I am going to touch on a subject that in my experience is becoming a little bit of an elephant in the room.
Before I do continue, I want to make it quite clear, that what I am going to say on the subject is not in any way a criticism of those who do or do not accept awards. It is just my own experience having seen both sides of the issue and how I have compromised my position on the matter.
When I began blogging in earnest in November 2013 I did not know which end of WordPress was which. In all honesty with the latest tweaks and twerks by the Happiness Engineers, I am not so sure I am any more enlightened. In fact yesterday as my post lost all formatting when I popped into make a slight change to the Boop de Poop facility, I am even more mystified than ever.
That aside, one of the more pleasant surprises, was my first award after about six months of blogging. At the time I was still trying to impress my 70 staunch followers on a daily basis and keeping myself motivated by selecting the Afternoon Videos on YouTube. I did rather wonder, with only one or two views a day, if I was actually getting anything right.
The award was from Don Charisma and I was blown away that someone had noticed my blog after all. I immediately set about finding 15 other bloggers who I could nominate as part of the award acceptance protocol. It was not difficult to find wonderfully talented bloggers with fantastic posts, but it did take me a while to find those who accepted awards, as I wanted to respect the wishes of those who didn’t.
That award was one of several that I gratefully received and responded to over the following months until the middle of the year when our circumstances changed. We decided to sell up and return to the UK or Ireland but needed to do a major renovation to the house. At the same time I was finishing off two books and it seemed I also had a thousand other projects that took up enormous amounts of the day.
Then an award came in from a lovely blogger but at the time it was the proverbial last straw….. I declined politely and explained why, but when the blogger replied it was fairly evident that I had hurt her feelings, and it made me feel dreadful. To avoid offending anyone else I put up the Award Free sign in my heading and began to clear my decks.
Once I could see the wood for the trees at the end of last year I began to reassess my original decision and reversed it with some provisos.
1. I would politely decline if I was up to my hollyhocks in work that had to take priority.
2. That I would not give a blog award twice to the same person. To this end I keep a list of those I have nominated.
3. When I find new bloggers who are exceptional, I add them to another list. Along with their website address I add a few lines that describe their blog to make them easier to follow.
4. When I receive an award I will then visit my list and select the bloggers that fall into the various categories… Versatile, Creative, Mad as a Hatter etc. I then move them to the awarded list never to be visited again.
5. I usually offer an alternative and in the last six months I have added a bouquet, box of chocolates or now my own bottle of exceptional Smorgasbord red wine! If the recipient is not a drinker they can pass the bottle on.
6. I particularly enjoy promoting new bloggers just getting started. I remember the huge boost that getting that first award gave me. For other bloggers who have plenty of awards to whom I would like to show my appreciation, I will find another way to do so.
So why did I change my mind about accepting awards?
I reviewed why I was blogging in the first place which turned out to be a useful exercise. I began to blog as a way to build an Internet presence for my books and also for my eventual return to the UK, when I intend on picking up on both my nutritional and training consultancies. I also would love to go back to radio and certainly having a healthy social media presence, plus an extensive list of potential guests to interview will be an advantage. I also love writing and a blog post is short, sharp and instantly gratifying (well perhaps not so short!).
I have been an Indie author for 16 years and one of my aims with the blog is to promote other writers of every description whenever possible. Of course there are many other ways to recognise fellow bloggers on a daily and weekly basis. Visiting their blogs and sharing their posts on social media, commenting and reblogging. However from time to time it is a pleasure to do something special such as host them on your blog, do a review of one of their books or perhaps interview them. And of course when appropriate nominating them for a blog award.
An award not only promotes the nominees you have selected but also yourself. Not only in the award you have sent out, but in turn when those nominated respond and send out their own. If fifteen nominees reciprocate and nominate another fifteen you and your blog have the potential of reaching 225 other bloggers.
Four months after I made that decision to participate in awards again I have found that there is mixed reactions. I try to avoid those who have declared Award Free Zones but sometimes this is unclear which is why I offer an alternative. Some bloggers do not respond at all and I am not sure if this is embarrassment about refusing, or perhaps it is that they are time pressed as we can all be frequently.
Which brings me back to the time that is required to respond to awards. I have decided to slot the time needed into my marketing schedule. I do believe that a fair number of those that follow me, and particularly the 300 or so new followers to my blog this year so far, have resulted from the awards process. Certainly I have also seen an increase in book sales. For me that translates into time well spent. It also satisfies one of my other very important reasons for blogging in the first place. To help promote other writers in any way I can.
Everyone of course has their own reasons for blogging, accepting awards and how they show recognition but I would ask that if you are Award Free that you display this wish prominently.
Anything else that you would like to know about me is on the following page on my blog including book links and all my social media contacts.
Thanks for reading.