Author Topic: Would you use being shortlisted for an award to promote a book?  (Read 481 times)  

Offline Masha du Toit

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I was recently shortlisted for a book award - now I'm wondering whether this is something I can use in that book's promotional material.

The award is new (this is the second year it's existed), so nobody will recognise it, (it's the Ilube Nommo award for "best speculative fiction by an African") but I think it's fairly prestigious - to give you an idea Tor.com had a little article on it listing the names of everyone who was shortlisted so it's not, you know, just a noddy-badge. :P

I'm thinking of including "shortlisted for x award" in the book description, and possibly in some cases, in my author bio. Or would that look lame? Would you only do that if you actually WIN the award?  :)

Masha du Toit

Offline Puddleduck

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Re: Would you use being shortlisted for an award to promote a book?
« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2018, 07:05:18 AM »
I personally wouldn't, no. I don't think most readers care about awards, especially ones they've never heard of, especially when the book hasn't even actually won it. And personally, as a reader, I think bragging about it comes off as kind of pretentious. Not sure how many other readers feel the same way.

I think awards (in most genres/subgenres) are useful in that if someone is interested in the award and looking at who's won or who's been nominated, that could lead them to your book. I don't think they're of value going the other way, where someone's already looking at your book and doesn't already know about the award.

Offline Masha du Toit

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Re: Would you use being shortlisted for an award to promote a book?
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2018, 07:07:47 AM »
I personally wouldn't, no. I don't think most readers care about awards, especially ones they've never heard of, especially when the book hasn't even actually won it. And personally, as a reader, I think bragging about it comes off as kind of pretentious. Not sure how many other readers feel the same way.

I think awards (in most genres/subgenres) are useful in that if someone is interested in the award and looking at who's won or who's been nominated, that could lead them to your book. I don't think they're of value going the other way, where someone's already looking at your book and doesn't already know about the award.

Yes that's kind of what I was thinking. I know as a reader, I don't really care about awards, except maybe the big ones like the Hugo.

Masha du Toit

Offline Bards and Sages (Julie)

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Re: Would you use being shortlisted for an award to promote a book?
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2018, 07:08:45 AM »
I can only share my own opinion on the matter.

If you had nothing to do with being selected or short-listed, the answer is most definitely yes.

If you nominated yourself, but an independent group short-listed you from a pool of lots of other authors, the answer is most likely yes.

If you nominated yourself, and "everyone" is considered short-listed...no.

The average reader doesn't make these distinctions and doesn't know the nuances of the awards industry (and, yeah, it is an industry). It is just a personal thing for me. I get a slimy feeling whenever I hear someone plug "Nominated for..." when I KNOW that nomination just means you paid an entry fee and self-entered.

But if total strangers put your name up for consideration and then short-listed you, by all means you should sing that out.

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Offline Masha du Toit

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Re: Would you use being shortlisted for an award to promote a book?
« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2018, 07:25:16 AM »
I can only share my own opinion on the matter.

If you had nothing to do with being selected or short-listed, the answer is most definitely yes.

If you nominated yourself, but an independent group short-listed you from a pool of lots of other authors, the answer is most likely yes.

If you nominated yourself, and "everyone" is considered short-listed...no.

The average reader doesn't make these distinctions and doesn't know the nuances of the awards industry (and, yeah, it is an industry). It is just a personal thing for me. I get a slimy feeling whenever I hear someone plug "Nominated for..." when I KNOW that nomination just means you paid an entry fee and self-entered.

But if total strangers put your name up for consideration and then short-listed you, by all means you should sing that out.

That's interesting.
 I didn't even know my book was nominated when I got the notice that it's been shortlisted so - yep - I didn't have anything to do with getting shortlisted.

Masha du Toit

Offline Elizabeth Barone

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Re: Would you use being shortlisted for an award to promote a book?
« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2018, 08:52:17 AM »
Heck yes, I would -- if it was a well-known enough award for readers to care. In 2012, my book was a quarterfinalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest (now defunct). Readers voted on the books who made it to the next round, and it got a Publishers Weekly review and good feedback, so of course I mentioned it in my author bio and on my website. Every bit of good publicity helps.

Being that Tor mentioned it, I'd definitely share the article on your social media and add it to your blurb.

Congratulations!

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Offline David Chill

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Re: Would you use being shortlisted for an award to promote a book?
« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2018, 09:21:55 AM »
I would do it, I see nothing wrong with saying you were a finalist for a  ___ award. A lot depends on what other tools you have to promote yourself. If you're just starting out, this is one way of trying to establish legitimacy.

A few years ago I got 3rd place in a contest for best first private eye mystery. Technically I was an award winner, even though 1st prize was getting a publishing deal with a major NY house, and 3rd prize was just getting a very nice letter.

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Offline SA_Soule

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Re: Would you use being shortlisted for an award to promote a book?
« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2018, 05:44:04 PM »
I would do it.

I had a novel nominated for an award for best "wizard and witch" book by The Romance Reviews in 2011. I didn't win, but I still felt honored to have been nominated. ;-)

Offline Jack Krenneck

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Re: Would you use being shortlisted for an award to promote a book?
« Reply #8 on: April 23, 2018, 06:26:42 PM »
Bookbub did some research on this.

As a concept, including accolades in a blurb is a good marketing tool -- depending on the accolade. They go into details about what type of accolade works best. But essentially, wining an award would likely improve sales. So would an award name that signifies genre.

