Over on Novel Rocket, one of the premier blogs for Christian fiction fans, novelist Jim Rubart asks the readers whether literary awards influence their choice in reading material. Jim’s newest release, The Chair, was nominated for the Christy Award–the Oscar for Christian Fiction, as he puts it, and he’s right.
Jim is a finalist for the Carol Award too, though in a different category (thank heavens!) from my own Give the Lady a Ride, which is a finalist in the debut novel category. We won’t know how we fared until September, but in the meantime, I wonder, as he does, how much difference an award makes to the reader.
I don’t think most readers know the different awards gifted to winning novelists–things like the Carol, the Rita, the Gumshoe, the Spur. These days, there are other “awards” offered too, many of which are based more on an author’s personality than the quality of his book. Friends and fans go to a site and hit “like” however many times is allowed to pump the author up in the charts until the contest is over and, if he’s popular enough, he’s declared the winner. From that point on, regardless of whether any of his voters have actually read the book, he can claim he’s an award-winning novelist.
Legitimate awards are bestowed to the author by his peers, and even being a finalist is quite an honor. But does it matter to the reader? The things an author dreams of–being on the New York Times best seller list, or on the now defunct Oprah list, or winning one of the top awards in our field–does any of this matter to the reader?
Let me know what you think:
By the way, if you want to see the list of Carol Award finalists along with the book covers, author Cecelia Dowdy went through a lot of trouble to let you do just that. Click on her site, Cecelia’s Christian Fiction Blog, to see the full list.