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November 7, 2008

Sexier Awards Ceremonies


Clapping for one award recipient after another was getting a little tiresome for CQ Press President and Publisher John Jenkins, who wanted to “re-invigorate” the Association of American Publishers’ annual awards ceremony for Professional and Scholarly Publishers. The result is a new name (PROSE Awards), Internet presence, multi-media ceremony, and awards that John thinks will even help sell more books.


For 33 years, the AAP handed out “Awards for Excellence” to its members, but this year any member of the AAP or the Association of American University Presses will be able to submit as many entries as they want. And the former New York Times Magazine writer whose investigative work led Chief Justice William Rehnquist to stop giving personal interviews has even added a new layer of transparency: “You can’t buy your way in,” he says. Judges will explain why the top winners beat out the pack through video presentations produced by Alexandria’s Vision Digital Media.


John says a colorful new call for entries helped tip off publishers that a “socko” awards ceremony was on the horizon (apps are already up 33%). John says he got the idea for spicing it up a few years ago when attending Governing magazine’s Public Official of the Year award. It consisted of just eight awards and a grand prizewinner who gave a short talk. The ceremony kept him on the edge of his seat with multi-media scene setters all tied back to the magazine’s Web site. John decided if he ever were in the position to organize an awards ceremony, he would incorporate what he learned. As a board member of the Professional and Scholarly Publishing division of the AAP, he volunteered to co-chair the 2009 event.


It doesn’t take a Super Hero to know a good idea when you see it. AAP CEO Pat Schroeder loved the idea of PROSE—an acronym for the American Publishers Awards for Professional and Scholarly Excellence. “It’s a new, fresh re-invention of an awards ceremony that’s been around for more than 30 years,” she told us when we stopped by her office at 50 F St. By the way, Pat in the Super Woman costume was the result of a book on women’s fantasies. Pat’s fantasy was to be Super Woman, which she got pretty close to during 24 years in Congress when she helped pass dozens of bills including the Family and Medical Leave Act.


This is no Mickey Mouse awards ceremony. Winners will be able to promote their books with a PROSE Award recipient sticker on the cover and inclusion on a special Website with multi-media features. Pat says sometimes the best books get lost without a big budget behind them, but the new PROSE Awards will help get the word out. She’s expecting more than the regular 200 attendees will come to the February awards luncheon at the Mayflower Hotel.  But applicants better hurry; entries are due Nov. 8!

Got an article idea or event to cover? Email Association Editor Abraham Mahshie at: Abraham@bisnow.com

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