I just don't see much point in most of them.  I've been nominated for several, won a couple, and few of them pay anything or are anything other than a nice bit of bling.  I'd much rather have big royalty checks.

I don't turn awards down if I receive them, but I've never really agitated to win or even be nominated, and apparently missed the deadline on several I would have been well-eligible for.  Shrug.

I get money. I get positive feedback from fellow veterans who understood my language and had some of the tension, stress and boredom of deployment dulled for a few hours. That's worth something.

And occasionally I get fanmail like this:


...In A Long Time Until Now, you have a character with hypothyroidism. I didnΓÇÖt really connect the dots until months after I read the book. I have a lot of health problems. I have had them for years. Never went to the doctor. Part of it was I couldnΓÇÖt afford it. Part of it was I figured any doctor would tell me to lose weight, so I kept saying ΓÇ£Oh, IΓÇÖll lose some weight first.ΓÇ¥ Needless to say, I never lost weight, even when I tried and then other stuff would distract me.
It’s been a stressful couple of years, topped off with my Dad dying very suddenly in February. So, I got distracted a lot. But then the light bulb finally turned on and I figured that I had hypothyroidism. I managed to find a doctors office with a sliding scale and got an appointment. I’ve worked with dogs and it’s a common disease in dogs. I figured it’s easy enough to manage and the meds are cheap, get to a doctor and Voila! Problems solved.  
So, while I donΓÇÖt have hypothyroidism, which would have made this little story poetically perfect, I do have CushingΓÇÖs Syndrome, most likely caused by a tumor on an adrenal gland. I have a CT scan scheduled for later this month and the endocrinologist has already sent in a referral to a surgeon to expedite the whole thing.

If I hadn’t read that book, I’d probably still would be doing the stupid “Oh, I’ll get to it.” thing. Or maybe I finally would have gone to every specialist in town for the next million years while I continued to decline.  

Either way, if it wasnΓÇÖt for that one character that you wrote, I donΓÇÖt think it would have ever been figured out. Or at least, certainly not so quickly. From going to the doctor (Nurse Practitioner, whatever) for the first time in over ten years to a CushingΓÇÖs diagnosis in less than two months is probably record.

So, yeah, you saved my life. Literally. I owe you. Thank you.

You are most very welcome, and I'm thrilled I could help.
And that's why I write hard SF.  It's not for the plaques and trophies.