Do Awards = Sales?

How much impact on sales volume does being an award winner (such as a the Whitney awards) make?

Is there a place to find out how many books a certain author sells? Or publisher?

The answer to the first question is “I don’t know” because the answer to the second question is “No.”

Most publishers do not give good information on their sales. They might tell you that a particular book has sold over X number of copies, but that’s about it. Or they might claim a book is a best-seller, which could mean that it’s hit an unspecified sales level or that it’s simply sold more copies than the other books they publish. No one knows.

An author might be willing to give specifics on sales if they’re having a one-on-one conversation with you, but there’s no way to check the accuracy of those numbers. Also, their numbers will run anywhere from three months to a full year behind, depending on how their publisher pays royalties.

As far as awards boosting sales, in general, an award will have a positive influence on sales. All things being equal, a customer tends to believe that if a book got an award, it must be good. Obviously, a Newbery is going to really boost sales. A Whitney, not as much, due to market size.

Any Whitney winners want to comment on how they feel the award impacted their book sales?

Are the AML/Whitney Awards Redundant?

In response to the announcement of the AML Awards, a reader commented:

Do you think a second doubler would be good for the awards or damaging? It was a surprise last year as the whole point of the Whitney’s was to add a more populist perspective to LDS awards. If we have a doubler again this year, will it make having two awards seem somewhat redundant? What do you think?

I don’t see it as a problem—and to me, your question sounds like a backhanded slam on readers of popular fiction. They couldn’t possibly enjoy the same fiction that high-brow, snooty, elitists enjoy, could they?


The Whitney’s are based on popular vote. I think that as the industry continues to grow and more LDS “literary” fiction is produced, we might see a parting of the ways between these two awards. But when the field is limited as it currently is, it doesn’t surprise me that both voting groups may select the same winners for Novel of the Year.

Also, the AML Awards and the Whitney Awards only crossover in two categories—Novel (which the Whitneys subdivide into 7 categories) and Youth Fiction. While they may end up awarding the same novel Best of the Year (or not), I don’t think they’ll agree on the Youth Fiction category. The Whitney’s also allow for other genre fiction to get attention and awards.

So what do I think? I think both awards are cool and no, I don’t think they’re redundant.

Oh, and P.S.—

I don’t know if this is a problem on my side (I have a similar problem with writers blogck), but in order to read the text in the current colors I first have to highlight it. The brown on darker brown is impossible.

On all of the 7 computers to which I have access and tested these websites, the posts are not brown on darker brown. They are brick red headers, lighter red links, and dark gray text on an off white background. The menu at the top and in the sidebar is the same brick red text on a very light rose background. So, I don’t know what to tell you.

AML Awards Announced

The Association for Mormon Letters just announced their 2008 award winners. They are:

Neil Aitken , The Lost Country of Sight (Anhinga Press)

Warren Hatch, Mapping the Bones of the World (Signature Books)

Short Fiction:
Stephen Tuttle, “Amanuensis” (Hayden’s Ferry Review)

Angela Hallstrom, Bound on Earth (Parables)

Youth Fiction:
Brandon Mull, Fablehaven: The Grip of the Shadow Plague (Shadow Mountain)

James Goldberg, Prodigal Son

Personal Essay:
Patrick Madden , “A Brief Push Behind the Heart”
(Best Literary Non-fiction, vol. 2, W. W. Norton and Company)

Stephen Carter, “Calling” (Sunstone)

Christian Vuissa, Errand of Angels

Ron Williams, Happy Valley

Special Award in Criticism:
Alan F. Keele

Special Award in Textual Criticism and Bibliography:
Dean C. Jessee, Mark Ashurst-McGee, Richard L. Jensen, The Joseph Smith Papers, Journals Series, vol. 1, Journals 1832-1839 (Church Historian’s Press)

Special Award in History:
Richard E. Turley, Jr., Glen M. Leonard, and Ronald W. Walker, Massacre at Mountain Meadows (Oxford University Press)

Smith-Petit Foundation Award for Outstanding Contribution to Mormon Letters:
Douglas H. Thayer

Lifetime AML Membership:
Terryl L. Givens

Last year, the same novel (On the Road to Heaven by Coke Newell) won both the AML award and the Whitney award. It will be interesting to see if Bound On Earth does the same this year.

You Like Me, You Really Like Me!

The Thoughtful Blogger Award is for those who answer blog comments, emails, and make their visitors feel at home on their blogs. For the people who take others’ feelings into consideration before speaking out and who are kind and courteous. Also for all of those bloggers who spend so much of their time helping other bloggers design, improve, and fix their sites. This award is for those generous bloggers who think of others.

Tristi gave me an award. That was very sweet and thoughtful of her. Maybe all those posts about blogging weren’t a waste of time after all.

It looks like now I’m supposed to pass this award along to others. I would give it to Tristi because she comments here a lot and is always trying to be helpful and answer questions from her perspective—but she already has it.

This is tough because a lot of you have been sweet and kind and helpful to each other here on this blog. I thought about it a long time. I’m awarding the Thoughtful Blogger Award to two blogs:

The gals at Writing on the Wall for all their specific help on developing writing as a craft. I check them out periodically and agree with their advice about 97% of the time.

Also to the gang at Six LDS Writers and a Frog for letting us share the ups and downs of a writers journey.

So someone from those two sites come get your award. Just copy and paste the image into your blog, then pass it along to someone else.