On Awards and validation

Lego Buruu approves this award.
Hello droogies!
It’s been an ice age since I posted, I know. I’m shit, I know. Shaddap.
Life’s been busier than a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs, as someone’s old granpappy used to no doubt say. In the last month, we’ve sold our old house, moved into a new house (moving blows serious goat), I’ve completed story edits on ENDSINGER, handed in my short for SLASHER GIRLS AND MONSTER BOYS and gotten about 90% of the way through story edits on ILLUMINAE.ย  So yeah, busy. But, my new study has an actual fireplace in it. All I need is one of those chesterfield lounges and a smoking jacket with patches on the elbows. And maybe some kind of pipe.
I had some very good news last week which I should share: I am now officially an award-winning Sci-Fi/Fantasy author. Exclamation mark!
STORMDANCER got short-listed for a few cool awards, but never quite got past the finish line. However, I’m chuffed to report my novella THE LAST STORMDANCER won the 2013 Aurealis Award for best Fantasy Short Fiction. Which was very flattering and humbling and cool. Sadly, I wasn’t able to attend the show or the booze-up afterward because of the aforementioned moving house and goat blowing. Which kiiiinda sucks since I don’t get to wear a fancy suit all that often anymore, and my bride looks dynamite in evening wear. Alas.
Awards are a funny beast. It’s very nice to be nominated and even nicer to win them, but here’s the thing – I’m not sure you can let them occupy any space in your mind, or take them as any kind of validation of ability. And this is not to say I prefer the state of “not winning awards” to “winning awards”. I’m very flattered to have won. Given the choice, most artists would probably prefer the latter state of being – at least, people who rely on sales to pay their electricity bills. I am one of these, so chuffed to win, you may color me.
But you can lose or win on any given Sunday. A different jury almost certainly would’ve made a different decision. Talk to two different people, even people with common interests in genre fiction or marmoset death matches or hobo pit-fighting or whatever, chances are they’ll love and hate different elements of even the narrowest sphere. There are people out there who fucking HATE my books like poison. There are people out there who say I’m the greatest thing since time travel hover cars. Are either of them right? Both? Neither?
Dealing with a concept as nebulous as “making art”, how do you know you’re actually doing it well?
If you sell a lot of copies, does that mean you’re doing it well? Because Justin Beiber sells a lot of records and his music sounds like rhesus monkeys gargling jizz to me. 50 Shades of grey has sold more copies than any book in the history of the English language. Seriously, it’s sold more copies than the fucking bible. Lighting books on fire was a pretty popular pastime in certain parts of the world not so long ago. I’m not sure you can trust the opinions of the majority, is what I’m saying.
Awards? Again, lovely and flattering and wonderful to win them, but if awards were some kind of divining rod for quality, every show would be listing the same books, right? And one need only listen for a second to the latest shitstorm surrounding the Hugo shortlistings to get a glimpse of how far away from that sunny day we might be.
So again, very flattering to have won. It’s very nice, me ma and da were proud, and the trophy looks awesome next to my Stormdancer lego. Would like to continue winning them, if at all possible.
I guess I’m just saying this:
If you’re having fun making your art, you’re doing it well.
If it makes you feel better as a person, you’re doing it well.
If it gives you a reason to get up in the morning, you’re doing it well.
Everything else is just a bonus.
Thank you to all the judges, committee members and everyone involved with the Aurealis awards! And happy easter all!

14 Responses to โ€œOn Awards and validationโ€

  1. Tez Miller says:

    Your Stormdancer Lego is more impressive than the award – just sayin’ ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. RSAGARCIA says:

    Congratulations! I like that award ๐Ÿ™‚ Wouldn’t mind a fancy piece like that myself, honestly. But yeah, you stay grounded. Just don’t think that makes you any less talented than you are ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Marta says:

    Reading your blog beginning to end can really give us (The World’s Best Fans Ever) a view of how hard it is to become a published author. The struggles, the knots in your stomach not knowing if the letter you’re about to open is yet another rejection, the endless nights and days editing and re-editing something you thought was amazing but obviously isn’t quite at that level, the worrying about bills, working full-time while writing and dealing with those deadlines alongside the “real world”… it’s all here. Every frustrated, angry, sad, elated, amazed step is here.
    Every nomination (to date, we all know there will be many more), award (again, to date ๐Ÿ˜› ), and step towards some kind of celebrity and fame is here too.
    And yet you, Mr Kristoff, still manage to keep yourself grounded. You’re still keen to point out that the awards, accolades, after-parties, and all that jazz isn’t the most important thing, although it’s super nice to get them (duh).
    We all know you’re awesome-sauce and way too cool. You’ve managed to top that, however, and raise the awesomeness-bar even higher.
    Damn. ๐Ÿ˜›

    • Aw, thanks Marta, that’s really cool of you to say ๐Ÿ˜€ I actually should go back and read the old stuff – I’m really glad I decided to keep this blog thing. I just wish I wasn’t so slack about updating it! I’ll try to be better this year, I promise ๐Ÿ™‚
      And yes, you guys are the best fans ever. Though I prefer to think of you as friends ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. There’s no way I believe anybody would actually hate your books. No way.
    Congrats on your award AND on your new house!

  5. Hiroichi says:

    you forgot: If it puts food on the table, you’re doing it well.

    • Indeed. That too. Stephen King said: โ€œIf you wrote something for which someone sent you a check, if you cashed the check and it didn’t bounce, and if you then paid the light bill with the money, I consider you talented.โ€
      True words.

  6. JdV says:

    Congratulations my good man. I am happy to see you rewarded (in many ways) for a job well done and done through to the end.
    Please keep the posts coming, I really enjoy the words you put together and I have a feeling others do as well.

  7. Lorraine Andrew says:

    Love your work, Jay. Patiently waiting for book 3. PLEASE have your work on audio as well. I love listening and walking. I have heard Stormdancer 3 times!
    Congratulations on award. I look forward to more intriguing adventures.

    • Hey there,
      We’ve sold audio rights to the whole series, so you should be able to grab KS at least. I think? (god, i suck) Endsinger audio will be out late this year, I’m thinking. Not sure how long after the actual book drops. Yes, I really am that fkn clueless about my release schedule ๐Ÿ˜›

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