Monday, January 23, 2012

Do We Need The Book Academy Awards?

For a multi-billion dollar industry, book publishing lacks cache when it comes to awards.  Sure, authors can get the Pulitzer Prize, but I’d love to see publishing develop an award that is so cool and meaningful that it gets televised.  Publishing needs its Super Bowl, its Grammys, its Oscars.

Right now, there are few book-related awards that those in book publishing really know of and almost none of these awards mean anything to consumers.  But wouldn’t it be great for the industry if it formalized and rallied around one meaningful award that got celebrated by the masses?

Many awards are out there.  For independent publishers these come to mind:

  • Benjamin Franklin Awards
  • ForeWord Reviews Awards
  • IPPY Awards
  • Writer’s Digest Awards
  • Indie Book Awards

On a bigger scale there’s the:

  • Pulitzer Prize
  • Nobel Prize
  • Pen/Faulkner Award
  • National Book Critics Award
  • National Book Awards

A more complete list can be found in sources like The Literary Marketplace or just Google “Book Awards” and see what pops up. Authors and publishers seek validation and legitimacy when they pay application fees for these awards.  They want to win or at least “qualify as a finalist so they can put a sticker on their book or refer to a book as being by an “award-winning author.”  But until there is one major award-giving body that establishes legitimate criteria for an award, most of these awards fail to excite the industry and consumers.

But I guess we need to work within the current system and if you really value winning an award by all means apply to as many as you can find and afford.  But I would ask around to see who values which awards.  Ask a publisher, a literary agent, an author, a distributor, an acquisitions editor – and consumers -- which awards they value.  I don’t know that you’ll find a consensus, but maybe one day there will be The Book Marketing Buzz Blog Book Awards and Billy Crystal can hand out book or Kindle-shaped statues.

Interview With Author Andrew Cort

Andrew wrote the book, Symbols, Meaning, and the Sacred Quest: Spiritual Awakening in Jewish, Christian, and Islamic Stories.

1.      What is the book about?  In a world where religious differences often trigger hatred and war, here is a book that celebrates the Beauty, Decency, Inner Spiritual Wisdom and inherent Unity of all our Traditions. The stories that are told may differ from one culture and time period to another, but my book shows that all religions have the common inner purpose of presenting a great Wisdom Teaching – through Allegory, Symbol and Metaphor – that teaches our soul the psychological and spiritual steps that must be taken to achieve spiritual awakening.

  1. Why did you write the book?  It’s been my hope, through all my years of writing, that my books might contribute to a positive change in consciousness, a spiritual renewal without any fundamentalism or divisiveness, a world of tolerance and respect where we delight in the magnificent diversity of our human experiences rather than seeing them as causes for enmity and hatred.  There are always two sides to a religion. The outer, exoteric side consists of stories and lessons that are for the masses of people who are far too busy just trying to stay alive and feed their families to embark on a great spiritual quest. This aspect of religion gives people hope, it teaches them to be moral and stay out of trouble, it gives them something meaningful to believe in. All of this is wonderful – until they bump into another culture, with different stories of their own, and they start arguing and beating in each others’ heads.

There is also an inner, esoteric aspect of religion, the teachings that are for the adepts and disciples who are on the road of spiritual initiation. This aspect of religion is always the same: we are all children of the same God, on the same path ‘home’. When this is understood, the justification for religious hatred and war evaporates! The Greeks liked to tell stories about fabulous gods and heroes, the Hebrews like to weave tales about their ancestors, Christians and Muslims liked to talk about the extraordinary lives of Jesus and Muhammad. These various story-telling methods demonstrate the wonderful human imagination, and we ought to delight in all of them. But even more striking is that the underlying message, the inner story, is always exactly the same.

So if you are you fed up with bigotry and violence, and are seeking a world of peace, love and friendship, this book is for you. If you are on a personal spiritual quest, and would like to discover the ‘How To’ lessons for Spiritual Awakening that lie hidden in the wonderful myths and legends of the Western Tradition, this book is for you.

3.      What do you love most about being a published author? I suppose the chance to share ideas with readers and other authors

4.      What advice can you give a struggling writer? Keep at it, remember to think about your audience and what you are offering them, get a good editor, and get ready to learn that marketing a book is far more difficult than writing one.

5.      How are you promoting your book? I have a Blog, ‘Spirituality and Religion’ where I discuss the ideas of the book and also have a lot of Guest Bloggers. I am on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Spiritual Networks, Goodreads, and other Social Media. I’ve given a number of Radio Interviews, and am hoping TV is not far behind. And I give talks and seminars in various venues.

6.      What do you make of the future for the book publishing industry? For better or worse, the Age of E-books is here. Bookstores, traditional publishing houses, hardcovers and paperbacks, are all fading away. I’m a little too old not to lament this, but young enough – at least ‘at heart’ – to realize that the future is going to be exciting.

Top 16 International Book Fairs
There are many book fairs across the country and world this year. Below are the bigger or more interesting ones, including Book Expo in the US in June. Most authors wouldn’t attend these fairs unless they planned to already be overseas, but if you had the time and budget, Book Expo, Frankfurt, and London Book Fair would be the biggest ones to attend.

43rd International Cairo Book Fair
Cairo, Egypt
January 24-February 6

Taipei International Book Exhibition
Taipei, Taiwan
February 1-6

New Delhi World Book Fair
New Delhi, India
February 25-March 4

Brussels Book Fair
Brussels, Belgium
March 1-5

Paris Book Fair (Salon du Livre)
Paris, France
March 16-19

Ninth Bangkok International Book Fair
Bangkok, Thailand
March 29-April 8

Quebec International Book Fair
Quebec City, Canada
April 11-15

London Book Fair
London, England
April 16-18

BookExpo America (BEA)
June 5-7
New York, N.Y.

Cape Town Book Fair
Cape Town, South Africa
June 15-17

19th Tokyo International Book Fair
Tokyo, Japan
July 5-8

23rd Hong Kong Book Fair
Hong Kong, China
July 18-24

19th Beijing International Book Fair
Beijing, China
August 29-September 2

25th Moscow International Book Fair
Moscow Russia
September 5-10

Frankfurt Book Fair
Frankfurt Germany
October 10-14

Montreal Book Fair
Montreal, Canada
November 14-19

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person.

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