So, last time I blogged I was asking the question: should we care about awards?
Well, this past weekend I attended the London Book Festival 2017 awards ceremony to collect my winning certificate for the sci fi category. It was held at the 5* Grosvenor Hotel in London, and there was nice alcohol and food and even real drinking glasses. About 30 people came, from the USA, Switzerland, the UK and Latin America.
So, already my expectations were surpassed.
I was able to give a short speech and feel important when receiving my award. People laughed and cried. It was emotional… (cough).
But, that is not why I’m writing this blog.
I will fully admit that I went in very focused on me. My award. My achievement. My interest in the other books was not high. It was my first award ceremony, and so I was busy being all self-important.
That quickly went out of the window.
Firstly, we had some VERY educated people in the room. A psychiatrist, a PhD in literature. A guy from Capitol Hill, a former exec from HBO… the list goes on. My little PhD was not stand out in this crowd.
Secondly, the stories behind these people’s books reminded me that for every book out there, someone’s blood sweat and tears have gone into it. For many it’s very personal. Just a few examples from this event included:
I know that I will not be quick to judge another’s work so harshly. For every story, there’s a story behind it.
So, I dug a little further and came across an interesting article on the shift in the publishing industry and the weight of even the big awards; Pulitzer, Man Booker, Hugo etc. The author told of how since the consumer is now king, as opposed to the literary elite, the awards themselves have less impact. Some of the best-selling books in the world have zero awards. The readers just really like the book.
So, I asked myself again - should I care about the award?
More digging, and another article came up which was quite positive. The author suggested that while awards may not have direct impact on sales, it does allow us to give a boost to our marketing campaign and put a shiny sticker on our book that other books don't have. He/she equated it to a bottle of award-winning wine with a lovely gold star. No-one questions the competition it came from; the consumer only knows that one bottle has the star and another doesn't. It may tip the balance when choosing.
A solid reason to enter competitions and hope for an award.
But, after much thought, finally I came to a different conclusion. I care about the award, because I care about my book. I write because I like to write. I do it for the love of it. Thus, if someone, somewhere, in a competition, big or small, has deemed my book to be more worthy than others to receive an award then I'm damn happy.
Someone liked my book. They liked it enough to give it a gold star. I feel proud, and that - dear reader - is all that matters.
Now, I'm off to rub shoulders with fellow winners and drink Lambrini from a styrofoam beaker.