Writers are an insecure lot. Many of us manage not to show it to the general public most of the time, but the truth is, creative minds and hearts are a sensitive bunch. If we get 100 reader letters, telling us that our work is wonderful, and one reader letter, saying our work stinks, we will obsess on that one negative letter for days and weeks, even months and years. I won’t even talk about some of the nasty reviews that get posted anonymously on Amazon.com!
From now through July is the major award season in publishing. There are a few contests that run during other months, but most contests are announcing finalists from now through May with winners announced in June and July. Last week, the RITA finalists were announced. Two of my books have won this award in the past. Five others have been finalist books. This year, no phone call. I was disappointed because Beyond the Shadows is a book I so wanted to be recognized. I guess it wasn’t enough of a romance for the judges. Or the alcoholic storyline was too gritty. Or they didn’t like first person. Or there were just six or seven books that they felt were better.
Judging, like reading, is totally subjective. Some judges will love books, some will hate them, some will be indifferent. It’s just the way it goes. I was a judge of books in other categories. Two of the books that I gave really high scores to and I was sure would be finalists in their categories weren’t nominated either, which means the other judges in the panel didn’t feel the same way about those books. It’s good to remind myself of this.
This morning I got a phone call. Both Beyond the Shadows and Catching Katie are finalists in the Holt Medallion contest. Disappointment last week. Excitement this week. In the end, the awards make little difference. They don’t increase sales. They don’t guarantee an author a new contract. Yet, even knowing this, most authors desire (at least secretly) that confirmation an award temporarily brings with it.
Oh, we really are an insecure lot. (Note to aspiring authors: It doesn’t get better after publication. Trust me on this!)