Award-Me, Award-Me-Not

In fragrance industry there are many ways to shed a light on perfume that is considered innovative and groundbreaking. There are FiFi Awards from The Fragrance Foundation, Art & Olfaction Awards held by the Institute of Art & Olfaction or Jasmine Awards established by Fragrance Foundation UK. Now that after years of lurking in the shadows the perfumers can finally stand with pride next to their creations and get well-deserved recognition for ther artistic work, they also earn awards. But did you ever think in what way people who write about perfume are appreciated for their articles?

In over 8 years of my blogging career there were only few times when I thought about awards for perfume writing in general but I quickly discarded the though from my mind. The topic came back to me a few days ago when my friend Elena, also known as The Plum Girl, posted the announcement on Facebook that entries are now being accepted for Perfumed Plume. I got a little bit curious again so I clicked the link to find out more. There was a list of different categories for which you can submit your articles but there was also an information that you must pay for every individual submission.

A 50$ fee for each post that will become a candidate for the award. Is that a lot? Some will probably say it’s not, but for a non-US citizen like me, once I convert dollars into Polish currency it becomes a more serious amount of money. Actually it’s more than I spend on food in 2 weeks. I always considered writing my perfume reviews as some sort of hobby but what can’t be denied is that each article is the investment of a couple of hours from your private time to prepare a good, evocative text & some complimentary images. The time nobody pays you for because blogging is not your job.

A short discussion has happened between Elena and me & I can understand her reasoning. You know how they say you can’t buy time? Those hours spent on polishing each post are priceless, so why wouldn’t you want some sort of recognition among other fragrance writers & journalists, a validation of your talent in form of an award or a statuette to put on your shelf. Yes, it would be nice to have one and I’m sure earning it would be a great way to promote my blog and find new readers. However considering that I’d want to submit more than 1 entry, this is something that I can’t afford.

Perhaps Elena is right, after all she’s won one of those Perfumed Plumes in 2019 and year later she was one of the finalists too. Can you consider paying for the jury’s consideration an investment for the future? Chemist in the Bottle is the entirely free perfume blog. I don’t use ads, my posts aren’t and never will be sponsored by brands because I value freedom of my opinions above anything else. And unlike many other websites I even don’t use those platforms like “buy me a coffee” to support a writer with a small “pocket money” donation. Maybe I should consider joining such site?

Following my question on Twitter someone suggested that starting a fundraiser campaign to gather the sum that would cover the fee cost of those few categories entries could be an option. Maybe yes, maybe not. I don’t know what to think. Would you consider sending a tiny donation to a perfume writer you like (because you like me and this blog, don’t you?) or do you think it’s a complete waste of money to enter such contest, especially that there’s no guarantee that I will get anything out of it? I’d love to know your opinion on this and digest some more food for thought on this polarizing topic.

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21 thoughts on “Award-Me, Award-Me-Not

  1. MMKinPA says:

    I’m not sure how I feel about paying a submission fee for an award. My knee jerk reaction is that it diminishes the award – but perhaps I’m naive and most things work this way now because everyone has bills to pay. I admit to not having heard about Perfumed Plume; would bring recognized drive more traffic to your blog? Hard to say. I do think your reviews are some of the most comprehensive and evocative that I see these days!

    • lucasai says:

      I suppose they need money for their own salaries, or to buy prizes for the winners of each category. I agree with you in this that I don’t like that I have to pay to submit my own work. Ideally someone should find you and nominate you…

  2. shelly wolf says:

    In other contests there is often an entry fee. This one does seem steep considering the conversion to dollars and that your blog is unpaid. You have been a strong independent voice for 8 years, perhaps this is not so important? Except, as mentioned above it might bring more people to your blog…

    • lucasai says:

      I bet there are pros and cons here. Yes, 50 dollars is steep, especially if you double or triple that and I certainly would submit more than only one entry.

  3. hajusuuri says:

    Many of the awarding organizations are not for profit and need the funds to keep going. I have not delved into the financials of these organizations but if they had an open book, I would probably take a poke. That said, self-nomination makes me uncomfortable but then were it not for doing so, what are the chances of someone else recognizing (and publicly acknowledging) the quality of a post / article / book, which would be the ultimate recognition.

    • lucasai says:

      Yes, correct. Art and Olfaction that everything non-profit.
      Yes, self-comination feels a bit weird inside my head. Were it like the Oscars, when actors find out they were nominated, that would make much more sense to me.

  4. Jillie says:

    I feel very doubtful about this. I wonder if this organisation may exist in order to make money – I can’t think that it’s to bring good writing to the attention of us all since I have never heard of it before! That fee for each entry is very steep, and as Shelly says, it’s more like you are paying to enter a competition; or you could say it’s a bit like you’re a restaurant handing over money to be nominated in a good food guide; or a writer paying to self- publish. In the end it’s up to personal choice, but in this case I think it is sensible to keep your money!

    • hajusuuri says:

      I’ve heard of them as they are U.S. based and have used Sniffapalooza to publicize the winners. If I recall, they actually went to one of the Sniffapalooza to announce the organization and to solicit entries for their first year. We’re it not for Sniffapalooza, I doubt if I would have heard about this organization.

