Minnesota while writing my book, but moved to another state shortly after it was published. Can I still submit?

Yes, if you were still living in Minnesota at the commencement of the eligibility year (January 1), but relocated prior to the nomination deadline, the book is considered eligible. Please explain the situation when submitting your entry.

I would like to submit a book that was originally published in the UK last year; however, it was not available to U.S. readers until this year. Can you tell me if the book will be eligible?

Yes, books previously unavailable for distribution in the United States are eligible for the Minnesota Book Awards, provided that all other eligibility requirements are met.

My book will not be released in time for the nomination deadline. Can I still submit it this year?

Yes. If the book will be available by December 31, we can make arrangements for a late submission. Please email mnbookawards@thefriends.org to discuss a submission plan.

My publishing company has a new book of previously unpublished material written by a deceased author. Can you tell me if this will be eligible?

Unfortunately, we are only able to accept books under these circumstances if the author was living at the commencement of the eligibility year (January 1) and met all other eligibility requirements at that time. If the author passed away prior to January 1, we are unable to accept the book.

I’d like to submit a book written by a team of three authors. I know anthologies are not eligible, but are there any restrictions for author teams?

Books written by teams of authors who collaboratively created all content are considered eligible if at least one member of the team is a Minnesota resident. Anthologies compiled by an editor with separate, credited sections written by different individuals are not eligible.


Submission Process

My publisher has agreed to submit my book for consideration. How can I confirm that you have received the entry?

As submissions are completed and processed, we’ll add them to our website. Please check there weekly to verify your nomination. You are also welcome to email mnbookawards@thefriends.org if you are concerned about the status of your entry.

What happens to the five copies of each submitted book at the end of the selection process?

The majority of submitted books are donated to Minnesota communities in the month following the Awards Ceremony. Some copies of the finalist and winning books are loaned to libraries and used for promotional purposes by the Minnesota Book Awards.

Why is there a $45 fee to submit a book?

Up to four staff members of The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library are involved in the processing of each book submission. The $45 nomination fee primarily serves to deflect the cost of staff resources and also covers the shipping costs incurred in the distribution of books to the judges.


Judging

Who judges the books submitted each year?

A total of 54 judges are selected from a large pool of qualified applicants each year by staff of the Minnesota Book Awards. Three judges are assigned to each category in both the preliminary and final rounds with an effort to represent the greatest possible diversity in professional background, education, ethnicity, age, sex, and location of residency in the state. All judges must have professional experience, volunteer experience, or in-depth knowledge related to the category to which they are assigned and may include authors, publishers, booksellers, educators, librarians, etc. Please visit our judging page for more information.

Could you explain the judging process?

All submitted books are first screened by staff of the Minnesota Book Awards to confirm eligibility and to ensure appropriate category placement.

Once books have passed the screening process, they are distributed to the preliminary round judges for review. A total of 27 qualified judges (three in each category) review all of the books submitted in their assigned category over the course of a four-month reading period. At the end of January, the judges meet face-to-face to select the four finalists in each category.

Following the finalist announcement, the three final round judges in each category receive the books selected in January and spend approximately one month reviewing these titles. The judges then meet face-to-face in early March to determine the winners. Winning titles are kept confidential until the Awards gala in April. Please visit our judging page for more information about the process.