Having won three awards for my High Mountain Sheriff series, while not even making it to the finals in four attempts, and currently awaiting word in four more, perhaps you can see why. I don’t have a settled opinion about awards.
As usual with writing profession questions, I ask John Nesbitt. John’s Wikipedia bio lists his awards (I think it’s a short list). I asked him this question regarding awards. You can see how his opinion really counts.
“I can’t say they have increased my sales,” he said in a conversation I am reconstructing, “but I have committed to this profession, and it is worthwhile to have the respect of my colleagues.” As usual, John does not ask more of a situation than it will give.
So, I don’t dwell on awards not given. It’s like not making the varsity. I’ll still go out for the team next year.
Here’s what’s up this year: for works published in 2022, contention for the Spur Award (Western Writers of America) and contention for the Peacemaker Award (Western Fictioneers) both for my novel, Forever Sheriff, published May 18, 2022, the third volume in the High Mountain Sheriffs trilogy (Founding Sheriff, Fugitive Sheriff, and Forever Sheriff) and contention for my short story, “Sweetwater” published October 3, 2022, in the Western Fictioneers anthology Over Western Trails.
Recognizing awards won has its place as the final note. Gratitude alone requires that I mention them. In 2014, Every Soul Is Free, (published by Pen-L Publishing) was voted Grand Prize Winner in the novel by The League of Utah Writers and awarded the Gold Quill. In 2020, the League of Utah Writers awarded Founding Sheriff (published by Five-Star Publishing) the Gold Quill, and in 2022 LUW’s Silver Quill went to Forever Sheriff (Five-Star Publishing).
I am sorry to say that Fugitive Sheriff won no awards but, ironically, it has had the greatest sales of the novels in the trilogy. Perhaps that result owes to the Covid year when Founding won; perhaps to the announced suspension of Five-Star operations three months after Forever was published. And, of course, it could have resulted from Fugitive’s theme of loyalty to family against all odds, even if polygamous. My gut tells me it had a better run of better marketing, pre-covid.
So, you win some, you lose some, and your winners don’t turn out to be your best sellers. About the only thing to do is try out for the team next year.