Writing: Nominations and Shortlists

On one of my writers’ lists we’ve been discussing when you should list that you’ve been nominated, shortlisted, longlisted or noted in various writing awards and venues. There are many different types of writing awards/honors. For some, the publisher or the writer might send in a copy of their story/novel/poem to be considered for an award. Sometimes there is a submission/registration fee.

Most literary magazines have contests and most of those have an entry fee. An author might win first, second or third place or receive an honorable mention. An award might call for nominations from a select membership or from readers (or publishers) and this could be quite open. Therefore I could list that my book had been nominated for an Aurora award (one of Canada’s speculative fiction awards voted on by readers) and it would mean that someone, including me, may have nominated the book. However, the pieces need so many nominations to make it to the shortlist. If I was shortlisted, in this case, I could say I was shortlisted or nominated for an Aurora.

In another case, my story might be shortlisted but in that version I may have submitted my story for consideration. A panel of judges or readers would then sort through and narrow the selection to a few. It might be the same judges or different ones, or the readership/members who then vote on a select few pieces and the winner is then decide. Stories and fiction for the World Fantasy Awards go through a selection process that uses jury and members. Past or current members of the World Fantasy convention (there is a set number of years that you can vote if you don’t currently attend) can nominate works. There are five spots in the final selection process. Two are selected from the member nominations and three from the jury. The judges, a panel of professional writers and editors, then make their selection. Whether they arm wrestle, discuss or just vote, I’m not sure.

The point is that there are numerous types of awards but an author who lists themselves as being shortlisted or nominated when all they did was submit their work for consideration certainly does not count as an accolade. It was pointed out that one person had listed him/herself as being nominated for a Pulitzer when in fact all that they’d done was submit copies of the book with the registration fee. That’s not only lying but puts a poor light on those who are actually shortlisted if every two-penny author feels they can say the same thing. It’s the same as if a massage therapist claimed to be a neurologist. Not the same thing at all.

There are a few awards out there or “Best of” collections where the editors tend to scan everything published. If there are small or obscure presses it behooves the publisher and the author to let the editors know. Recognition of award winners and nominees can be helpful to a writer’s career and to the publisher.

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