2007 Christy Awards Nominees

It’s official. No category for fantasy, science fiction, supernatural suspense in the Christy Awards.

That didn’t stop a number of books in the non-existent category from slipping onto the finalist lists in other categories (noted in bold type):

The Christy Awards 2007 Nominees

CONTEMPORARY (STAND ALONE)

    Dwelling Places by Vinita Hampton Wright (HarperOne)
    Straight Up by Lisa Samson (WaterBrook Press)
    Winter Birds by Jamie Langston Turner (Bethany House Publishers)

CONTEMPORARY (SERIES, SEQUELS AND NOVELLAS)

    The Brethren by Beverly Lewis (Bethany House Publishers)
    Escape from Fred by Brad Whittington (B&H Publishing Group)
    The Proof by Austin Boyd (NavPress)

HISTORICAL (includes four titles due to a tie)

    Glastonbury Tor by LeAnne Hardy (Kregel)
    Grace in Thine Eyes by Liz Curtis Higgs (WaterBrook Press)
    Madman by Tracy Groot (Moody Press)
    Pieces of Silver by Maureen Lang (Kregel)

ROMANCE

    The Measure of a Lady by Deeanne Gist (Bethany House Publishers)
    Monday Morning Faith by Lori Copeland (Zondervan)
    The Redemption by M. L. Tyndall (Barbour)

SUSPENSE

    The Begotten by Lisa T. Bergren (Berkley)
    The Hidden by Kathryn Mackel (Thomas Nelson)
    Plague Maker by Tim Downs (Thomas Nelson)

LITS

    The Cubicle Next Door by Siri Mitchell (Harvest House Publishers)
    Everything’s Coming Up Josey by Susan May Warren (Steeple Hill Café)
    Sisterchicks in Gondolas by Robin Jones Gunn (Multnomah)

YOUNG ADULT

    Bad Idea by Todd and Jedd Hafer (NavPress)
    The Way of the Wilderking by Jonathan Rogers (B&H Publishing Group)
    William Henry Is a Fine Name by Cathy Gohlke (Moody Press)

FIRST NOVEL

    Watching the Tree Limbs by Mary DeMuth (NavPress)
    Where Mercy Flows by Karen Harter (Center Street)
    William Henry Is a Fine Name by Cathy Gohlke (Moody Press)

So we have

  • The Proof by Austin Boyd (NavPress), a science fiction listed as contemporary
  • The Hidden by Kathryn Mackel (Thomas Nelson), a horror or supernatural suspense as the CBA calls it, listed as suspense
  • The Way of the Wilderking by Jonathan Rogers (B&H Publishing Group), a fantasy, listed as YA
  • In some ways, this is a good thing because the books aren’t competing against each other, so there actually could be three winners.

    I’m wondering about Donita Paul’s DragonKnight, a book I thought deserving of a Christy surely. Did the publishers just not enter it since there was no Visionary category this year, or did it not make the final cut in the YA category, the only one it could have competed in?

    I also find it interesting that there are two of the three finalists in the First Novel category also nominated in some other category. I find it interesting that the award’s people seem to have no problem with an author possibly winning two awards when others aren’t really eligible even to win one.

    How was this decision arrived at, I wonder, to cut the Visionary category? And will the powers that be pay attention to the stir that fantasy, at least, is making, and reinstate the category for 2008?

    Just think if Karen Hancock, winner of four Christy’s had published Return of the Guardian-King last year and was shut out of the award for the simple reason that there was no award available. How wrong would that be? 😦

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    Published in: on May 14, 2007 at 6:00 am  Comments (22)  

    22 Comments

    1. Becky,
      This would be a good question to post at the Writers View. Who decides what books and categories are chosen for the Christy Awards? This does really seem unfair. It seems to me that there are enough speculative/visionary fiction voices out there to make a difference, if we knew who to contact. Do you have any suggestions?

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    2. Why not send an email to the Christy website and ask how books are considered for the awards? It may be that the publishers have a lot to do with it by what books they enter into the competition.

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    3. Hey, Becky, it’s great to see at least a few Spec Faith titles in there. But I think what we need to do is create our own Fantasy and Sci Fi Awards. Secular fiction has the Hugo and the Neblua. What about something like a Narnia Award or if copyright foils that, maybe The Golden Sword, Silver Unicorn, etc. (Cheesey, I know, but work with me here.}

      Seriously though. Your website is kind of the Hub of dozens of fantasy sites and blog tours, etc. All it would take is one campaign for the award, and who knows, it could become an annual event. {It could happen.}

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    4. I find it equally disturbing that, of the twenty-five nominees, only five are men. Apart from Women’s Fiction comprising over half of all CBA fiction, I’ve often wondered how the proliferation of women affects and shapes the industry. Is it possible that the absence of sci-fi/fantasy categories is part of that tilt? The only consolation is that, of the three nominated SpeFic authors, two are men. You go, Guys!

