A collection of thoughts that I will later regret posting. Yay.
There are a number of things that make me uncomfortable about the writing community. It's insular, for example. It's clique-y. But at some level that's just the way people are. Any group of people in an environment that selects for success based on subjective art valuation is going to develop similarly. Did that make sense? I suppose my point is that writing is art, and art is subjective, and so some of the things that make you like one writer more than another writer might have nothing to do with the actual writing. Even if you're trying to be honest with yourself, you're more likely to want to like something by your drinking buddy than you are something by some random stranger.
Anyway. Awards. I don't think we should give out awards, as a community. I don't see the point. I know it's for marketing, mostly, and because people like to get together and clap one another on the back and hold up shiny things and pump their fists. But this isn't nascar, bitches. There's no formula for value in a book. It's entirely subjective, so when you say "This is the best book this year" all you're really saying is "this is the book we liked best this year, and by 'we' I mean me and my friends, and it's a complete coincidence that we voted for our friend, because we're all friends. Dig it?"
Maybe awards are just shorthand for marketing types. I know that award-winning figures in to what kind of contract you can get on your next book, and it also helps with foreign rights sales. So if I win awards, I'll accept them out of pure mercenary efficiency.
I should point out that, in the above, I'm probably completely wrong and cynical and short-sighted. That people with a great deal more experience than me undoubtedly disagree, and industry folks won't take kindly to this thought process. That I'm probably shooting my career in the foot. I think that's awesome.