Monday, July 15, 2013


A fellow e-publisher just withdrew one of his books from consideration for an award. Briefly, he discovered that a lot of horse-trading - or vote-trading - was going on, skewing the results of the voting and making the value of the award questionable.

I applaud his decision. It's a principled stand, and it may draw attention to something that needs fixing. Years ago I became aware that a very prestigious award in another genre was badly tainted by shameless campaigning (one candidate even piteously claiming, falsely, that he/she had only a few months to live) and back-stage deals ("You vote for my short story, and I'll vote for your novel.").

That's a shame. A somewhat better plan is like the Edgars, which are not voted on by the group (Mystery Writers of America), but are juried. Even then sometimes jurors play favorites, voting for really not-quite-that-good stories from people they happen to like, but it's better than a sham vote.

And while I'm on that tangent: Did you know that bookstores promote certain books, giving them end-caps (those displays at the ends of shelves) and preferential shelf placement because the publishers pay for it?

Caveat emptor, folks. Buyer beware.

And don't automatically buy the validity of all those awards out there....

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