Continuum is an annual spec fic convention held in Melbourne. Each year it hosts the Chronos Awards for excellence in speculative fiction by Victorian writers. This year’s Continuum 8 is also the National Science Fiction Convention for 2012. As such it will also host the Ditmar Awards, which are the Australian Science Fiction Achievement Awards — a national version of the Chronos Awards. Then, of course, there are the Aurealis Awards coming up in May. So I’ve been thinking about these awards lately and thought I’d post about them.
I’ve blogged about awards before, looking at the different types of awards (see “Subjective Honour”) or simply reporting winners (see “YABBA dabba do”). This time around I thought I’d give you my perspective as a writer.
In the past, when I wrote short stories and the occasional education market book while working a day job, I didn’t think too much about awards. Yes, I nominated and voted in some awards, and took a passing interest in others. It never particularly concerned me whether I was eligible or not. If someone happened to nominate me, great; if not, so what?
Since writing became my sole career, things have changed. Promoting myself and my books is a part of my job. And awards can help. I now find myself watching the nomination and submission processes of awards that my writing is eligible for. That’s not to say that I obsess over them… I don’t. But I do keep an eye on things and hope that something I’ve written might get a look in.
In 2010, my novel Gamers’ Quest made it onto the ballot for the Chronos Awards… and, to my complete surprise, it won. Aside from the fact that it was really nice getting public acknowledgment for my book, winning the award has helped me to promote the book. My publisher has been able to refer to Gamers’ Quest as an “award-winning book”. I had stickers made up, which gets put on the front cover of copies at promotional events. And those stickers have sold books. Many a time, people have picked up and looked at the book because it has an award sticker on the front cover. It doesn’t matter that the person may never have heard of the award… there is something about an award sticker that will attract attention. As I’m trying to make a living out of my writing, selling more books is rather important to me. 🙂
This year, Gamers’ Challenge is eligible for a number of awards… and so I’m watching the progress of those awards to see if my new novel will make it on to any of the shortlists. The Aurealis Awards shortlist has already been announced, and while Gamers’ Challenge didn’t make it, there are some great books on there — go and take a look. Nominations for the Chronos Awards have closed, and so I now wait to see if it’s made it onto the ballot. And then there are the Ditmar Awards. The nominating period has started and runs until 15 April. I’m hoping someone out there might nominate Gamers’ Challenge.
Will I get onto any of the award ballots this year? Who knows? Will I be devastated if I don’t? No! I most certainly don’t rely on awards for promotion. But if I do get on, it’s one more positive element for my promotion… all of which helps me maintain my writing career.
It’s a tough job, this promotion thing… now, if I could just sell a million copies, then I could afford to hire a publicist. 😉
Catch ya later, George
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