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    5. Interesting comments, Mike. I actually read more Christian fiction written by men than women–Robert Liparulo, Randy Alcorn, Randy Singer, Robert Whitlow, John Robinson, Peretti.

      I’ve read literally dozens of books in the last year, and the only one I’ve read on the Christy Finals List is The Plague Maker by Tim Downs which is really his only Christian novel (and an excellent one), although his three other novels are published under the misnomer by Christian publishers.

      You know, I think the women probably dominate the romance and various “lit” categories of Christian publishing, but in all the other categories, it seems like the men carry the ball. And it also seems like to me–an outsider to this group–that you have a pretty good male/female split of sci-fi/fantasy writers/readers and certainly a more male dominated editor group in this category.

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    6. There was a buzz earlier because of men dominating the Hugo awards. This is the flip side, huh? 🙂

      I think their not having a SF category, after having one for years, just plain stinks. And I”m very miffed at the Christy folks.

      Mir

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    7. As I posted over at Spec Faith, a friend did some investigating and discovered the following: To be viable, a category needs a minimum of ten entries, and this year the publishers did not submit enough.

      I contend that an award, to be meaninful, needs to have some consistency behind it. I could be wrong, but when Karen Hancock won her first Christy with Arena in 2003, were there ten titles out there in the Allegory category, (which morphed into the Allegory/Fantasy category in 2004, and the Visionary category in 2005–with Futuristic dropped).

      I understand, the award, as awards go, is still relatively new. I want to suggest, the best way to make it meaningful is to build some history. That can only happen if they set some things in stone, then add.

      If you look at the list of Christy Awards through the years, you’ll see that CSFF isn’t the only area that changes are taking place—every year.

      Becky

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    8. Mike, I thought your observation was interesting.

      When I go to writers’ conferences, I always find it interesting, the number of men versus the number of women—among writers and among editors. Then add in the fact that the editors claim 80 to 90 percent of CBA buyers are women. Hmmm. What does it all mean?

      In my opinion, that marketing isn’t doing a good job attracting more men for their readership. Maybe that starts with the books they publish.

      And I agree with the observation that SFF fans and writers seem to be well balanced between men and women. Which is why I think it is the perfect genre to bring in new CBA readers.

      Back to male authors and the Christy’s, I’d have to say, I see it as understandable given that few men probably write Romance or Lit’s. Maybe even few write Historical. That cuts the number of categories available to male authors down to 5, and there were 4 nominated? About right don’t you think, since there is certainly a 2-1 ratio of women to men at the writers’ conferences.

      Mind you, I’m not saying this is OK, just that the Christy nominees probably accurately reflect the way things are presently in the CBA.

      Becky

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    9. I agree with Nicolle in that I prefer to read books written by men (I don’t know why–it’s caused me to want to write under a pen name, just in case everyone else is as unreasonably biased as I am). And I agree with Becky, there seems to be no consistency in the award categories for the Christys. It seems to morph every year.

      The interesting thing to me was how different it all seemed when I attended the recent SDSU writer’s conference (a secular conference). There, almost all the agents and most of the editors were women, but the majority of the writers were men.

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    10. “In my opinion, that marketing isn’t doing a good job attracting more men for their readership. Maybe that starts with the books they publish.”

      I think the marketing is at fault here, too, Becky. A recently acquired internet friend of mine is an aspiring Christian author working on his first novel who had no idea the number of CBA novels written by men and for men out there. Take any of the authors I named–their books are definitely male-oriented but certainly (obviously) have stories which appeal to the female audience as well. This young man saw just a blur of romance novels when he went to a Christian bookstore. He didn’t know who to look for in that blur. He was amazed there was so much available to him in Christian fiction.

      Men, as a general rule, aren’t “shoppers”. They want to see the object of their purchase without having to search for it. And, women need to get their guys appropriate books to read–if their guys are readers.

      (There’s an article in the New York Times which touches on this illusive subject and publishing in general linked to over at Mick Silva’s blog. I never thought I’d have anything positive to say about the New York Times, but this article seems fairly accurate.)

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    11. Becky, as you know, I attended the Orange County Christian Writer’s Conference several weeks ago, and had a chance to listen to Dave Long. Among other things, Dave said he believed there was a growing trend toward Men’s Fiction that he was very encouraged about. He also mentioned that over half of Bethany’s product line is Women’s Fiction — Romance, Historicals, Lits, Cozy Mysteries, etc. Over half! The fact that a potential trend toward Men’s Fiction is “encouraging” is indicative of how deeply the industry is influenced by women.

