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.