If Readers Are Choosing …


Nominations are coming in for the Clive Staples Award for Christian Speculative Fiction—a very exciting happenstance. Eventually all the nominations will be arranged alphabetically and listed in one place.

For now I’m collecting the nominations and posting them over at the award site (here and here). To be honest, I’m surprised at the growing number of books.

Surprised, but pleased. Fans should want to see a book they liked receive recognition.

However, as the list grows, I can’t help but worry that we’re going to end up with an exhaustive list rather than a Best of the Year list. Maybe that’s OK.

But I want to avoid something that I think will water down the Clive Staples Award—making it a popularity contest, not a genuine “readers liked this book best” award.

Popularity contests work like this: someone nominates a book he likes, then he or the author or both solicit votes from their friends, whether they’ve read the book or not. The contest, then, does not measure the popularity of the book but of the people asking others to vote.

In contrast, a true Readers’ Choice Award will involve only readers who have read the selections and who understand the standards for good fiction. They vote for the one book they thought qualified as the best of the year.

The rules for voting for the Clive Staples Readers’ Choice Award are simple. Participants must have read at least two of the nominated books.

Last year the requirement was to have read one, meaning that friends who weren’t really speculative fiction readers could still participate, though they hadn’t read any of the other books nominated for the award.

So this year, to encourage participation from the reading public and not just from authors’ fan bases, we’ve added a second book requirement.

Consequently, the logical thing, as I see it, is for authors to encourage they fans to read at least one of the competitors’ books in order to be eligible to vote. :-p

After all, if Readers are choosing, then they should be reading the books in order to make an informed decision, don’t you think?

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Published in: on May 13, 2010 at 4:43 pm  Comments (2)  
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