Wednesday, January 12, 2011

May the Best Book Win

Contests. Many writers enter them. They are a way to gain clout and recognition in the writing world, even once published. In fact, a number of contests are geared toward published writers. Earning the title of "Best Book" or "Reader's Choice" can help a book entice new readers. All and all a good thing.

But I wonder about some of these contests. Specifically ones in which the judges are readers. You know the type, readers vote online for the the best book out of a group of entries. The book with the most votes wins. Simple. And yet not so.

Often, a writer will call upon their friends and associates to help them out by voting. Which is fine. Unless these people haven't read the book. Unless they are simply voting to help a friend. On the other hand, if all writers do this then what's the harm? But are these contests really a reflection of the best book, or of the writer who has the most friends?

Does it matter? Should we care? And as a writer, is this a hollow victory? Would you, as a writer, be happy winning a contest knowing that your friends and associates put you there? Or would you rather win based on the votes of total strangers?


  1. Yeah, like the little contests they have on Figment. It basically requires you to go and beg people to 'heart' your story, because the winner is the one who gets the most hearts. Their story could be (and often is) a POS, but they still win.

  2. I don't think I could devote all that time to enter contests like that - but then the more reputable ones (like the SIWC ones) all charge entry fees, so... Every once in a while I enter one or the other [g]