Following the Whitney Gala Saturday night some really great writers were clowning for the camera, eating cheesecake, and calling themselves the losers. I beg to differ. They were all finalists and some of the best writers in the business. I don't mean to take anything away from the winners who collected trophies that night, but the finalists were, almost without exception, Whitney award caliber and could just as easily have been the ones to walk away with the awards. Sometimes the difference between the winner and the "almost winner" is merely a matter of taste. I also strongly suspect that some of these "losers" far outsell some of the "winners."
Over the years since the Whitneys began I've seen winners who were definitely losers in my opinion and I've seen some of the very best writers go without awards year after year. I've seen a couple of winners who did shoddy research and I've seen some of the most meticulous and carefully researched books take a back seat. I'm not saying the judging is unfair because I don't believe there has ever been a completely fair and impartial judging system invented, but this one comes pretty close --- up to the point where the book of the year is chosen. At that point only those who read all thirty-five books were eligible to vote, thus eliminating those would-be voters who did not have time to read the excessively long books, couldn't bring themselves to wade through five or ten books of a genre they don't enjoy, or who found a book so objectionable they couldn't read it. I'd like to see the selection of this award turned over to a panel of judges with professional expertise and require them to read only the one or two top vote getters from each genre instead of all thirty-five novels.
I'd also like to see a maximum length since there is a minimum. For a reader who doesn't care for romance novels, it's not a big deal to read a boring 250 pages, but expecting someone who finds science fiction or historical novels tedious, struggling through 500 to a thousand pages is asking a lot, especially if more than one finalists falls into this category.
I didn't attend the conference, only the gala, but I was impressed by how well organized it was and I loved seeing old friends and meeting people I previously only knew by their names or their work. And I certainly think this gala served the best food of any gala so far.
Early Saturday morning I discovered the rechargable battery in my camera would no longer recharge. I set out to buy new batteries and found that particular battery is no longer available, so I wound up purchasing a new camera. It has lots of features, I've no clue how to use and most of my pictures came out blurred. I'm used to using a view finder and I've got to work on using a preview screen instead.
Though I wasn't a Whitney winner nor even a finalist; in fact I didn't even have a book released in 2010, I left the gala feeling like a winner. My editor chose to inform me there in person that my historical novel I submitted a few months ago has been accepted for publication!
All comments here about this blog, the Storymakers conference, the Gala, congratulatory comments for the winners, or anything concerning the Whitney awards will count toward the May Wish List Contest.