Of all the problems for an author or publisher to have, this is a good one. Should you put a gold foil sticker on your award-winning book’s cover or not?
I’ve been saddled with this pleasant conundrum several times in the last eight years – ever since the second book I wrote (Never Give Up: Ted Jaleta’s Inspiring Story) won an Honourable Mention in the Biography category at the 2007 Hollywood Book Festival. That now out-of-print book was also shortlisted for Publishing In Education and for Reader’s Choice at the 2007 Saskatchewan Book Awards.
It is pretty exciting when a book you’ve written or worked on wins an award of any kind, so my business partners and I purchased gold foil stickers locally to announce the Hollywood Book Festival award. We were excited and decided to save time by carefully placing the stickers on the covers of most of our books, trying hard not to cover any part of the face of the book’s subject or any of the book’s title words. We thought we had made some clever decisions about sticker placement on that dark blue and black cover. A while later, we discovered that not only does a black, glossy cover show every mark and fingerprint, but a lower-quality foil sticker can show signs of handling, too, with scratches quickly appearing and some of the wording disappearing with the handling. Argh. Lesson learned, I thought.
A couple years later, Seeds of Hope: A Prairie Story by Mary Harelkin Bishop won several awards (Finalist in Children's Literature at the 2009 Saskatchewan Book Awards, Honourable Mention in Teenage/Young Adult at the 2009 Nashville Book Festival, and Honourable Mention in Teenage at the 2008 London Book Festival). Again, we purchased foil stickers. I can’t remember whether they were purchased locally or through one of the award competitions, but they were foil and presented similar problems. Although we placed stickers on only a few books at a time, the lettering would come off if we weren't careful with the books. Some of the permanent adhesive stickers also eventually showed signs of wear.
In following years, we added more books to our stable of award-winners:
- - The Little Coat: The Bob and Sue Elliott Story by Alan J. Buick received an Honourable Mention in the Biography category at the 2010 Hollywood Book Festival
- - Never Leave Your Wingman: Dionne and Graham Warner’s Story of Hope by me, Deana J. Driver, received an Honourable Mention in the Biography category at the 2013 Great Midwest Book Festival
- - Letters to Jennifer From Maudie & Oliver by Sharon Gray received an Honourable Mention in the Cats category of the 2013 Animals, Animals, Animals Book Festival.
We did not purchase stickers for any of these books. We announced our wins via media releases and social media, with posters, and small Post-it notes on the covers at various selling venues. A temporary sticker seemed to do the job just as well, but we did add the words ‘National Bestseller’ to the cover when we reprinted The Little Coat.
We recently entered our five newest books in the 2014 Great Midwest Book Festival, and were absolutely thrilled that ALL FIVE books received awards. As a Saskatchewan Publishers Group e-brief stated, DriverWorks Ink “cleaned up” at the awards festival:
- - Opening Up: How To Develop Your Intuition and Work With Your Angels by Lisa Driver was the Winner in the Spiritual category
- - Homegrown and other poems by Bryce Burnett received an Honourable Mention in the Poetry category
- - After the Truck Hit: Jennifer Kuchinka’sTrue Story by Jennifer Kuchinka received an Honourable Mention in the Wild Card category
- - Gina’s Wheels by Mary Harelkin Bishop received an Honourable Mention in the Children’s Books category
- - Jamie and the Monster Bookroom by Kerry Simpson with Jamie Simpson received an Honourable Mention in the Children’s Books category.
So that’s a LOT of awards ... which is wonderful, but it brings us to the current conundrum of whether to put stickers on those book covers or not.
I admit that I am a bit of a purist when it comes to covering up our book covers. We work hard to try to ensure that our book covers tell the stories of what’s inside while enticing potential readers to pick up the books and take a closer look.
Which part of the artist’s creation or the carefully chosen photograph should be covered permanently to announce an award?
Do award stickers even matter? Do people make decisions to purchase a book because the book has won an award?
I’d love to hear your feedback on this.
At our recent DriverWorks Ink Open House/ Christmas Party, a friend commented that she appreciates gold foil stickers to announce awards and we should definitely be purchasing some and placing them on all our award-winning books. She said she recently purchased an award-winning children’s book from a Winnipeg author. She told us that the author had one gold sticker on her display book and then, once our friend had purchased the book, the author placed a foil sticker on our friend’s book. Clever, I thought. But a bit time-consuming if you are at a busy signing or event.
What do you think?
Stickers or no stickers? Do they matter to you when you purchase a book?
While you’re at it, please tell me where you would place an award sticker on our newest award-winning books. I look forward to your response.