Since my most recent book is self-published, some doors are closed to it. Most newspapers won’t look at it; most reviewers won’t consider it. To an extent, I understand this. I mean, let’s be realistic…there’s a lot of crap out there in the self-published world and they don’t want to be neck-deep in it. Restricting the input to mainstream publishers is an easy, broad brush stroke way to keep the crap to a minimum. E-books have an even harder time.
Likewise, most awards are heavily weighted toward the mainstream publishing world. The exception to this, at least in genre fiction, are the smaller, “niche” awards. I’ve allowed myself to dare to dream, and have submitted Beneath a Wounded Sky to two such awards.
By “niche” awards, I mean awards that are tailored to a small section of a larger genre. Here are the two I’ve picked.
The Endeavour Award is administered by the Oregon Science Fiction Conventions, Inc., the organizers of OryCon, an annual SF convention. This award is presented to an author who lives in or wrote most of a novel in the Pacific Northwest. That’s me. My first published novel, The Year the Cloud Fell, was a finalist for the award, back in the early two-thousandsies. They don’t have restrictions on publishing method; I just have to live in or have written most of the book in the Pacific Northwest. Done and dusted.
The Sidewise Award, from the Uchronia website, is specific to the alternate-history sub-genre. None of the Fallen Cloud Saga was eligible before, because the judges only consider novels that stand alone, or series that are complete. I wrote to the administrating judge and asked if my book was eligible now, and it is. So off we go.
Now, in both cases here, I am not dreaming of fame and glory and a star-studded night basking in the glow of my admirers when I am given the award. Hardly. I’m way too much of a realist for any of that.
But both of these awards have a “short list” of finalists, which is sort of their way of saying “Here are the good ones this year; we’ll pick the best.” Those short lists act as a buying guide for fans, and (more importantly) those short lists are published and publicized by the award committees. That means lots of people see the short list, and that’s free advertizing.
So, my humble dream is to be able to say, “It’s an honor just to be nominated.” I’d be real happy with that.