Friday 24 October 2014

You Win an Award

The situation: congratulations coming from every direction; a new shiny badge, medal or trophy in your possession.

You feel: excitement; pride.

You may think that once the winners of a competition have been announced, the game is over. Alas, the game has only just begun. Now you must plan your acceptance speech. Readers, competitors and the competition organisers will be waiting to see your reaction.

The standard phrase in such a situation is ‘I didn’t expect to win.’ Even if all the other books had been written upside down, you still didn’t expect to win. If possible, deflect the praise by thanking your editor, cover designer and devoted spouse. This will make you appear thoughtful as well as victorious and may get you a discount on your next proofread. (I’m on to you – Ed.)

Do not say, “I was quietly confident I would get this award and it’s a relief to finally have it confirmed.” Do not say, “I’ve already spent my prize money.” Do not say, “Ha ha, suckers!”

However, modesty has its limits. You must use your success to pimp your work. Your book is no longer, ‘A quite funny book about field mice’; it’s ‘An award-winning book about field mice’. Your blurb no longer starts with ‘Mizzy, 31, is a mouse without a spouse’; it starts with ‘Winner of the 2014 Best Anthropomorphic Book Award’.

If the competition awards a trophy, get a friend to photograph you holding it, preferably with a surprised or comedic expression on your face, and post it to social networks. Find out if the competition organisers have made a blog badge. If so, copy the code into the sidebar of your website, so that it is visible to people whatever post they are reading.

The one time that you should not display a badge or trophy with pride, is if you win a ‘Best Effort’ prize awarded by the Robot-Donkey Porn Guild (unless, of course, your book is about robot-donkeys getting it on). A trivial or bogus-sounding award is more likely to damage than help your career

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