Friday, 8 July 2016

The Gemmell Award shortlists!

I'm very pleased to find The Liar's Key has made the shortlist for the David Gemmell Legend Award.

You can vote again, the 2nd round total adds to the 1st to decide the winner.

Go vote! It just takes 2 clicks, no registration. And the winner gets this...

On the Morningstar Award for best debut I voted for The Vagrant by Peter Newman. The Morningstar winner (Prince of Thorns was shortlisted in 2012 but didn't win) gets this:

And Jason Chan's fine artwork is up for the Ravenheart award for best cover!

The Legend Award shortlist is rather different this year...

Not present are Sanderson and Abercombie (who have featured in 6 and 5 shortlists respectively ... i.e. every time they release a book.) You might call this a good thing for variety, but then again the award is a popularity contest over a particular subset of the readership - i.e. those who can be reached online and persuaded to vote. So the absence of a book with over 23,000 ratings on Goodreads and the presence of a book with fewer than 100 ratings might be considered strange. Particularly when you note that Goodreads ratings are roughly proportional to readers.

However, it's well known that motivating your readership can play a significant role in such votes. The book with 93 ratings is part of the Black Library, Games Workshop's label for Warhammer books. And Warhammer has a huge following. In 2010 a Warhammer book won the Legend Award. That book to this day only has 337 ratings on Goodreads.

The rest of the shortlist has a roughly similar showing on Goodreads (3x ~2000 ratings and 1x ~5000) but given the scale of the books left out by Sanderson, Abercrombie, Hobb (sadly!) and others it's very clear that the result is completely up in the air!

It's worth noting that this year's shortlist has no female authors on it, again. By my count there have been 3 female authors shortlisted over the award's 8 year history.

The answer would seem to be clear enough. If a book with 93 ratings can get voted onto the shortlist then all it would take is for a Robin Hobb or Naomi Novik to mention that the vote is on, tweet the link etc, and they would be right in there. And if they remain too classy to even indirectly toot their own horn ... then if just a faction of those who (justifiably) complain of under-representation in this particular award would take action to get the readers of those authors voting ... again, there would be women on the shortlist in no time.

Good luck to all!

As an afterthought - if no author mentioned the poll then the result would be a rather predictable one largely based on sales numbers. If every author mentioned it then the result would be a rather predictable one largely based on sales numbers. So, actually the degree to which authors engage with the award and make their readers aware it exists, is really what gives the award its character.

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