When I see this associated with any author and not a bag of flour I cringe and immediately get all pissy.
It seems, methinks, that every author I come across has won some kind of award.
My blog won a Liebster Award in 2013. Does that make me “award-winning?”
Oh, and I did take second place in a PPWC writing contest way back in ’92.
Now, I’m not trying to diminish everyone’s hard-won and legitimate successes, I’m really not, but it just really bugs me that I see so many “award winning” authors out there that, well, have awards from places I’ve never heard of or are awards that are, what I consider, kinda “incestuous” to only the organization “awarding” it.
Or such books are so labeled and I’ve never heard of them.
Or, you know, that they’re labeled at all.
It doesn’t even matter the reasoning behind it…it just annoys me on principle.
Yeah. It does.
I mean, “Hugo winner” used to mean something until I read Bob Mayer’s post. Same with NYT’s and WSJ’s Best seller lists, when I read somewhere how these are “fixed” (wish I could find that article but this one will serve the point). I just don’t believe much in any award-winning labels anymore.
Except for flour. The stuff that works really, really well. And tastes good, too.
I’ve read some “award winners” and wasn’t all that impressed with most of what I’ve read (not counting Hugo winners when I was a kid; it seemed that might have meant something back in the day…but I’ve also found when I tried to reread some of the fiction I read as a kid that I thought had been great…that the writing actually wasn’t all that well-written, so am still kinda up-in-the-air about the whole thing…)
I’ve removed the Liebster award image from my blog. I felt weird putting it there in the first place and have wanted to remove it for a while and just never got to it. It was fun answering the questions and nominating others I thought really deserved it—and I truly thank and appreciate the guy who nominated me for it, I really do, that was très cool of you, Samir—but I really don’t want to get into all that “award labeling.” I’ve never been one for “pomp and circumstance” (not a fan of it while in the military…still not). Let the “thing” (whatever it is) stand and speak for itself.
I mean, do you ever really see or hear anything about “Stephen King, award-winning author…”? No. All you hear is:
Then you pee your pants, clean up, know exactly what is meant by “Stephen King” (his name is always italicized). You don’t need any adjectives or adverbs or whatever those modifier-thingees are supposed to be called before or after his name.
That’s what I’m talkin’ about.
Okay, okay, I know…there’s also the whole “best selling” debate, and King and others have been so labeled, but that kinda dilutes my whole argument so I’m just gonna ignore it. My blog, my topics.
The upshot of either discussion is that I don’t want to be coached into what you’re bringing to the table…I just want to see what your words do to me.
I want to read the jacket copy…take in the cover…check out what’s between the covers (kinda like checking out what’s between a person’s ears…). Now, I don’t have to like what’s between the covers…but I can certainly appreciate the wielded skill. I feel that way about a couple of authors I’ve read—damn good authors but don’t like what they write. I really can appreciate kick-ass writing even if I don’t like the content.
Yet (<sigh>)…I know it’s all about promotion and marketing annnd whatnot.
I know being on a best-seller list means more money to authors. I’ve read that readers like to see that kinda stuff on covers…but I gotta say, I just don’t know that I believe it. That readers really care whether or not “award-winning” (or “best selling”) graces the cover of any book. What I’ve got from my informal survey of the 3.5 people I’ve asked such questions of was that, no, they really don’t care. They just want a good story—in some manner—that grabs them. makes em cry, angry, or emote and associate in some way with the story. In some manner. I think it’s the media and the publishing industry that cares about what’s on covers. When I was a young kid buying books the only thing I cared about on the covers were how frigging cool the images and graphics were! As an “aware” adult author/reader the only thing I care about on the cover is how fricking cool the images and graphics are! Sorry, but I have to side with Franzen, here, I really don’t want an Oprah sticker taking up space on any cool cover graphics!
What the heck’s behind the sticker? Like author intrusion into a story, such embellishments intrude into the weltanshauung of the cover!
Is Oprah adrift and in the boat with that tiger and that guy?
Did Oprah just give the dirty and barefoot and smiling 1930’s kid money?
So, nothing against Oprah or all the authors who received hard-won accolades for their efforts—we all like to think we’re making a difference in this world—but, in the end…whenever I hear that someone is “award-winning”… I just automatically think of them as being nothing more than