Tuesday, May 21, 2019

At what point do awards become too old to be relevant?

 Scooped up from the comment section yesterday:

At what point do awards become too old to be relevant (for the bio section of your query)?

It depends.
That's pretty much the answer to everything of course, so the next question is depends on what?

The what is the significance of the award. Win an Oscar? It's never too old to be irrelevant. In publishing, that's the equivalent of a Pulitzer or a National Book Award or the National Book Critics Circle Award.  Those are evergreen.

NYT Bestseller is evergreen for #1 of course, and more green for every week you held off the riffraff trying to topple you.

The bigger the prize or accolade, the greener.

Things that are pretty useless to mention, but sure won't hurt you are things like conference prizes, Amazon Breakout novel short list.

What will hurt you is mentioning a faux prize.
Faux prizes are the ones that want big money up front to enter; have so many categories that being in the top three probably means only three books were in the category, and have no prestige what so ever.

These prizes are intended ONLY to make money for the organizers. 

The New York Festival of Books is a great example.
The organizers have a LA phone number.
Lots of categories.
They publish a list of winners; I've never heard of any of them.
(Notice the conspicuous absence of PUBLISHER names by the titles?)

Telling me you won this prize is a big red flag. It means you're not only wet behind the ears, you didn't do much research before entering.




10 comments:

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Of course, winning one of the flash fiction contests here is evergreen. There is nothing more prestigious. Right?

I mean, steve Forti is kind of an award all his own. As for the truly prestigious awards, I am guessing you probably already have an agent if you have a Pulitzer or a Hugo.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

So, I guess I am to assume that (regarding a mention) the ten directives lasered into stone by the super electrified finger of you-know-who may be considered a bit ancient but still relevant. Considering the pre-worldwide publication rewards bestowed upon the recipients, mentioning the author might be a crapshoot in this day and age. I say go for it. The alternative is a devil of a hot issue.

The Noise In Space said...

What? You mean I have to toss out this old and very minor Georgia Press Association award from 12 years ago? ;)

Thank you for answering!

PAH said...

Man. Feel bad for people entering those types of contests and winning... they are probably on top of the world. Not only are they "Scams" but they actually HURT you when mentioning in a query. Shame!

Panda in Chief said...

I guess my Crystal Cuppycake Award for Panda Satire does not carry much weight.
Sad.

CED said...

I think E. M. Goldsmith is onto something. The real key is to be so good, they name the award after you!

www.SapphosTorque.com said...

I'm guessing the Writer's Digest Book Awards, which have numerous categories and cost $99 to enter, is also a faux prize?

Elissa M said...

My guess is that any award that readers have heard about and that could conceivably increase sales (in other words--something to be featured on cover copy) would always be worth mentioning.

Awards that publishing professionals know about and consider indicative of your skill would also be worth a mention.

Awards that are the equivalent of buying a spot in someone's "Who's Who" publication probably don't need to be brought up.

Craig F said...

This exercise was meant to point out viable publishing credits for querying writers. It is not aimed at inexpensive advertising for those already published.

I think I get the point. Now all I need is to secure some such prize, or write a sox knocker that makes pub cred moot.

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