It’s Awards Time!

Once again ASJA is recognizing the best freelance writing of the year, so pull up your best essays, reported pieces, content, and books, and send them in—the deadline to enter is February 1, so time is running out.

This year we’ve added four new categories, including Social Change, which recognizes articles or essays addressing current social change or injustice in today’s turbulent climate. There are also three content categories—business-to-business blog or article, business-to-consumer blog or article, and long-form content. This will be the first time we honor our growing ranks of content writers, so send in your best work!

The other big change is that we’re opening most of the awards to nonmembers, a move that will raise the bar in each category, making winning even more prestigious and bringing attention—and income—to ASJA.

Fees for ASJA members are $25 per article and $30 per book nomination. For nonmembers the fees jump to $40 per article and $50 per book, so this is a good time for you to reach out to writer friends and encourage them to apply for membership, to take advantage of member prices.

Entering will be even easier this year, because we’re using Submittable, a platform that smooths out the submission process. Just enter the URL or attach a .pdf, pay your fees, and you’re done. This year, books need to be sent as .pdfs or as ebooks. Covid has forced our staff to work from home, making it impossible for them to accept and then send out physical books.

The Awards rules are here. Descriptions of the awards categories are here. When you’re ready to enter, click here.

Each piece can be entered in only one category. Deciding which is up to you. Here are their descriptions.

The Arlenes: Articles That Make a Difference

ASJA member Howard Eisenberg established the Arlene Eisenberg Memorial Fund to honor his late wife, the author of What to Expect When You’re Expecting and other bestselling books that made a difference in the lives of mothers worldwide. Income generated by the fund allows ASJA to give monetary awards to winners of Arlenes, which are awarded annually for articles and once every three years for books. The winning book or freelance article must have “made a difference” by inspiring positive action within a locale or community, society, or the world. Proof can include media coverage, testimonials, or other public recognition. Articles must have been published in 2019 or 2020 and books between 2018 and 2020.

The Donald Robinson Memorial Award for Investigative Journalism

This award honors ASJA’s third president, a noted investigative journalist. Articles should demonstrate outstanding writing and organization plus new or hitherto unrevealed research. Or, if the topic frequently gets attention, the article should show it in a new light.

If the work was supported by a grant or payment from a foundation or other organization, or if the author was otherwise aided (such as in data collection or statistical analysis), we ask that this be noted at the time of submission, along with the time period for any such support.

Outstanding Article Awards

These awards honor writers whose articles, produced on a freelance basis, have demonstrated excellence in writing, research, and clarity of presentation.

  • Blog Post, Personal: For posts, or a collection of no more than three related posts on the same topic, published on personal blogs.
  • Business, including Marketing: For any business-related article.
  • Excellence in Reporting (formerly called “Reporting on a Significant Topic”): Consideration will be given to the relevance and universality of the topic, as well as overall excellence.
  • First-Person Essays: For personal essays that are entirely based on personal experiences, reflections, or observations.
  • Fitness & Sports: For pieces on running, fitness, and any sport or specific sporting event. Profiles may be entered here or in “Profiles,” but not both.
  • Food & Drink: For articles about food; wine; beer; a restaurant or restaurants; a vineyard; cooks; and the like.
  • Health: Any piece on a health topic is eligible.
  • How-To: For pieces of advice, self-help, or how to do something.
  • Lifestyle: For articles on matters of culture; style; leisure and home pursuits (including decorating and companion animals); art and music criticism; and reviews.
  • Opinion/Op-Eds: For blog posts or printed opinion pieces published by third parties. Entries must include reported evidence/research.
  • Profiles: For profiles, no matter where published. Formerly, members entered profiles appearing in trade journals in the “Trade” category.
  • Reported Essays: For personal essays that incorporate research supporting the topic.
  • Science: For articles on any science subject.
  • Social Change: For articles or essays that address current social change or injustice in today’s turbulent climate.
  • Technology: For articles on any tech subject.
  • Trade: For pieces that appeared in a specialized industry or professional publication intended for members or those who work in a specific field.
  • Travel: For any narrative travel article.
  • B2B Blog or Article: For blogs and articles published in print or online, written for B2B (Business-to-Business) companies. Only stories that are not focused on products or services will be considered. Entries for any size company or industry are welcome.
  • B2C Blog or Article: For blogs and articles published in print or online, written for B2C (Business-to-Consumer) companies. Only stories that are not focused on products or services will be considered. Entries for any size company or industry are welcome.             
  • Long-Form Content: For long-form content published in print or online, written for either B2B or B2C companies. Only stories that are not focused on products or services will be considered. Accepted formats include whitepapers, eBooks, or reports.

Outstanding Book Awards

These awards are for nonfiction books written by independent (not staff) writers that are deemed significant, exceptionally well-researched, and skillfully written, and published in the United States in 2020.

Self-published books, eBooks, and traditionally published books are all eligible.

The categories:

  • Biography/History
  • Children/Young Adult Nonfiction
  • General Nonfiction
  • Memoir/Autobiography
  • Service/Self-help


June Roth Memorial Awards for Outstanding Medical Article and for Medical Book

The June Roth Memorial Fund was established by her late husband to honor our 31st president, a well-known medical writer. Income generated by the fund provides monetary awards to ASJA members whose articles or books represent excepti
onal achievement in health and medical writing. Entries must have been published in 2020.

ASJA also offers other awards, including:
ASJA Founders Award for Career Achievement
ASJA Extraordinary Service Award
Robert C. Anderson Award
Conscience in Media Award
Open Book Award

To nominate someone for any of these awards, complete the online form HERE. There is no fee.

Good luck, one and all!

Remember, the deadline is February 1. Don’t wait!