Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Voter Based Book Awards

I'm going on a short rant today.

For about 2 weeks now I've been inundated with requests to vote for numerous books, authors and artists. It's that time of year again: voting deadlines for spring book contests are looming on the horizon. This type of spam also occurs when someone is in the running for a website award. I've even been approached to give referrals to businesses I've never heard of.

Look, if you know I've read or reviewed your book, by all means ask away. But what gives you the right to spam everyone in your address book or those who happen to belong to the same association as you? The decent thing to do is post a notice with your various groups (as per their guidelines) and contact only those individuals you know who have bought your book.

And don't tell me you can't do what I've suggested: I have a record of every person (outside brick and mortar bookstores) who has ever bought one of my books. You, as a business person, should have a similar data base.

Besides, what's the real worth of an award granted to the best schmoozer? If you want recognition of lasting value, then earn it; don't turn your opportunity into a popularity contest. It not only cheapens you, it's dishonest.

I vote in these contests (I'm not a fan of them, and I don't participate) when an author who knows I've read their book(s) or have seen their art or have done business with them asks me to. It's important to lend a hand up when you can, to support your colleagues. But I say this: it's more important to be honest.

The whole thing comes down to a choice between right and wrong. Make the wrong choice (and you already knew which choice that was) and you reveal desperation and dishonesty. Believe me when I tell you: in the long run you'll do more damage to your credibility than any award can compensate you for.

Copyright © Clayton Clifford Bye 2010

For more of Clayton Bye's writing, visit his website or become a fan.