There are presently no open calls for submissions.

The Firecracker Awards for Independently and Self-Published Literature

The Firecrackers seek to celebrate and promote great literary works from independent literary publishers and self-published authors. We’re looking for language that smolders, crackles, or explodes on the page. We’re looking for voices we’ve never heard and will never forget. The Firecrackers will spotlight books that make a permanent contribution to our literary culture and introduce them to readers far and wide.  

The Firecracker Indie Book Awards are distinguished literary awards. Prizes will be awarded in the following categories:

  • Fiction
  • Creative Non-Fiction (i.e. memoir, essay, hybrid non-fiction forms)
  • Poetry
Firecrackers will also be awarded in two magazine/periodical categories:
  • Best Debut (for magazines publishing first issue in the past five years)
  • General Excellence (open to all literary periodicals)
The short-list for the book awards will be announced in April 2017; winners will be notified in May 2017. 

Scroll down to the bottom of the page to submit. 

2017 Judges

Judges are asked to sign a code of ethics statement that they will recuse themselves from judging books by authors they have a close personal connection with, or to titles where an award of a prize would personally benefit the judge.


Jarrod Annis (Greenlight Books)

Paul Lisicky (THE NARROW DOOR, Graywolf Press)


Creative Non-Fiction

Michele Filgate (LitHub Contributing Editor)

Alexandra Kleeman (INTIMATIONS, Harper)

Alison Gore (Word Bookstores)



Camille Drummond (Word Bookstores)

Patricia Spears Jones (A LUCENT FIRE: NEW AND SELECTED, Buffalo)


Brigid Hughes (A Public Space)

Maribeth Batcha (One Story)

Ellen Duffer (Ploughshares)

Minna Proctor (The Literary Review)

Guidelines for Submission

All submissions must have a publication date within the calendar year 2016. All independent publishers and self-published authors of literary writing are eligible for the Firecracker Award, regardless of CLMP-membership status.  CLMP members do, however, receive a discounted submission fee. To inquire about CLMP membership, please contact Montana Agte-Studier, Membership Director, at

Self-published authors must provide a pub date with their submission, and that pub date must fall within the year 2016 in order for the submission to be eligible for a Firecracker. Self-published and independently published titles will be read and judged together.

There is no limit on the number of manuscripts publishers and self-published authors can submit. Please note that each manuscript must be submitted individually, and that there is a discounted submission fee for every submission after the initial one.

Manuscripts must be uploaded as a PDF, .doc, or .docx only.

Magazine publishers, please note that your submission must be uploaded as a single PDF that contains every issue published within 2016.

We believe in a fair and transparent judging process. All submissions will be read by at least two first readers. First readers will narrow submissions down to a long-list of 20 titles in each category. Final judges will read all 20 titles and further winnow long-list into a publically announced short-list of 10 – 12 titles per category; judges will also have access to all manuscripts in their genre. The winning titles will be announced in May 2017. Winning books will be highlighted in a national marketing campaign that features prominent placement in independent bookstores from coast to coast, and will receive significant digital marketing with the Firecracker Award Winning Book logo.

Working with the American Booksellers Association, marketing materials for the winning titles will be sent to independent booksellers across the country. CLMP and the Firecracker Committee will publicize winning titles, collaborating with publishers and authors of awarded titles to maximize the marketing potential of winning a Firecracker Award. All awarded books may feature the Firecracker Award Winning Book logo.

The short-list for the book awards will be announced in April 2017; winners will be notified in May, 2017.

If you have any questions about your submission, please contact Natalie Mesnard, Director of Programs & Strategic Communications, at