02/08/2012 03:34 pm ET | Updated Apr 09, 2012

Social Media and the 'Blind Voting' Dilemma

I'm in a dilemma. One of my books has been nominated for an award, and I can't decide how I feel about asking non-readers to vote. There's an angel on one of my shoulders, and a devil on the other. Let's eavesdrop on their conversation: Angel: Do you know anybody else in this situation? Me: There are all sorts of awards ceremonies where people appeal to their friends, fans and followers for votes. Someone I know was up against a social media expert in another public vote. The social media expert was able to garner many more votes from their larger network, and win. Devil: Yours is a networking book. What's wrong with asking your network for support? After all, you help them when you can. And the organizer's website actively encourages you to share the link and get people to vote every day! Angel: How's it doing so far? Me: It's taken on a strange kind of momentum. It peaked at number three in the marketing category, and as I write it's sitting at number 10 with 200+ votes. Angel: What about quality control of the nominations? You self-published and your book has never been checked by a proper publisher, agent or editor. Devil: No, but you've been a professional copywriter for over 30 years and really know your stuff. It IS a good book and readers have given it great reviews. Angel: What if your book takes the place of another author who's more deserving? Devil: Then let the other author rustle up their own votes. Me: But do more votes mean it's more popular therefore it's a better book? Angel: What about quality control to enter the awards in the first place? Me: It has to have been published in the last year and with a target readership of small businesses. Devil: It met those conditions and the organisers accepted it. Angel: What do you need to win? Me: If it appears in the top 10 overall or top 5 in its category. Devil: It might result in increased book sales... Angel: And if it does, the profit per book is not huge. Me: Business books are more useful for lead generation than as a route to making a fortune. Devil: It might generate some useful PR... Angel: But even if it does, books are not your main source of income compared with copywriting and training. Devil: Go on, ask for votes, it's just a bit of fun. Me: Oh, OK then. Dear reader, if you've ever enjoyed anything I've written, please vote here. There's no need to register and you can revote every day until 16 February 2012. Angel: Now say thank you... Me: Thank you!