Note: This is a rerun of a post I did two years ago. The reality of delayed recognition still means that authors must somehow make it through the early days of a book’s life cycle, without knowing if anyone will like it or not.
The winner of the 2013 Newbery has probably just gotten that amazing call. The editor says, “We love this story and want to publish it.” The winner of the 2013 Caldecott has probably just put the finishing touches on the art for that book. The winner of the 2013 Printz, Siebert and all the other awards are just now seeing their work take shape as a book.
There is a time lag between the time we produce a work of art and we receive recognition for that same work. For novels, it’s a couple years and for picture books, it can be much longer, as we wait for the illustrator to input his/her art.
This means that the winner of the 2013 Newbery is RIGHT NOW an award winning writer! Amazing! For the time period it took to write that novel, s/he has been an award winning writer. But they didn’t know it. The world didn’t know it. Instead, s/he must wait and wonder if anyone will notice his/her language, his/her characters, the heart s/he has poured into this story.
Somehow, s/he must survive the next two years. Make money somehow to pay the bills, survive the uncertainties of starting a new project, survive the uncertainties of the reviewers.
I think this is very, very sad. For two years, the award winner will agonize over his/her career. Needlessly.
So, to all of you who have gotten contracts in the last 6-12 months, I want to say, “Congratulations!” To me–you’re already an award winner!