What with all the new forum categories, I hardly know where to post. This seems like as good a place as any.

After coming back from New York, I started to wonder about awards for mystery writers. There are so many of them that I can't even make a list because I'll leave some off. So my question is, are there too many?

Once upon a time, there were the Edgars. And that was all. I believe that's still the most prestigious award, the one most likely to translate into more sales or better contracts for a writer, particularly in the novel categories. Now, though, it could be that the prestige is a little less, thanks to all the other awards out there.

On the other hand, the more awards there are, the more publicity the books get, even if the other awards aren't hyped quite as much as the Edgars. And we all know that publicity is good for everybody in the field.

So what do you think. Are there too many awards, are there just enough, or do we need more?

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Don't think there can be too many awards. They are about publicity and promotion, of course, but they do mean something regardless of whether the categories have cozies and hardboiled novels competing with each other. They will generally mean that the nominees and winners have been read by someone (or several someones) and the judge thought it was good. Yes, equally good books may well be left off the list and that doesn't seem fair, but philosophically we may say that none of the books actually DESERVE prizes - it's gravy and shouldn't be begrudged.

The alternative to the proliferation of awards would be to have none - no one getting honored or fewer books being honored doesn't seem like the way to go in my opinion.

When I'm approaching a new author who has written a bunch of books, I will often be swayed toward the award winner.

I have no problem with HOW the awards are decided, but I do wish that the methods were a little less opaque to me - perhaps an online source like blackravenpress.com can have a page to explain these things?
Something I was thinking about was that awards should be vetted. If we had an outside group that "approved" awards (The award has an auditable process for selecting a winner) then there could be more confidence in what they represent.

The point you raise that awards influence your book purchasing decision makes this even more important. If an author is having slow sales on a book, what's stopping the author or or a friend from creating an award that the author was guaranteed to win. So, for example, the next book has the banner "Winner of the Kevie Award" on it, that could influence people's purchasing decision.

What happens when people find out it is a rigged award? It diminishes all awards in the genre.
There's no such thing as too many awards - so long as I can win ONE of the damned things some day. Just one... ONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!
So maybe we need MORE awards?
How about a "Todd Robinson Is Really Cool Award". I'd vote for him.
The Thuggies? You could hand out brass knuckles inscribed with the author's name...
I don't think that there are too many awards. The problem that arises is that judging (where the award is judged by a panel) is always going to be selective and is certainly dependent on the tastes of the judges and will never please everybody. Should there be anymore? I don't know! The fact is that in this day and age crime fiction books are still not in my opinion given the merit that they deserve. And that is another topic in itself. Anything that is going to promote/highlight encourage people to read crime fiction books no matter what sub-genre is in my opinion a good thing. With all the hard work that authors put in to their work it would be a shame if they were not recognised for it.
"The fact is that in this day and age crime fiction books are still not in my opinion given the merit that they deserve. And that is another topic in itself. Anything that is going to promote/highlight encourage people to read crime fiction books no matter what sub-genre is in my opinion a good thing."

Ayo, I think it would be wonderful if you started a thread on that other issue, as it's a critical one.

In principle, I agree with you on the second part... But if an award is found to have no credibility I think it either won't help or will actually hurt. I notice this attitude with rejecting stories - some people argue we're idiots to reject them and don't know what 'good' is. Some people accuse us of being unethical.

And some people say right off if their story isn't good enough to make the cut they don't want to be there, because they don't want to be carried.

it's only the last group I'm concerning myself with in this equation - these people would be hurt to find out they got an award in some undeserving fashion.

We've put the idea of Spinetingler awards back on the table, officially, and are talking it through. We'll be keeping quiet (I think) on the details of how we're proposing to handle the judging. I had balked at the idea of considering it, because a little while ago someone accused the Agathas of being sexist because no men were nominated. The person hadn't looked up the fact that the nomination lists are determined by fan votes by those attending the convention. Unfortunately, even when the process is stated clearly and an effort is made to be upright about it people still sling mud without getting their facts in order. I really don't want to add award headaches to my list if they won't do anything to help anyone and we just get attacked over it.
No matter how the process is worked out, somebody won't like it. That's a given.

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