Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Spinetingler Awards

I've been living under a rock since Thanksgiving, so much to my surprise, when I finally peek my head out and take a look around, there's all kinds of activity. First and foremost, the nominations for the Spinetingler Awards have been announced. They are gratifying on more than one level. First off, a lot of independent publishers got a lot of love, more than they usually do from more established awards. Just check out the nominations in these categories:

Best Publisher:

Bitter Lemon Press; Europa Editions; Hard Case Crime; Poisoned Pen Press; and Text Publishing

Best Editor:

Charles Ardai, Hard Case Crime; Stacia Decker, Harcourt; Alison Janssen, Bleak House; Barbara Peters, Poisoned Pen Press; and Dave Thompson, Busted Flush

I am also thrilled to note that James Reasoner's novel Dust Devils has been nominated for Novel of the Year in the Legends category. (I note that it hasn't yet shown up on the Edgar submissions list. (Point Blank Press isn't on the MWA approved publisher list. Why that is I don't know.)
Suffice to say, if you don't vote for Mr. Reasoner's book, I will punch you or at least make fun of your clothes and haircut.

I also note, with a certain degree of humility, that my story, Amphetamine Logic, is up for Best Short Story on the Web. The competition is stiff in that category. Charles Ardai has a story in that category, and he's already won an Edgar. I won't threaten you into voting for my story, the same way I'm threatening you to get you to vote for James Reasoner, because that wouldn't be kosher, but I'd appreciate the vote.

How do you vote, you ask? Well, I'm just going to let Sandra Ruttan, who organized this whole enterprise speak to that:

Voting is open. ONE E-MAIL PER PERSON ONLY. You cannot send another vote in, even for a different category – multiple votes from the same sender will not be counted. Take the time to consider your votes carefully. E-mails must be received by December 30, 2007 - authors, if you're putting this in your newsletter make sure you are clear about the deadline for voting. Many recommendations were not considered in the first round because they were sent late.You may vote for one winner in each category as long as all votes are submitted in one e-mail. Simply state the category and your chosen winner for each of the eight categories. Any votes that contain more than one selection per category may be removed from consideration completely. No ties. Send your e-mail to with AWARD NOMINATIONS in the subject line. It is not necessary to explain the reason for your vote.

While I'm at it I should note that it seems that Ardai's novel Songs of Innocence, seems to be ineligible for and Edgar because it is, under the MWA's new rules, "self-published." Sarah Weinman broke the story, and has an interesting discussion about the topic. I can see both sides, myself. I suspect that what it boils down to is the MWA is afraid that allowing Ardai's novel in will open the door for anyone to join, and that would pretty much make the MWA's existence moot. The entire point of clubs is to exclude people. Of course, Ardai's already got an Edgar, so it's not like he can't slap "From Edgar Winning Author" on everything he writes from here on out.


Sandra Ruttan said...

Actually, if I'm not mistaken, I believe DUST DEVILS isn't eligible for the Edgar. I want to say don't quote me on this, but I did have a discussion with... an insider... who referenced a book from that publisher that wasn't eligible. I don't want to get into citing technicalities or reasons why, and because this was from a conversation I had over a month ago on the phone, I'm trusting my memory, so it may not have been DUST DEVILS, although that title is ringing some bells...

James Reasoner said...

I noticed a while back that Point Blank isn't on the MWA approved publishers list and was going to look into that . . . but you know how that goes. Never got around to it. I suspect the print run requirement is the problem, since they seem to fulfill all the others. Me, I'm just very happy to be nominated for a Spinetingler Award. And congrats on your nomination, too, Nathan.

Sandra Ruttan said...

I double-checked. Point Blank isn't on the approved list because of printing formats and advance amounts, so their books are not eligible.

IMHO, another example of where the Edgar regulations fall short of recognizing exceptional work, considering DD received starred reviews from Booklist and Publishers Weekly.

James Reasoner said...

Does MWA actually require an advance to be paid on a book before it qualifies for an Edgar? In their membership requirements it says that you have to have been paid a minimum of $1,000 in advance, royalties, or a combination of the two.

And saying that e-books qualify but POD books don't strikes me as odd.

I'm not whining, really. I'm the one who was too lazy to check into this stuff months ago when the book came out.

James Reasoner said...

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.

Just a thought, although bear in mind that I've only had one cup of coffee so far today.

Sandra Ruttan said...

I may not have it quite right - I thought they did require a minimum advance amount. I'm not a member, and perhaps I've crossed that wire with ITW.

But I would tend to agree with you. If someone meets the rules for eligibility as a member, their work should be considered. Although I have no idea what that means for us non-Americans. I was considering joining and contacted them to ask about membership for non-Americans but never got an answer.

Sean Wallace said...

Offhand PointBlank was qualified before the new rules kicked in, and then I asked for the papers to get re-qualified. I never got them, and I still don't have them. I did get a response from the committee a day or two ago, who indicated that if I filled out the papers now, that it was too late. Mind you, if I understand the rules, PointBlank doesn't qualify under the new standards, so it's perhaps a moot point. I don't know. Most of our PointBlank authors do get royalties in excess of a thousand dollars, and some have had traditional print runs, but beyond that I don't know if we qualify. Better minds than mine will have to work that out :-)