Wednesday, June 08, 2005

An Award Nomination is its Own Reward

I got news a little while ago that WHISKEY SOUR was nominated for a Macavity Award for Best First Novel. The Macavitys have been given by Mystery Readers International (www.mysteryreaders.org) since 1987, and are highly regarded in the mystery genre.

I'm thrilled to be considered for the award, even though Harley Jane Kozak is going to smoke me like a pack of Winstons (her debut novel DATING DEAD MEN already won an Agatha Award.)

After she takes the Macavity, later that Bouchercon (www.bouchercon.net) weekend she'll also take the Anthony Award, which we're both nominated for.

And when she's done with that she'll probably also take my car.

But that doesn't bother me, because I'm happy just being nominated.

I've heard that phrase said a million times at awards shows---almost as often as I've heard a victorious sports hero say his superstar effort was all for the team. But it's so true.

As writers, we have two ways to measure our success: sales and awards.

Sales are important, because they allow you to do important things, like eat.

Awards are also important, because they validate those of us, like me, who don't have high sales.

Earlier this year I was nominated for a Gumshoe Award, a Derringer Award, a Love is Murder People's Choice Award, and I made the prelim ballot for the Stoker Award. I won some and lost some. But I was always excited to get nominated.

I write because I love to entertain people, but I chose a medium that doesn't allow me to witness the audience reaction. Being nominated for something means I'm hitting the notes that I'm striving to hit. It's like getting feedback, and feedback is always welcome.

Plus, I'll use any excuse to get together with a bunch of writers and drink.

So come Awards Day, I'll be at a table in my tuxedo with my family and friends, applauding mightly when Harley Jane, or perhaps Sandra Balzo (Uncommon Grounds), wins the Anthony and the Macavity.

My applause will be genuine, without envy. Being nominated is an honor, not an entitlement, and the fact that my book was recognized is more than I ever could have hoped for.

And on the very slight chance that I win something, I really hope the award is made out of something edible, like ham.

Gotta feed my family somehow...