Last week Publishers Weekly summarized the Pulitzer Prize winners for 2013
I am always interested in the winners or in the case of last year, the non winners (Train Dreams was an excellent allegory, discuss it in your book group).
The assumption is, of course, that a pulitzer prize represents the very best of fiction, non fiction and reporting. The second assumption is that the prize will immediately catapult the honorees to fame and fortune. Since I know that to not be true, I also wanted to share a comment by Publishers as to the state of the prize winner’s Amazon rankings.
On the morning after the prize announcments were made, only The Orphan Master’s Son had risen to Amazon’s top 100, going from #1,846 (before the announcment) to #6.
Three other winners saw a sizable increase:
- Stag’s Leap went to #289 (from #82,000)
- The Black Count went to #222 (from #13,000)
- Embers of War went to #373 (from #33,000).
- Devil in the Grove was #963 as of April 16.
I bring these numbers up because sometimes authors get caught up in Amazon rankings – NY Times rankings, SF Chronicle Bay Area rankings. It’s our holy grail. But at the same time, achieving number one in any ranking can be as unrealistic as actually looking like a magazine model.
Consider what other benefits come with the awards, with the recognition Your introductions will always begin with “Prize winning . . .” You can list it on your CV, on the back of the next book. The next book will be an easier sell.
All those things matter. But if one of the most prestigious prizes in the country cannot propel a book to number one or even five. Maybe we should start counting other things.
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