And a brief treatise on book awards in general…
Today, the Eric Hoffer Book Awards posted their list of finalists for the Montaigne Medal – an “additional distinction awarded to the most thought-provoking books” – and color me surprised, Community Klepto made the list! It feels a little strange seeing my book, with all its jokes about naked old ladies and self-motorboating, in a list among PhD-level nonfiction, but I am honored that the judges found it thought-provoking enough to nominate it for the prize.
There are a lot of book award programs out there, some good, some great, and some little more than a scammy money grab. There’s no manual that tells you which awards to apply for, and some don’t even tell you what criteria they’re judging on, so it’s all a bit of a gamble on the part of the author. The average out of pocket cost for award submissions is about $60, so while it’s not an individually expensive gamble, once you apply for half a dozen of them, they add up pretty quick.
The first award program I applied for, I did so in two categories, both of which you of course have to pay for separately: best cover and best title. Because, you know, both of them are pretty badass. I lost both, and to rub a little salt in the wound, one of the titles I lost best title to was “Bittersweet”. I still can’t roll my eyes hard enough, but congratulations to “Bittersweet” or whatever. After that, I lost another award that said it took reviews into account to a book that had only 10 reviews. Justifiably, I think, I was feeling pretty down on book awards and wondered why I bothered putting my name (and money) in all the book award hats I did.
So I was a little floored when I got an email saying that my book was a finalist for a prize I didn’t even enter. Honestly I wondered if it got sent to me by mistake, but nope – my name and the title of my book (which, let’s be honest, is SO much cooler than “Bittersweet”) were right there, plain as day, and when they posted the list of finalists this morning, my name and book title were there, too, so it’s official!
My hat’s still in the ring (why do all these metaphors involve hats?) for a few more awards, and chances are good I will likely lose a lot of them. But I’ve got a win here, and I’ll take it.