Join ACFW |  Forgot Password |  Login: 

Carol Awards

ACFW Carol Awards

Good news for Indie Authors:

Beginning with the 2015 Carol Awards program, certain independently published Christian fiction will be eligible. Traditionally published books must still be released by a recognized publisher. Independently published authors must also meet a certain standard to enter the Carols—“Qualified Independently Published” status. For the QIP status, the author will need to show proof of earnings of $4000 or more on one independently published Christian novel within a 12-month period. Once the status is reached, it is permanent. Details are below.

2015 Carol Award Guidelines

The Carol Awards are ACFW’s recognition for the best Christian fiction published by traditional publishing houses in the previous calendar year.


1. Entry must be a work of original fictional narrative prose that is offered for sale to the general public through print or digital media.

2. The book must be written from a Christian worldview (specifically, the book should not contain profanity, graphic sex, gratuitous violence or other objectionable material, and must otherwise conform to generally accepted standards of the CBA) in any Christian fiction genre through a publisher on ACFW’s Recognized Publishers list* or be Qualified Independently Published.

3. Authors or publishers of e-book entries can submit 5 copies of a standard bound book with cover art and copyright page or 5 copies spiral bound. No electronic copies will be accepted.

4. Co-authored entries are allowed to enter. If one of the authors is a current ACFW member, then the entry can be submitted for the member entry fee.

5. Entry must have an original copyright date (printed on copyright page) between January 2014 and December 2014. In the rare event a book was released in 2014 but has a copyright date of 2013, please provide a) a letter from the publisher and b) a pdf of the publisher’s catalog reflecting the title and release date to the Carol Award Coordinator, at least two weeks prior to the deadline to be considered for entry.

6. All entrants are required to check the “accept” box on the entry form for the Contest Release, indicating acceptance of terms. Publishers may not enter for their authors.

7. Entry may NOT have previously been entered in the Carol Award Contest.

8. Entry must be an English-language edition.

9. Audio books may not be entered.


1. Five copies of the book must be submitted for each title entered in each category. Once books have been shipped an entry may not change categories for any reason.

2. All entrants will need the following in order to complete the online entry form:

• high resolution photo of book cover – must be no less than 300 dpi and at least 4” x 6” in size

• editor names (up to 2)

• publishing house name and contact phone number or check QIP box

• 5 physical copies of the book(s) being entered. Note: if entering the Debut Novel category AND the genre of the book, 10 copies will be needed.

3. Entrants are responsible for sending the 5 copies to the correct category coordinator designated on their paid entry receipt. Any shipping costs incurred due to a mistake on the part of the entrant (or the entrant’s representative) will be the entrant’s sole responsibility and will be required to be paid, via PayPal, prior to the contest entry deadline.

4. No single title shall be entered in more than one category, with the exception of the Debut Novel category, in which case the title may be entered in BOTH Debut Novel and the entry’s genre category (please remember to send 5 books for each category to the correct category coordinator).

5. Entries in the Debut Novel category are limited to authors who have never published a fiction title. Previous works of fiction, including novellas, and regardless of market, disqualify the author from the Debut Novel category. Novellas may not be entered in the Debut Novel category.

6. There is no limit to the number of eligible titles an author may enter in each category.


1. In any category, if fewer than seven (7) entries are received, the category shall be dissolved and the authors’ alternate choice category on their submission will be used. In the event a category does not receive 7 entries, ACFW will make shipping arrangements for the correct judges to receive the books. The author is responsible for choosing the appropriate Carol Award category for their novel.

2. Entrant shall understand and agree that all scores are final once submitted by the judge into the contest system. Scores are assessed by individual judges who score according to an established guideline/scoresheet. There will be no discrepancy judging or altering of scores submitted. All five scores will be averaged and the highest 3 scores in each category will be announced as finalists. Scores will not be returned.

3. The top three semi-final round entries in each category—category finalists—will continue to the final round. In the event of a tie, the previous round scores of the tied entries will be used to break the tie.

4. Finalists will be required to submit 3 additional copies of their title for the final round judging to the correct category coordinator as directed.  Books must be received by the category coordinators no later than July 1, 2015, so please have these additional 3 books in hand before the announcement of finalists date. Final round judges will judge all 3 books for their category, and an average of the 3 scores will determine the winner for each category.



Fee of $45 for ACFW Members per entry must be paid online via PayPal or credit card, or mail a money order or check made out to ACFW and sent to:

ACFW, P.O. Box 101066, Palm Bay, FL 32910-1066


Those authors who are not ACFW members will pay a fee of $115 per entry. You may join ACFW at the time you enter the contest, then your contest fee will be $45 per entry.

There are no refunds and books will not be returned.


• January 2, 2015 - Contest officially opens.

• March 15, 2015 – Contest closes at 4:00pm CENTRAL.**

• June 29, 2015 – Finalists announced at ICRS

• July 1, 2015 – Three additional copies of the finalists’ books must be received by the coordinator

• September 19, 2015 - Winners announced at the ACFW Conference in Dallas, Texas.

**All contest entry information, appropriate fees, and books must be received by category coordinators no later than 4:00pm CENTRAL March 15, 2015. Failure to meet the appropriate deadline shall result in disqualification, and the entry fee shall be forfeited. The author is responsible to make sure all materials (books, fees, and entry form) are submitted on time to the correct category coordinator.

Questions may be directed to:


Each finalist will receive a certificate and a silver pin.

Each winner will receive the Carol Award and a gold pin.  Winning editors will receive a certificate.

*The decisions about publisher recognition or qualified independently published status are made after careful consideration of ACFW’s goals and the vision. ACFW has the final word on publisher recognition or qualified independently published status.