Daniel I. Russell is the author of Entertaining Demons, Samhane, Retard, Come Into Darkness, Critique, The Collector Book 1: Mana Leak, Mother's Boys and the huge collection Tricks, Mischief and Mayhem. Daniel is a HWA active member and represented by the Tobias Literary Agency, NYC. Daniel has also been the vice-president of the Australian Horror Writers' Association, special guest editor of Midnight Echo, associate and technical editor for Necrotic Tissue, and Shadow Awards judge.
On the road to Swancon
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Thursday, April 28, 2011So long Ditmars...but thanks for all the blog hits
There were some...discussions following the Ditmar awards this year. I like a good, healthy discussion/debate. Good things can come from them, new avenues can be identified. However, I don't usually like to enter into debates. I'm not the debating type. I tend to go with the 'we can agree to disagree' stance. Other people leap into insults at that point, determined to be the winner, which does nothing but stir up emotion and is detrimental to the point of both sides arguments.
Because I now feel I am part of the Australian spec scene, I was foolish (?) enough to enter an ongoing debate on Facebook regarding the Ditmar winners this year. Here's what I've been saying, and I quote:
"I saw enough politics regarding the Stokers when I was a HWA member many years ago. Every award system has its flaws. With something like this? The possibility to swing votes. With a panel? The fact that the opinions of a few individuals determine what is deemed to be superior. I don't hold much weight in awards, to be honest. Just to have a reader say they enjoyed your work is enough for me (being a 'splatter writer', I know I'm not going to win any awards anyway, regardless to how many readers like my work). Still, all the winners put the work in and congratulations to them, no matter who the publisher may be."
"Something else I just noticed. Ditmar novel went to Power and Majesty. Nothing against the author, whom I didn't know of until the convention. But this novel is from Harper Voyager and was part of the free books that EVERY con goer received.... This would play a part in swinging those hanging voters. Now small presses and indie authors could no way afford to give out free copies of their novels to all con goers. It's things like this that support my view that award winners are not necessarily more talented writers or better books, more they have a better marketing machine behind them. But then I am a pessimistic arse whose only award ever was 'Best Teeth' in the sexy men competition we had in the office in 2008... There wasn't even an award for best facial hair!"
Okay, hands up I wasn't aware that not everyone received a copy of the book at the convention and the point I was trying to make wasn't put across concisely (again...I rarely participate in debates like this and structuring arguments isn't my strong point. So I tried to clarify:
"Again, the con bags were great. Books featuring the guests of honour are a fantastic idea, but featuring books that are eligible for awards does invite an opinion of bias. BUT the organisers did a grand job and if publishers want to offer free copies, it's going to be very hard to say no. Rock and hard place."
And that was it.
I DID NOT accuse TPP of bloc voting.
I DID NOT say that ANY of winners didn't deserve it.
I DID SAY that the awards system is flawed...but then again, I feel they all are thus don't have much stock in them.
I DID SAY that some of the things at the convention MAY invite an opinion of bias.
All in all, I think I was quite nice about the whole thing. Or perhaps I just had sour grapes, not winning an award I wasn't even nominated in. Have you read any of my work? I have my loyal following of readers who like the kind of stuff I write, but for it to win an award? That would be like SAW 3D winning the Oscar for Best Picture. An award would be nice (something to show my mum and the kids) but I'm under no aspirations on what it means to win one (ie, it will take my career to the next level). Yes, I posted a Ditmar blog post in the early stages of the awards mentioning the stuff I had in the prelims. I did this once. No lobbying and canvassing after that, save a chat about my ASIM story in the Tin Duck short story category, but that was with the nice lady who accepted it, so I think that's okay.
Thanks for crankynick for including me in a singled out group of 'whining hypocritical fucks' over at his blog http://crankynick.livejournal.com/97109.html. I'm not going to name call. I just wanted to use this blog post to state my points, go down my usual agree to disagree line and thank him for all the blog hits today.
And people say the Video Music Awards can be controversial...