      Also, part of it is that the winners should be publicizing their wins. I only knew about the Jasmine Awards because The CandyPerfume Boy mentioned it often; Persolaise and The Black Narcissus also mentioned their wins but perhaps I don’t read or see them as often.

      • lucasai says:

        I know Jasmine Awards are UK based so makes sense why Persolaise or Candy submitted and won. Such thing doesn’t exist in Poland and even if it did I’m writing in English and probably I wouldn’t have been able to submit my posts just like that.

        But as I said, I’d rather use these money to buy perfume rather than apply for an award I might not get.

  5. Ryan says:

    Long time reader, fist time commenting.

    My opinion is that these awards ( right on up to the Academy Awards and such) are more political than we realize. I don’t mean actual governmental politics, but rather that the judges and committees know from the start who is going to be selected and I also believe the judges decide amongst themselves who they will choose, not based on the perfume ( or movie or song), but rather which perfumers and blogs they like the most, or the ones who will likely benefit themselves and the committee/organization the most ( or which movie is the most woke, etc). And trust me, actors and their PR agencies compete mightily to be nominated for the Oscars. It isn’t simply a matter of the academy members watching movies and deciding which one they like best.

    In other words, it’s who you know and what you can do for them that matters.

    An entrance fee probably helps keep things manageable (I understand that they couldn’t possibly wade through the 100s of thousands of entries they might get if there were no fee), but they should allow for exchange rates. I would imagine that the fees also help fund the cash that go with the awards?

    Someone needs to form an organization that reads all the perfume blogs and hands out awards based solely on merit; which review or story they enjoyed the most, regardless of how obscure the blog or platform is, and regardless of whether the organization gets freebies, exclusives or other swag from the perfume house being reviewed. It wouldn’t kill the PP group to have that as a category, either. It wouldn’t even have to be a cash award, just some sort of category like „Best blog post you might not be aware of ” or something. One of the perfume blogs ( can’t recall which one at the moment) does the occasional post about three perfumes by this perfumer you should know about now. I would think PP could do something along those lines with blog posts/reviews, and maybe they do, but a category that doesn’t require an entry fee would be nice.

    I don’t think too many people know about the PP awards, so I am not sure you’d get many more readers, honestly. If the financial aspect gives you pause, I wouldn’t do it. If it is truly just a matter of money being tight at the moment, I’d be more than willing to donate to help you.

    • lucasai says:

      Hi Ryan and thanks for showing up.

      It’s hard for me to say if they are political or not, especially that none of the awarding entities reside in my country. Maybe it really us determined beforehand who will earn the award.

      As I said earlier, there are some items being given as awards so those need to be funded too. Winners don’t earn money here, it’s not that kind of award.

      I like your idea on a new organization that would award blogs. For now it’s usually other bloggers spreading the word that someone wrote something great and interesting.

  6. Undina says:

    Many years ago, I don’t remember which award it was, but when I learned that perfume creators had to pay to have their perfumes evaluated for that award, I was so disappointed that since then I never pay attention to any of those awards.

    With awards for writing, I never thought of how articles get entered into those. For some reason, I thought that it was some third party who would be doing that. If to think about it, self-nomination isn’t that wrong: to win in any competition – be that some sport or art – you need to participate, you can’t just sit and wait to be discovered. But $50 for submitting a 2-3-minute read (if that)? What is the size of the award? What does it give beyond bragging rights? Pulitzer Prize entry fee is $75 for a book. And it’s Pulitzer! And it’s for the whole book (any size)! And the award is $15K.

    Anyway, if you want to play this game, I’ll support you. Just don’t expect to really get anything from that even if you win: look at the twice-finalist and once a winner Cynthia (The Fragrant Journey): it doesn’t look like her blog got too much traction from that win.

    • lucasai says:

      I think it’s a general rule of any competition these days that you sign up for the game yourself. Even in sports events you have to express your will of participating, nobody would enroll you on the list just because.

      Pulitzer is a title of its own and a great recognition for writer. With Perfumed Plum you don’t get any monetary prize. I think you only get the title, not sure if there was a statuette or not and as far as I can remember Elena got a ball pen from Tiffany & Co. which is probably a very overpriced regular pen.

      I didn’t know about Cynthia, if her blog didn’t become more widely known then neither will mine. I guess I’d rather spend 50 dollars on perfume instead.

  7. Kathi Matich says:

    I enjoyed reading all of the entries of the Perfumed Plume media category this year (Elena’s Plum Girl article on JCE was my favorite). Knowing the writers paid to have their articles considered is understandable but it does tend to tarnish the award-not the writers. I would rather Perfumed Plume ask for subscriptions from readers.

  8. MissGoldsmith says:

    Something does feel a little icky about having to pay such a fee, but there are some valid arguments made in the comments.
    I’m curious about your statement that you don’t use ads, because I see ads on your site. I think it’s perfectly fine to use ads—developing the content takes a lot of effort—I’m just concerned about the disconnect. Are you aware the ads are displaying (I’m in the US on a mobile device)? Are the funds going to someone else (WordPress?) and not you?

  9. Ingeborg says:

    I guess I value more the prizes where peers or readers would nominate you. Of the prizes for perfume writers, I must say I have only paid attention to the Jasmine Awards. All that said, I would be happy to help you pay for entering one of your texts. Just because it would be worth it if it makes it easier for you to find the motivation to keep up you blog and Insta presence.

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