Winning a major book award is surprising every time it happens. Like all publishers, we pretend not to pay attention to the mock award committee announcements that multiply in our inboxes each December and early January. Of course, we do not deny ourselves a little excitement when we spot one of our titles on someone’s favorites list, but we try to keep our expectations realistic. The chances of winning one of the “big” awards are like the chances of winning the Lotto, and it is a good idea to protect ourselves by not letting our hopes get too high.
This season, however, we did win some big awards, and it felt great to have our books recognized and included in the good company of books from other houses that we know and respect. Also worth mentioning is the fact that we received as many awards as quite a few larger houses, which is an accomplishment for independent publishing.
An award designation means a book will be read by a wider audience. As our books are included in library collections across the country, those collections become more diverse by the sheer presence of our books. Awards give validation not only to the quality of the books we publish, but to the very core of our mission to promote cultural diversity, take risks on stories that need to be told, and nurture new talent.
January was a fantastic month for LEE & LOW, and our hopes that 2011 will turn into a year to remember would not be possible without readers like you who have supported us year in and year out. We are grateful to everyone out there who has read and enjoyed our books and has helped spread the word about books that are “about everyone” and “for everyone.” We could not do what we do without you. Thank you all.