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Now with 20% more award-winningness!

5 April 2012

Either you won something, or there's a really old knight asking you to choose which one of these is the Holy Grail (hint: not this one).

No, I haven’t won an award recently. At least, not that I’m aware of. So this post isn’t about announcing an award I’ve won, nor is it a post asking you to go vote for me in some award I’m up for. You might never see a post like the latter (I’ll never say never), because I don’t really go out for that sort of thing.

Someone nominated me for something? That’s awesome. But I’d rather whatever I was nominated for win on its own merits, not because I badgered everyone I know to go click on something. Maybe that’s the way to win, but in winning that way, what would I really say about myself? That I have a lot of friends? I do have several people I’m fortunate to call friends, and I know they have better things to do with their day than go click on something I asked them to.

My publisher, being a subsidiary of Harlequin, publishes a lot of romance novels. Through our author loop, I’ve learned something that kind of shocked me — a lot of the romance book awards have entry fees. Maybe it was naive of me, but I always thought the people behind book awards just chose the stuff they liked, then gave the award to the best of those. Turns out, you’re not necessarily looking at the best book of the year when you see an award-winning book. You might be looking at the best book of the ones where authors paid to have them considered. What’s the point of that?

I’ll admit that I’m not terribly swayed by awards when I buy something. I tend to just go for what I might find interesting — if a book is set in World War I, for instance, something in my brain says Yes, this is relevant to my interests. It doesn’t matter to me if it has a gold star or sunburst on the cover letting me know it won an award — I don’t care if it did or didn’t. I’m reading it because the blurb made it look interesting, or a friend recommended it to me.

So what about you, folks? Do awards make a difference when you’re buying books? Or do friend recommendations, online reviews, or some other criteria make a bigger impact?

2 Comments leave one →
  1. 5 April 2012 1052

    When I was a kid I only picked books from the library honored with Newbery medals. I would sit and trace the impression and dream about the day I had one. Now, I write more than read.

    • 5 April 2012 1357

      I still read a lot, but I don’t remember the last “award-winning” book I read. Probably something by Neil Gaiman, but I read it because it was Gaiman, not because it won any awards.

      Like you, though, I used to seek out the Newberry seal as a kid. 😉

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