As has been noted, Charles Ardai's novel Songs of Innocence, is not eligible for the Edgar this year because it is, under the MWA's rules, self-published. James Reasoner's novel, Dust Devils, it turns out, is not eligible either, because Point Blank does not meet the qualifications for an approved publisher, although it is certainly not a vanity press. I can understand having rules and sticking to them, but I've got to say these two books are both excellent pieces of work and the authors are pros with plenty of publishing credits to their name. I'm going to have to say I agree with this comment by Mr. Reasoner:
'Now that I've slept on it, an idea that someone brought up over on Sarah's blog makes a lot of sense to me: if an author qualifies for MWA membership, then his or her books should be eligible for the Edgars regardless of publisher. This would disqualify most of the truly self-published and vanity press books, while allowing authors like Charles Ardai and myself, who easily qualify for MWA membership because of our other publications, to submit books like SONGS OF INNOCENCE and DUST DEVILS for consideration."
The reason I think this idea is a good one is because it takes into consideration the fact that distribution methods are going to change. The MWA already allows ebooks into consideration, which is a smart move, considering how things are changing, but let's say an established author wants to pull a Radiohead, and make their work available on the Internet on a pay what you want format, or they have a work that a they have trouble finding a big publisher for. What then? Authors who qualify for membership in MWA are unlikely to turn out crap, even if it is published by a very small press, or even self published. If a pro wants to take a try at something unconventional or outside the mainstream that's no reason to exclude them.
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