A notable goal of any author is to be recognized by the industry with an award. Even earning a place as a finalist is an honor, particularly when the contest is known to have many entrants.
But if you win, will you be rich?
Maybe, but probably not right away. Awards are typically granted well after a book has been published. By then, the first blush of excitement and intense book promotion around the initial release are long past. The publisher may create new enthusiasm considering the award. Or maybe not. Will that new passion mean more books sold? Perhaps, but there’s no guarantee.
What about the author’s bio?
From then on, the author can add “award-winning author” to their name on every bio. Some publishers will note the award on subsequent books in their promotional materials and sometimes on future book covers. When readers see that an author has won a specific award, they may be more likely to buy the book because the prize means key people in the industry recognize this author’s work as exemplary. This automatic endorsement can increase sales.
What about discoverability?
Readers who discover an author because of an award and, hence, like the author’s work, may purchase the author’s backlist, adding to the author’s bottom line. Still, any author should consider that award committees and their tastes differ. What appeals greatly to one panel may appeal to only some readers because each prize has its criteria, and each group has differing opinions.
No accounting for taste?
No matter how many awards a book wins, its content may or may not be a match for any number of readers. For instance, a childless reader is unlikely to buy parenting books, and someone looking for a fun beach read may take a pass on a literary novel, no matter what a committee may say.
What about authors who saw no difference in sales after the award?
I’ve met authors whose sales didn’t move once they won a prestigious award. A book can win every accolade in sight; but if consumers don’t resonate with the work or any book the author writes, the prize-winning author may (and probably will) receive more contracts. However, the author’s advance money will likely diminish as sales decrease.
What’s the bottom line?
An award may or may not increase an author’s bottom line. An award is a validation that an author is an excellent writer who deserves to be published and read. No one can ever take that endorsement away from an author. The intangible benefits of honor and prestige can lead to more opportunities to publish and network, among other perks. But as for money? I advise any author not to go on a shopping spree with income they think the award will earn them. Instead, consider any extra revenue, and there may be much, to be a surprise blessing.
May you win many awards and blessings over your career.