If I were you, I would definitely include it in your bio. In the blurb itself? In this case, I don't see it increasing sales. But it might displace a better hook in the tagline or at the end, so I would omit it.

https://insights.bookbub.com/the-anatomy-of-a-bookbub-blurb-ebook-description-copy-tips/

Online CoraBuhlert

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Re: Would you use being shortlisted for an award to promote a book?
« Reply #9 on: April 23, 2018, 10:11:26 PM »
The Nommo Awards may be new, but they're pretty prestigious and big genre outlets such as Locus or Tor.com mention the shortlist and the results. So I would definitely mention that you'd been shortlisted.

The relative prestige and renown of the award also plays a role. If you got nominated for a Hugo, Nebula, Rita, Edgar, Pulitzer, etc..., yes, of course mention it. If it's a respected national award from a non-US country (i.e. the Aurealis and Sir Julius Vogel Awards, the Kurd Lasswitz Preis or the Ngaio March Awards), I would mention it as well. IMO, the Nommo Awards fall into the latter category. However, if it's a regional award, I'd be cautious. Some regional awards are well respected, i.e. the Compton Crook Award in SFF. However, being voted "Book of the Year" by the literary society of East Dogpoo, Nebraska, probably isn't worth mentioning.

As for newer and less established awards, some of them are serious awards, either juried or fan voted, such as Julie's e-Festival of Words Awards or the Nommos and are worth mentioning. Other newish awards are pay to play awards where you can nominate yourself and where everybody wins, who pays the entry fee. Mentioning a rip-off award like that is mostly just embarrassing. In general, Julie offers a good guideline. If it's a pay to play award and/or you nominated yourself and/or got all your friends to nominate you, I wouldn't mention it. However, if you had little to nothing to do with your nomination (i.e. it's okay if you, your family or friends nominate you or vote for you, but they shouldn't be enough to get you on the shortlist), I would mention it.

Congrats on the Nommo nomination BTW. I posted a link to the Nommo shortlist in the latest link round-up at the Speculative Fiction Showcase, but I must have missed your name.


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Offline Masha du Toit

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Re: Would you use being shortlisted for an award to promote a book?
« Reply #10 on: April 24, 2018, 01:28:23 AM »
Thanks everyone :) !

That's an excellent link, Jack. Writing book descriptions has always been one of my weakest areas and this seems to be based on some solid research.

I'm thinking for a shortlisted book, including it in an author bio makes sense. I'm not so sure about the book description anymore, unless it's a venue that's specific to African fiction or where people are likely to know what the Nommo awards are, as you say, Cora :)

Masha du Toit

Offline DIAMONDSINTHESKY

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Re: Would you use being shortlisted for an award to promote a book?
« Reply #11 on: April 24, 2018, 02:34:40 AM »
Congrats on your nomination. Personally, I think if its a legitimate affair and it certainly sounds like it, then sing from the rooftops.

It's true that many readers may not even care but certainly, some might or at least look twice, you might as well fire every string from your bow.

Offline Acheknia

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Re: Would you use being shortlisted for an award to promote a book?
« Reply #12 on: April 24, 2018, 02:41:36 AM »
That's interesting.
 I didn't even know my book was nominated when I got the notice that it's been shortlisted so - yep - I didn't have anything to do with getting shortlisted.

No harm in a little Tweet or FB mention, it might help :)

Online Simon Haynes

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Re: Would you use being shortlisted for an award to promote a book?
« Reply #13 on: April 24, 2018, 04:25:07 AM »
If it's a respected national award from a non-US country (i.e. the Aurealis and Sir Julius Vogel Awards, the Kurd Lasswitz Preis or the Ngaio March Awards), I would mention it as well.

It's funny, after 8 years or so I finally added the Aurealis Award winner badge to the cover of one of my short stories, and the Aurealis shortlist badge to one of my novels.

I always thought someone would read the things and go 'how did THIS win an award?', but then I realised to read it, first they have to buy it ...


« Last Edit: April 24, 2018, 04:33:05 AM by Simon Haynes »


Sierra Bravo all but done. Robot vs Dragons is next!

Offline Masha du Toit

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Re: Would you use being shortlisted for an award to promote a book?
« Reply #14 on: April 24, 2018, 06:06:10 AM »
It's funny, after 8 years or so I finally added the Aurealis Award winner badge to the cover of one of my short stories, and the Aurealis shortlist badge to one of my novels.

I always thought someone would read the things and go 'how did THIS win an award?', but then I realised to read it, first they have to buy it ...




...and by then it's too late! :) 

Masha du Toit

Online Simon Haynes

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Re: Would you use being shortlisted for an award to promote a book?
« Reply #15 on: April 24, 2018, 06:12:58 AM »
...and by then it's too late! :) 

Exactly! Like many authors I suffer from imposter syndrome. Sooner or later someone will prove I'm crap at what I do, and then I'll stick to writing computer software.

In the meantime I keep writing, all the while waiting for that stream of 1-star reviews I just know 'real' reviewers will bestow on my work once they find out I've dared to publish it ;-)



Sierra Bravo all but done. Robot vs Dragons is next!

Offline notjohn

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Re: Would you use being shortlisted for an award to promote a book?
« Reply #16 on: April 24, 2018, 06:26:16 AM »
Being shortlisted for the Booker award is almost the equivalent in Britain of being able to add VC after one's name.

However, being shortlisted for the North Dakota Fish & Game Writers Award is something else entirely. The question you should ask yourself is: will people be impressed by this, or will they roll their eyes? If the latter, stay away from it.
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