Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Let's hear it for the awards!

There's been a lot of talk about awards lately. Believe me, there has. Part of this flurry has been the Arthur Ellis Awards at the end of May in Toronto. Upcoming are the Anthony Awards to be given out at Bouchercon 2012, in October in Cleveland.

Every author would love to have an award for a book or a short story. That's human nature...the ultimate acknowledgement in a world where competition for publishing spots is keen and writer esteem can be low. Especially at rewrite time. How wonderful to sit at a computer, puzzling out new dialogue, staring at that award on a shelf, at eye level of course. Great inspiration...and therapy.

I wonder, though...as a reader (and we all are), how important are the awards to you?
I ask this purely out of curiosity. When I had my bookstore, there were certain customers who would come in with lists of the major award winners and want those books. However, more common were the customers who showed a mild interest in the award sticker on a cover. These readers were more interested in what the bookseller had to say about the book or even, what other customers, overhearing the conversation, would add to it.

Word of mouth is always effective, however awards can be looked at as words from the mouths of the judges. And just who might these people be? Some awards are juried by a variety of industry people and authors, a jury of peers; others are reader or fan selected. One relies on the votes of booksellers. All are valid. Because, as I have mentioned, we're all readers at some point or other.

Which brings me back to me question -- does an award make a difference in what you choose to read?

Linda Wiken/Erika Chase

Berkley Prime Crime, now available
READ & BURIED, coming Dec., 2012

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