Award winner?

June 15, 2015 at 4:13 pm

When The Heir received a silver award in Literary Classics’ science fiction category in 2013 it was an exciting moment for me. However, I have difficulty telling people about it, probably because I’m a bit of a cynic.

So many books I see have won awards. I’m sure they are all deserving of them but there just seems to be so many awards around these days sometimes it loses its meaning for me. Is it just a question of continually trying until you find an award your book can win? It reminds me of how all the kids get a medal in races at school now. It’s a great encouragement for them and I think it’s wonderful that they’re acknowledged for their efforts but it seems to lose its meaning if everyone gets one. Why have it at all?

I remember when I was editing the Queensland Baptist newspaper. I won the Australasian Religious Press Association (ARPA) award for Best News Item one year. It was a shock – I had entered without any thought of actually being able to win anything. I wasn’t even sure I’d entered my article in the right category! – and true to my nature, once I had won I was reluctant to tell anyone about it. Why? I wasn’t sure it meant anything, mainly because I always felt like I wasn’t really a professional writer because I’d come into that job simply because they couldn’t find anyone else to do it so I didn’t feel like a ‘real’ writer.

And does it mean anything? I try and remember to mention these awards now because I know they do mean things to people. It’s a kind of validation for what you do, and I think it’s worth more than my mind often tells me. However, I don’t think I’ll ever buy a book just because it or its author is award winning. So maybe it doesn’t really make a difference where it counts for me.

How about you? Are you more likely to buy a book if it or its author are award winners? Let me know in the comments.