by: Joelle Charbonneau
Okay, it is awards season time. Or in many cases, it is award nomination season. People who subscribe to magazines, go to conferences and belong to any number of other groups are being asked to nominate their favorite books of 2010. Lots of genres be it crime fiction, romance, women's fiction, young adult etc... Lot of chances for authors to be recognized for their work.
In theory, I love the idea of awards. In theory, people read lots of books and then nominate their absolute favorite ones for said awards. Would I like to be nominated for an award? Would other members of this blog? Sure. Lots of authors I know if a variety of genres would love to make the short lists. Who the heck wouldn’t? But I am having a serious problem with the not so subtle, but trying to look subtle, campaigning going on for spots on nominating ballots. I am seeing tweet after tweet and blog post after blog post and one face book message after another which all amounts to shaking hands and kissing babies in order to get someone’s vote. People are setting their hair on fire trying to get noticed and I’m getting ready to douse them with a very large bucket of water.
Is this really what it takes to get nominated?
God, I hope not. But a very sad part of me that was terrible at going around asking my classmates for signatures when running for the seventh grade student council is pretty sure that these tactics work. Authors doing very public “You like me? You really, really like me enough to nominate me?” messages to their friends on social media forums in hopes that other people will see the message and decide to add their book to the list of nominees will probably see their efforts pay off. The authors that are not so good at those tactics will fall by the wayside. The funny thing is the authors that are being up front and honest about it don’t bother me at all. If you tweet saying that your short story in X publication can be considered for nomination, chances are I will check out your story and think about nominating you. But if you are going to try to be subtle and tell me you can’t believe that lots of people are nominating your book for X award, I’m going to chuck a shoe at my computer screen.
Maybe this all bothers me so much because a small, naïve part of me that wants these awards to really mean something more than being a personal popularity and political strategy contest. Last year I wrote a post asking if awards matter. Most people said they only mattered to publishers, which might be true. Maybe we as authors are so desperate to capture our publisher’s wandering attention that we feel the need to set our hair on fire and jump up and down asking people to love us. Maybe that is why self-publishing is so appealing to so many.
God only knows. All I know is that I’m going to grit my teeth for the next couple weeks and wait for the campaigning to pass. Of course, I might be the only one bothered by it. Maybe I’m just out of sorts this week. What do you think? Are the authors you tweet or facebook with asking for your vote? How do you feel about all of this?