I don't know what the chances are of getting our publishers to come up with money. But the Minnesota Book Awards are reputable, and probably worth seeking. Ring of Swords won a Minnesota Book Award in 1993. I submitted Tomb of the Fathers two years ago and came up with the money and the five copies myself. I thought this was a long shot, since Tomb is hard core science fiction, but worth a try. As it turned out, I did not make the final ballot.
(With science fiction awards, I figure being a finalist is almost as good as winning.)
If there were enough f & sf books for a separate category, the administrators of the awards might make as effort to find judges who actually know the field. When Ring won an award, a member of the local fan community was one of the judges.
Anyway, this is something to think about.