Awards can be a beautiful thing. For authors, they can be a sign of appreciation from your readers and receiving one is truly an honor.
The problem? It usually doesn’t work out that way. There are some genuine ones out there, so don’t get me wrong, but here are the cold truths about the vast majority, in my opinion:
- They’re straight-up a popularity contest to see how many friends you can get to go to a site and click on your name. Where’s the honor in that?
They’re from a convention who uses the awards to attract people, or to bait you into showing up where you might otherwise refuse due to hectic schedules, etc.
They’re from an organization who uses it to get due-paying members to join with hopes of winning it, or they give it to famous people in hopes they’ll show up and make them look better (so more people will join, paying dues, etc.).
In all three, you get people rubbing up on everyone to recommend or vote on their books to the point that it’s rather sickening.
They’re the equivalent of a teacher sticking a gold star to your forehead at the end of the day because you didn’t step out of line. I’m not trying to take the fire out of those who have won an award. Congratulations! But seriously, the only real meaning that it has is what you put into it. People reading your book get just as much out of it as they did before it won anything, and that experience will always be the most important reward.
Everything else is merely ego stroking.
And speaking of that, I have screen grabs to share! Shit, I seem to be on a roll for getting into spats this year. I don’t intend to – I only speak my mind on a subject and yes, I’m rather blunt, but apparently, there are some people who are not accustomed to it. I’m trying to behave – seriously! – but already, there has been Ellen Datlow, Craig Spector recently (I’m still scratching my head over that one – scroll to the bottom of the linked post), and below is where Mort Castle really didn’t like my calling the Bram Stoker Awards for what I thought they were.
Just when I thought the thread was dying away, someone else came along to say how evil it was to refuse taking a material object so seriously. Then more joking ensued, until finally it appeared the sockpuppet coming after everyone accidentally signed in under her real name (I’m guessing) and when I asked if this was the case, not only did the person delete her posts, but the thread was deleted, which means that after weeks of this thing going on, someone complained to have it taken down. Methinks a sockpuppet didn’t like the Scooby gang pulling the mask off, but again, I’m only guessing.
Anyway, I kept wandering off to do my own thing and these folks’ egos simply couldn’t let some jokes about their precious award go, bringing it -and me- back full circle repeatedly until they got themselves in trouble. This is how bad the sickness can get. See for yourselves (just click on them a few times to enlarge):
Wow, that’s a lot of drama. Well, a large chunk of it was merely people trying to have fun despite the drama, most likely in hopes that it would go away. But nope, someone would come back. If they had something constructive to say, cool! Or if they want to join in the fun, awesome! But seriously, all that over a silly little house statue?
Anyway, I’m honestly trying to avoid drama. I’m not allowed the stress or THIS happens. But hey, you know how it is: If you want to start a fight on the Internet, just type something, then wait. And heaven forbid if you have an opinion.
So, as I’d said somewhere in that big debate: Get together and enjoy each others’ work. Celebrate the arts! But please, keep it in your pants. Yes, I said it. Awards are phallic symbols. Think about it.