Apr 13, 2013

Self promotion by authors and awards

I have just read Seanan MacGuire’s post here and it’s a little depressing:

The main flush of angry kvetching over the Hugo ballot has passed; we're on to complaining about other things, like the Clarke Award short list and whether or not "fake geek girls" really exist. (I have a guest post about fake geek girls and why they're a fiction that makes me want to set everything the sun touches on fire coming up later this month, so I'm not going to go into that now.) And to be honest, I'm really glad. Sure, it's nice to have everyone you've ever met in a friendly capacity saying congratulations for a couple of days, and it's an honor to be nominated—nothing can change that. But the personal comments got to be a bit much within the first twenty-four hours, and by the time the primary articles stopped, I was basically just hiding under my bed and waiting for it to be over. [Read on …no really do because its a good discussion]

And while Jonathan McCalmont certainly doesn’t accuse Seanan of excessive self promotion he did criticize a group of authors/nominees for not “spreading the love” so to speak.  Seanan being one of those authors. 

My issue is not with the people engaged in the grinding and socially awkward task of being a professional writer but with the people who remind others of their eligibility whilst conveniently failing to acknowledge the existence of works other than their own. [Read the full article]

There is an issue with certain segments of the writing community not being acknowledged for reasons of race, gender and sexuality.  I don’t think you’d find many who’d disagree with that claim.  I’m not convinced however that it’s fair, to expect authors in particular to commit to the sort of Hugo posting that McCalmont would like. Even if they did, I wonder if they wouldn’t cop flack for the choices they made. That is, being accused of nominating friends and acquaintances or perhaps of not being sincere in their discussions of who should be nominated.  If I had a choice between a “ya’ll should check out the other nominees, I ‘ve heard good stuff about them” and nothing - I’ll go nothing.

I think the sort of broad discussion posts that McCalmont was hoping to find more of, are the purview of bloggers and commentators.  Indeed it looks to me if  that first group he highlights is essentially made up of those.

I just don’t know if authors have the time to read and critically examine enough of the current works on offer.  I know several authors at the top of their game in Australia that don’t read heavily in the field they write in for a number of reasons, chief among them being time and wanting to have a break from the genre.

So I agree with McCalmont that there should be more discussion well ahead of the nomination period, but I think that it’s not really an author’s responsibility.  When it comes to sites that have staff/multiple volunteers then I’m on the fence.  They have more individuals and a wider reading experience to draw on.



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