Do book awards really matter? Some swear by them while others shrug them off as unimportant. But the truth of the matter is:
1. Book awards attract attention. This is especially important for small presses and little-known authors. According to one site: ”Awards are just about the best publicity you can get ..” Of course, even accomplished authors are thrilled about the larger literary prizes.
2. Book awards generate sales. ”Sales” doesn’t always translate into large sales, but sales nonetheless, and a press is in business to generate sales or they don’t stay in business long, unless they can afford to function in hobby-mode year after year. And I don’t know of many that can.
3. Book awards give the author / publisher affirmation of a job well done. Maybe no one else cares, but at least the author and publisher are shouting at the news that comes in: ”Congratulations on winning the ABC book award in the XYZ genre.” Those emails or phone calls are invaluable.
“Only the test of time will judge whether or not the novels are truly enduring and achieve genuine popularity. Even then, you still can’t please all the people all the time.” Very true. Prize-winner or not, tastes differ and what makes me happy as a reader may not do the same for you.
Are book awards subjective? To some degree, yes, but if a contest is well-run and the judges are informed, I think we can be assured that the top contenders will rise to the surface.
And for the most prestigious awards, does it truly matter who wins, or does even making the list say something significant? Some decry the pretentiousness of awards, while many others celebrate the literary excellence pinpointed by the best book awards.
Of course, one has to ask if those who make the claim that books awards “don’t matter” are less indifferent than jealous, because human nature being what it is, well …
Very happy that Port Yonder Press is a multi-award winning small press; our goal is to pursue the highest ones we can rightfully claim.