      Without getting into pseudo-psychology or male chauvinism, I believe that “mindset” must trickle into numerous marketing, trend analysis, decision-making schemes. Fantasy / Sci-Fi usually attracts more males than females, right? But 80 to 90 percent of the readers are women. Could it be that one of the reasons SpecFic struggles in the CBA is because the industry is so driven by and tilted toward women readers? I mean, why take risks with a first-time Christian sci-fi author when your primary audience is (1) Females, who want (2) Sappy romances and flitty, feel-good yarns? Of course that’s a generalization but, being that every other book at the local Christian bookstore looks like a faux Harlequin, it’s not surprising to me that the Christy’s have outed the SpecFic category.

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    12. Mike, you wound us romance writers who desire un-sappy, non-flitty not always so feel-good yarns. Ouch!
      Granted there is a definite market for those books, but judging from your comment, you haven’t read too many recent romances ( 😉 ) in the CBA. The type you described are still there and amplified with the new “lit” types, but there are some of us who write more serious material.

      It may be one of the reasons the publishers didn’t submit their SpecFic books is because winning a Christy has never proven to do anything for the individual book sales of the winners. Because more clearly than ever before, SpecFic/fantasy is developing a following, largely due to this blog and others which promote it.

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    13. Well, I hope Dave Long is right about men’s fiction. I have not noticed that myself. Most Christian men who want to read fiction seem to gravitate towards the secular writers such as Grisham, Clancy and similar writers. Face it, the majority of shoppers in Christian bookstores are women, by a large margin. And that is clearly reflected in fiction sales.

      I too was disappointed in the absence of a fantasy category for the Christy Awards. Especially because next year we will want to nominate a couple of our titles that we hope would do well in that category.

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    14. Great discussion. I decided to post my thoughts about writing for guys in tomorrow’s post.

      Nick, I hope Harvest House enters Legend of the Firefish next year. If the information I got is accurate and it is the number of books entered, then there should be plenty. I can name 7 without even thinking about it. Make that 9. But the publishers need to enter them. Ten. Right now, I could name ten titles. Eleven.

      OK, I’ll put an end to this comment, or I’ll just be letting you all know that I can count. 😛

      Becky

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    15. I’m a young male writer who’s working on a Christian-themed science fiction novel (170,000 words today!) so we are out here, if you look hard enough with a microscope. 🙂

      In fact, I mused on the strongly female-oriented nature of CBA books here on my blog:

      http://galacticoverlordinchief.blogspot.com/2007/04/novel-nearing-completionhopefully.html

      So Mike, I hope someone takes a chance on me! LOL

      Seriously, I do think the idea of a Fantasy/Sci-fi Award is great. We could call them “Tolkiens” or something like that.

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    16. I also think a sort of Hugo/Nebula for christians would be a great idea. We could call it an “Eden”. Talking snakes and God walking with man in the Garden. Pretty fantastic. 🙂 Plus, it’s catchy. 😀

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    17. Well, Jason, it sounds like you’re working on at least two Christian-themed science fiction novels!

      I’ve wondered why no one suggested The Hobbit as the award name. Or the Frodo. maybe the Sam Gamgee. How about The Gandolf. Or we could be perverse and call it The Gollum. Maybe The Inkling, as a tip to the entire group of writers.

      Becky

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    18. Do you mean “Novel A” and “Novel B” on my blog? Actually, only “Novel A” is the sci-fi one, the other is fantasy. Or maybe my novel is big enough to be two novels (which it may be if it gets any bigger!)

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    19. Well, I suggested The Aslan (nice for a leonine image) and The Chrysalis (which has that metaphoric thing of emerging new life and the first letters of CHR Christ and, heh, Christy. We could always call em the Spiffys (Sp(eculative)f(iction). HEEEE.

      JM Bertrand suggested the Ransom.

      Pixy, Eden wasn’t fantasy. It was real, girl.

      Mir

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    20. Thank you, deary. I know. But as a writer it’s pretty fantastic to read. It is, in a way, the first of the fantastic stories–true or no.

      I like Inkling. It’s very literary sounding. 😀

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    21. Jason, I was actually thinking that most editors aren’t excited about starting a new author out with a big book. It means they are risking more money. So, yes, I think you’d be wise to look at you 170,000 words and counting, and see if the story can’t be divided into two books.

      Well I like the Chrysalis and I got a good laugh at the Spiffys. :-D.

      I know other groups have called themselves the Inklings, which I thought was a little presumptuous. But the award, maybe employing the Inkling name could serve as a motivator, something to which we aspire.

      Now about that art work … (yes, I am hinting, Rachel. 😉 ) LOL

      Becky

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    22. […] comments that, I’m sure, won’t endear me to some folks. Over at Becky Miller’s A Christian Worldview of Fiction, she perused the list and, as Becky is wont to do, commented on the absence of a Visionary or […]

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