Sunday, July 22, 2007

Aurealis Awards, but seriously.

There's been some talk about the Aurealis Awards lately. And that got me thinking, about what my AA means to me.

I love my Aurealis award - note the gollumesque finger smudges - whether or not I deserve it, it sits on my bookcase of glory, and it's just cool.

What does it mean? It's an award booksellers have heard of. Well, if you work in the books in Australia. Publishers send their reps to the ceremonies, and they like to put those little Aurealis Award winner stickers on the books. Once you get out of the specialty stores, where the bulk of people buy their books (excluding those that buy them in supermarkets) I can tell you more people (in the trade) know about the Aurealis awards than any of the international awards. It has value as a brand, which is a horrible word, but it's true. Is that in any way meaningful? I don't know. But if you're clever enough and you have the material to back it up, it could help leverage your work into bookstores beyond the specialty ones. Or maybe not.

Does it say anything about my work?

No, other than than a group of judges read my story, and liked it. Personally I liked all of the SF stories short listed that year much more than "Slow and Ache" but that story was a long time in being written and all I can see are its flaws.

Does it change your life?

Does winning any award change your life? No. Except for Margo Lanagan who has won so many awards that she has super powers, and needed to build a Fortress of Solitude (For all the awards, and and as a base for her super-villian fighting antics: there's rockets and all sorts of shit there, and a mainframe computer with a smart-cracking PERSONALITY). For the rest of us you still sit in your room, putting the words on the page, because that's what writing's about.
It's probably the only time I'm ever going to win a writing award, but I'm cool with that, because I don't write to win awards, and I don't write to have people pat me on the back and say, "good work, Trent" but when you win one it's damn good.

When I won I was utterly surprised, and delighted. Diana and I had been through a hellishly bad year (and there was more to come) and we were both worn out and wounded. Diana was absolutely bursting with pride, and I was just so happy that she was there to share the win with me. It was one of the finest evenings of my life.

I'd like to see more authors get a chance to feel that way. So check out the webpage and start nominating stories*. I'm looking forward to seeing the short-listings already.
*Otherwise I'm going to have to host my own awards ceremony called the Trenties, but then I'm going to have appoint judges, set up a system of nominations, and, the headaches, far too many headaches.


Cat Sparks said...

OOh! I vote for the Trenties! But what would the statue look like? I reckon it would be something bulbous and obscure like Fran had in that episode of Black Books where she couldn't work out what it was she was selling

Trent Jamieson said...

That would be perfect! If we could track down those things it would also double as a lighter, and I'm all for utilitarian awards.

Geoffrey Maloney said...

Can I nominate "Portrait of a Corny Writer" for a Trentie?

Blue Tyson said...

MacGyver could maybe use that thing to start fires and beat bad guys by the look of it. :)

Trent Jamieson said...

Hah! Next time I'm out of matches...

Adrian said...

Hmm, and Trentie-winners could be known as "Trent-setters" or something similarly slick. It could work!

I came here from Lee Battersby's blog, and wanted to read what you had to say about the Aurealis Awards. I had very similar feelings/reactions to winning my AA in 2006 (for Best Novel): it was the best damn night of my life, pretty much. My wife, like your partner, was thrilled to bits; my parents (who put up with my endless typing for hours and hours a day when I was younger and trying hard) were ecstatic! Though probably even happier and more excited than anybody here were my publisher and his wife, who phoned me that night from Canada and they were fit to burst with joy (it was a little scary, to be honest, how pleased they were)!

And yes, it does help sell books. At LA Con IV last year, where I was launching my most recent book, my publisher had the AA-winning book available, and they were telling EVERYBODY in coo-ee that this book had won this great shiny award--and people did buy the book on the strength of that recommendation. Yes, the book has problems, for sure, but that award has been very good to me.

Excellent post!

--Adrian ("K.A.") Bedford

Trent Jamieson said...

Thanks Adrian.

Awards are like rain Here, you never know when it's coming, and you certainly have no control over it, but it's bloody enjoyable when it comes. Hmm, what an awful metaphor, but we've had a day of good soaking rain, and I've been spending far too long in front of the computer.