You're going to think I'm a terrible person, and you may be right.
With the coming of the new year (happy 2014, everybody!) comes the beginning of the awards season in virtually every walk of life that has an awards season. And frankly, there aren't nearly enough awards in my opinion; members of accounting firms, police departments and supermarket staffs should be eligible for acknowledgment of their excellence. Assuming they're excellent.
But as that awards mania extends to the crime writing biz, this is the moment when such organizations as the Mystery Writers of America, Malice Domestic, Left Coast Crime and any number I've omitted (thereby killing any chances my books might have) determine their nominees for works published in 2013.
I've gotten a couple of ballots, particularly to the conferences that I have already committed to attending this year, Left Coast Crime in Monterey and Malice Domestic, as ever in Bethesda, MD. As an attendee, I can nominate works in any number of categories.
And here's where I become a terrible person. The fact is, I nominate my own books and no one else's.
Go ahead. Disdain me. I deserve it.
There are a few elements that contribute to my admitted awfulness. For one, I don't actually read all that many crime novels in the course of a year. When I'm writing, I don't like to expose my mind to other writers' styles for fear of catching a rhythm or a plot point that I might inadvertantly recycle later on. And when I'm not writing, well, it's something of a busman's holiday to start reading crime novels.
This Thursday I'll begin teaching screenwriting for a new term, and I will warn my new students that learning the basics of how to construct a story for film could easily ruin going to the movies for the rest of their lives. A writer goes into the experience with storyteller instincts, and can spot a plot point coming from a couple of miles away. About 20 minutes into The Sixth Sense, I leaned over to my wife and (extremely quietly, because talking at the movies is an unpardonable sin) asked, "Did you get it?" She didn't talk to me for three hours after the film was over.
That kind of thing happens when I read crime novels, so I tend to stay away. And the fact that by the end of the day, I have seen countless words tends to cut back on my "pleasure reading" these days. So that's one problem.
Another is that I have an ego the size of a Macy's parade balloon and really want my books to win awards. Nominating someone else is simply counterproductive.
See above, re: Disdain me.
So I'll mark my nominating ballots this week and I'll send them back. And you can rest assured that both books released in 2013 by E.J. Copperman (Chance of a Ghost and The Thrill of the Haunt) will be mentioned prominently.
Will any others? Perhaps in categories in which my books are not eligible. But then, I haven't read many of those, either.
I'll vote for books by friends, who deserve awards as well as I do (except the ones I'm eligible for). And the odd book I read randomly throughout the year might get a nomination, although I'm having trouble dredging one up right now. Short stories? Really not my thing. Historical? Not that much. Non-fiction? I tend to stick with American history and show business history. Not a lot of possibilities there.
So it would be inappropriate for me to solicit votes for the Copperman books. Not that I don't want them, but I'm terrible at asking for such things, and always feel like I'm unworthy. Largely because I only mark my own books on the ballot.
See? I said you'd think I'm a terrible person.