Thursday, February 20, 2014

Are Book Awards Helpful or Hurtful?

Well, I was going to review the book I've been reading, but I'm not quite done with it, so I want to tell you that my book cover for Pocket Full of Posies made it to the finals in the February Creme de la Creme contest for InD'Tale magazine.  (Thanks to everyone who voted for me in the semi-finals!)  If you are so inclined and want to vote again in the final round, you can go here  (We're down to the final three! Woohoo!)

I've been asked if winning contests and awards help with book sales and in my opinion, it does because it helps with exposure.  Recently, however, there was an article published about how awards negatively affect books because more people are drawn to the book.  More people read it, whether it's their particular taste of book or not, and with more people reading it that wouldn't normally, the ratings of the book decreases. The conclusion was drawn, then, that awards aren't necessarily a good thing for books.

When I read the article, I wondered how they could accurately study and draw such conclusions.  (You can read the entire article here to find out how they did it.) It also drew to my mind the old adage, "there's no such thing as bad publicity." Raising the profile of a book or author is the goal in most cases, to bring the stories to a wide audience.  Bad reviews will, of course, affect the ratings of the book, but I don't know of many people who rely solely on reviews before they purchase or read a book.  But does that fact invalidate the conclusions drawn in the article?  Maybe it's not relevant if we're only talking about ratings.

Regardless, as an author, I think awards can be validating, and if it draws people to read my book who wouldn't normally, I don't think that's a bad thing.  I like saying I'm an award-winning author.  I may change my mind about the whole thing if I get a bunch of bad reviews after an award because bad reviews can be hurtful.  A catch-22 I suppose.

What do you think? Are awards helpful or hurtful?


Debra Erfert said...

I believe awards can be good for your book. Yes, exposure is a plus, is a must, and how you get that exposure isn't all that important. Getting your name/name of your book out there is what's important.

By the way, I voted, and now Pocket Full of Posies is in the lead with 50% of the votes. You're welcome! :)

Alisa said...

My vote is that they are definitely helpful! If an author is unknown to me, I'm more likely to be interested in them if someone somewhere gave them an award! It definitely has a credibility factor to it...

I know it's easy to get hung up on ratings, but the truth is that I have bought some books because of their 1-star ratings! Especially if someone is rating it a 1 because they thought it was boring because there wasn't anything steamy or erotic in it. On the other hand, I've avoided books because someone rated a book 1-star and added some content warnings that helped me know the book was not for me.

The bottom line is that we all are looking for different things in books... so the more exposure you get, the more likely you are to have people read your book who may not appreciate it! On the other hand, you are also likely to pick up some new fans who will want to buy future books from you, too!

Besides... How cool is it to be able to say you are an award-winning author?

Julie Coulter Bellon said...

Thanks, Debra!

Alisa, that's good to know! I do agree that reviews and ratings can be helpful in deciding whether a book is a good fit for you. I also like recommendations from friends, back blurbs, covers, to get the whole picture, too, you know? And yeah, it IS so cool to say you're an award-winning author. :)

Thanks for the comments! It's fun to talk to other readers.