With the Clive Staples Award now revived for nominated Christian speculative novels published last year, and now hosted here at Speculative Faith, people are wondering why the contest is also limited to novels that have been:
published by a publisher which has no direct affiliation with the author and which pays a royalty (i.e. not self-published, even through any of the services offered by publishing companies)1
Today reader and self-published author Laura K. Cowan asked:
Are there any awards of this type that are open to self-pubbed titles?
We’ve been getting that a lot.
Speaking for the Clive Staples Award, anyway, Rebecca Miller responded:
When we first conceived of this award, one of the goals was to bring awareness to publishers of the kind of books readers want to see in print. We also wanted to recognize and therefore to encourage the best writing. In that light, we followed the guidelines of the other key Christian fiction awards–the Christy and what is now know as the Carol.
We did discuss the idea that “someday” we might include more than one award, either separating by genre (so that science fiction is pitted against fantasy and fantasy against horror) or by audience (so young adult and middle grade books aren’t up against adult books–a decided disadvantage to the latter ).
Since the explosion of self-publishing, I can see a real need for a self-publishing division, too, but that has to remain a “someday” goal. The last year we ran the contest, we had 19 nominations. Imagine how many there would be if we added into the mix self-published books? What we end up with is a best book chosen by a majority voting, but not a consensus. In the end we’d have the kind of popularity contest we want to avoid.
This is not a contest about who can get the most friends to click over to our site and punch in a vote for their book. We want genuine speculative fiction readers who have some discernment as to what makes a good book. That’s why we require voters to have read at least two of the nominations. It ought to be a higher number than that, but that will have to be a “someday” goal also.