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What is The Gittle List Contest?

What is this Gittle List? The Gittle List is Aviva Gittle’s top picks for self-published children’s picture books for the year. (Books can be published in any year.)

Who can enter? You will find all the contest rules and submission guidelines here.

Who the heck is Aviva GittleThat’s me. So, since it’s really weird to talk about myself in the third person, I’m going to stop now. I am a writer and independent publisher of children’s books. To date, I have published nearly 20 picture books with many more in various stages of production.

How long have you been running the contest? This is the sixth year. Select “TGL Winners” from the top menu to see previous years’ winners.

Why did you start the contest? Prior to 2013, if you had asked me to give you children’s book recommendations, I would give you a list of the classics. The Sneetches by Dr. Seuss, Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, etc.

Then, I joined a Goodreads group started by Mariana Llanos. It was called Pay It Forward and its sole purpose was to get other indie authors to review your book. I first read Mariana’s Tristan Wolf. Then Gusty McCabe’s The Most Important Critter in the Whole Wide World. I found I enjoyed those books as much, and in some ways more, than the classics.

I wanted these authors to get some recognition for their hard work. Also, I wanted to show the world that not all self-published books are, by definition, awful. I wanted to find the gems and tell the world about them.

The only contest to give ENTRANTS free book promotion — like this!

So this contest thing was completely selfless? Heck no! I knew that it would help me network with other indie authors and offer a win-win by providing cross-marketing. We would promote each other through social media. And, I would get more visitors to my website and more recognition for the Aviva Gittle Publishing brand.

Why is there only one category? That may change in the future, but right now my focus is on children’s picture books, because that’s what I write and publish. Also, I’m not a very fast reader. Seriously; that’s not a joke.

Who judges the contest? I do. I’ve been writing since I was about 7 years old. I’ve also written and published a lot of children’s picture books. I have read hundreds of traditionally published and self-published children’s books as well. I know the publishing process from the ground up (learned the hard way). I’m a grandmother who buys books for her grandchildren. I’m your target buyer. I’m also very opinionated. That helps.

I heard you did this for free the first 2 years. Why charge an entry fee now? I always intended to eventually start charging a fee. I wanted to get the contest going and figure out what I was doing first. I see that the entry fee for other contests starts at $50 and goes up (sometimes way up) from there. Other contests have dozens of categories and thousands of entrants. The Gittle List is more of a “boutique” contest. My entrants get more time and attention than other contests. In most contests, you send the book and pay the fee, and never hear from them again. The truth is, it’s a lot of work. Work I love, but a lot of work and a lot of time away from my own writing and publishing.

What’s so special about The Gittle List? The whole purpose of the contest is to support self-publishers like myself. I don’t have five zillion categories. One category. One judge. Up to 10 winners. That’ s my motto! This isn’t a “get more chances to win” kind of a contest. It’s by and for indie publishers of children’s picture books. Pure and simple.

What’s in it for me?  The winners get several things including, frankly, the pride that comes with another indie-publisher, one who knows what it takes to publish a quality children’s picture book, recognizing your work.

Yes, you will get to call your book “award-winning.” But, the real prize is the free publicity you might receive as an entrant and the book promotion you will receive immediately after — and long after — the contest ends should you win a spot on The Gittle List. For the 2017 contest, I was still promoting 2013, 2014, 2015, & 2016 winners. Some past winners received their own book tweet, several were featured in paid Facebook advertising, and where to find past winning lists were included in articles and press releases.

You will likely get some free publicity during the submission period. The earlier you enter, the greater your chances. For example, in 2014 and 2015, I did several press releases giving the story behind the story. (This press release was very popular). During the 2016 and 2017 contest submission periods, many of the entrants got some sort of book promotion. Several on Twitter and Facebook, several were featured in Gittle News with their book covers. A couple of lucky authors won the “story behind the story” promotional package. Last year, some authors were featured in videos. (Like the one above.)

In 2015, I started providing all 10 winners with paid social media advertising and a commitment to buy at least one copy of each winner’s book. (Digital or hard copy, used or new, is at my discretion.)

Review the Submission Guidelines.

This article best explains the cross-marketing power of The Gittle List Contest.

Want to know more? Email

Aviva Gittle Publishing offers great stories for children in English and Spanish, including the Kitten and Friends / Gatito y amigos series. See all of Aviva’s books here.

*All of the books featured in this article can be purchased on Just search Amazon for the author’s name and/or book title. If your purchase initiates from this website, I get a small commission that keeps me in business. Thank you!

Published inThe Gittle List


  1. Hi, I am so grateful that you are offering this contest. I love the “story behind the contest.” I am looking forward to entering this.

    More than that, please let me know if you would like me to interview you and your writing process. Also, do you have a favorite food to make while writing or a favorite that you make your grandchildren. My readers LOVE recipes. I do too and included recipes in my children’s book series.

    It will be on amazon, my book, this Friday!

    Take Care,
    Facebook: maxine carlson

  2. Hi Aviva, I have been browsing through your book contest and I have a question. I have written a series of children’s picture books, entitled “Bumpa and the Piggies”. I plan on submitting the last two books in the series to your contest. The problem doing it that way is you miss the first two books in the series which help to explain how certain characters arrived in the series. I would be happy to send the entire series, four books, if you would like. If interested please e-mail me at You would not have to send the other books back. Thank you, Mike DeWald.

    • AvivaGittle AvivaGittle

      Hi, Mike: Since your comment, you did enter two of your books and did send the first two books of the series as well. I can tell you that I will read only the books you entered during the contest submission period. After the contest is over, I will read the other two books. My feeling is that each book in a series should stand alone. That doesn’t mean that as a reader I will know everything about a character that may have been revealed in another story. That’s okay. The story should feel complete. And the characters interesting enough that I would want to read other books in the series. BTW: All print books are donated to charity when the contest is over.

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