In my opinion, not too much. Here’s why.
As January nears its end, most of the 2018 Book Awards have wrapped up and released their results. Some I read with joy, others with disdain, and others with total frustration – because the same books and authors were winning most of the awards. Again. And again. And again.
Which can be great when your faves happen to be among those books. But watching authors whose books didn’t even get that much buzz win simply because they’re big names in publishing didn’t sit well with me.
I’m not here to tell you which authors deserve awards and which ones don’t, because that’s partly subjective. I just thought it would be interesting to explore how big these awards really are and should be.
In this post, I’m not referencing awards like the National Book Award or other big ceremonies, where decisions aren’t based on a book community vote, but rather a board of professionals in writing and publishing. Here, I’m more mentioning things like the Goodreads Choice Awards or Epic Reads’ Book Shimmy Awards.
Because the truth is, those are popularity contests.
Think about it: the more people know about a book, the more people are going to vote for it, even if they didn’t love it or haven’t even read it. Even I’ll admit that I hadn’t read a book in every category of the Book Shimmy Awards, but I voted for them because they seemed like a lot of people had talked about them, or they’d gotten a lot of hype in the book community.
This isn’t completely fair to all the other books in those categories that might have actually been much better. But they didn’t receive the same amount of hype.
I love THUG with every bone in my body, but awards should not be organized so that that book can win three times. Instead, the opportunity should be there for other books to have a chance in the spotlight. Especially diverse ones.
Or else, the same authors and the same books win every award, even though they have so much publicity already, they don’t even need it. Or they don’t even deserve it, winning only because they’re big names in publishing, even if their books didn’t make as big of a splash as others in the same category.
I’m not saying we should do away with awards like these. They’re a fun way to wrap up each year, remember all the good books that we read. But the amount of energy we put into the results should be greatly reduced. The winners are those whose books have the most hype and sales, not the books of the best quality.
It’s really easy to get angry when the results come out and the same names pop up over and over, but try not to be. Remember that your faves aren’t losing because a Sarah J. Maas or Victoria Aveyard book is necessarily better – just because it’s vastly more popular.
Some systems aren’t perfect, and this is one of them – where good books fall through the cracks and popular ones reign supreme. I’ve decided to not get angry about results like these anymore. They’re an unfortunate result of contests like these. Ones that, for now, we have to live with.
What do you think about awards such as these? Love ’em? Hate ’em? Do you wish there was a different system for how books were selected? Tell me in the comments! 🙂