The Golden Globe awards (ha!) were given out last night , and Oscar nominations will be announced Thursday, so the usual group of self-important fun-free flicks will gather up all the honors on the way to a glittering night of unremitting bordom relieved occasionally by a funny comedian (but Robin Williams is dead, so that's a problem) or the anticipation of a jaw-dropping faux pas. I love the Oscars, but this is not an especially interesting year. I'm writing this before the nominations are announced, but I'm already bored. Imagine.
But that led to another train of thought, which is the real reason I asked you all here today.
Believe it or not, Hollywood is not the only place where awards nominations are being pondered by anxious people placing far too much importance on their chances. Yes, it's nomination season in the mystery book world, too, and if you think people like me (that is, any author who actually managed to get a book--or two--published in 2014) aren't thinking about such things, well, you are adorable.
There has been much made in various social media outlets (that's what we communicate on these days, kids--outlets) about the proper etiquette for authors to "remind" readers (and voters, we love voters!) that their brainchildren (books) are eligible for various honors. And it's a sensitive issue, seriously.
On the one hand, we don't want to appear to be relentlessly blowing our own horns, to be campaigning outwardly (is there a way to campaign inwardly?) for a crass pat on the back and an ingraved something or other. We don't want to alienate readers, who are kind enough to read our work and hopefully to like it, by becoming annoying one-note singers constantly blathering on about how you should vote for our stuff.
But on the other hand, we really want those nominations.
Writers work in a vacuum. (I'll leave a space here for the inevitable Hoover joke.) We work by ourselves, basically for ourselves, laboring away at a story that didn't exist until we decided to make it real (ish). It can take months. Or years. And all that time, we have precious little, if any, feedback. We honestly don't know if what we're devoting our time and creative energy to might actually be any good. Or not.
So yes, we crave a little ego stroke now and again. And again. We even get one, occasionally. The complimentary review. The thoughtful email from a reader. The Amazon sales number we check with some regularity (is every 6 minutes "some regularity"?).
The awards? Well, you have to be nominated, and that at least allows the writer imagine, for a few weeks, what it might be like to win the contest. Some actors remove their names from eligibility because they say artists shouldn't compete. I say, bravo to them. But my name--both my names--are staying right out there because I want to get that affirmation. There, I said it.
So here's how I have decided to deal with the campaign-but-don't-campaign conundrum: I will mention in this forum--because I'm guessing you decided to read this blog of your own free will--that both THE QUESTION OF THE MISSING HEAD, by Jeff Cohen and E.J. Copperman, and INSPECTOR SPECTER, by Copperman alone, if such a thing is possible, are indeed eligible for the Agatha Awards given at the Malice Domestic conference, and my personal favorite (because it recognizes humor), the Lefty Award from Left Coast Crime, this year held in Portland, OR. If you are a nominating voter for either of those presitigious awards and have read and enjoyed either or both books, I would greatly appreciate your consideration.
But because I really do want to be fair about it and because I really don't want to seem incredibly avaricious and self-centered, now I'll invite other writers whose books might be eligible for an award this season to comment here and tell us all about it/them. Please do so. I'm sure everyone who reads this blog would be interested in knowing. We'll look below for your comments.
I encourage all those who can to fill in those spaces on the nominating forms. Whether or not one of the books pictured (subtly) above is included in your choices. Because this is about what the readers really like.
Of course, I would like to know if I have a chance at an award to put on my mantle. Because I don't have a mantle, and would have to price one in the coming weeks. That would be okay, believe me. I've always wanted a mantle.
So let's get the game started. Who's going first?