Now I'm not very well read in the Blaze line, but I find it hard to believe that they all suck so bad that not one was capable finaling in the RITA the last couple of years. Which begs the question is the RITA process broken?
Personally, I think broken is the wrong word. More like flawed.
I used to pay attention the RITA. Now though, with so many authors online and blogging, the "process" of how a book wins a RITA has been demystified for readers. Frankly, an award where the author has to enter their work (plus pay a fee) in order to "win" doesn't mean much. What about those authors who choose not to enter (for whatever reason)? Am I to believe that their books are somehow inferior? No. Because I've read many awesome books that never finaled. Why didn't they final? I don't know because RWA never publishes a list of all the books that were entered to begin with. So maybe that super-fantastic book I gushed about for a solid month wasn't even entered. Maybe the author is saving her money to buy groceries or pay her electric bill. Maybe the author isn't a member of RWA and could care less. Who knows?
Being Queen Librarian Of The Universe, here is how I'd "fix" the RITA process.
- Add a romantica/erotica category. Just do it already.
- Drop the peer-judging who-ha. Open up judging to librarians, booksellers, editors and reviewers.
- Publish a list of all the books that were entered for consideration. Then we can see for ourselves if there is inequality in the judging process. Frankly I like facts to back up my various incoherent rants.
This of course also returns to my recent RTB column where I stated:
Awards - in the grand scheme of things, most readers could care less. That said, some libraries will probably decide to buy your book now.
And I believe that's very, very true. Most readers don't care. I suspect authors care because it somehow "validates" their work. It's a pat on the back. It's the industry telling you that they like you! They really, really like you!
My advice? Write the best books you can. Please your readers. That's the only audience an author needs "approval" from. And if you please readers, the word of mouth will very likely do more for your sales then some dopey gold statue could. Then you can laugh all the way to the bank. How cool would that be?
Easier said then done I suppose, but still good advice. Well, at least I think it's good advice. But again, what do I know?