Independent Literary Awards this year as a Voting Member for the Speculative Fiction category. I am really excited about taking part in this for two reasons . . .
First, rather than being dependant upon publishers, authors, and industry professionals, these awards are driven solely by independent literary bloggers. There are no politics involved to take attention away from the books themselves, and no entry fees that arbitrarily restrict the nominations to authors with well-financed agents and publishers. Things like critical acclaim, book sales, and bestseller lists have no impact. Instead, books are nominated (and voted upon) by the bloggers who love them and who read them for no reason other than they want to.
Nominations are collected (starting in September) from any book blogger who wishes to participate, with each blogger allowed to nominate 1 title per category. The Voting Members (who, to keep things fair, are not permitted to nominate books themselves) then read, discuss, and vote upon the top 5 nominated titles in their category. The top 2 titles from are considered Finalists, and the winners from each category are chosen by the Directors & Voting Members for each category.
The result (in my humble opinion, at least) is the selection of truly deserving winners who have done what an author should do . . . which is to entertain and engage their readers, independant of any other publishing or marketing concerns.
The Second reason I`m excited to participate is that this gives me a chance to return to my roots, and to expand my focus a little bit. I cut my literary teeth on the speculative fiction genres, and my love for the realms of fantasy, science fiction, and horror has never waned. To borrow from my official bio . . . as a precocious child, I secretly made the leap from the juvenile shelves straight to Stephen King; as an overachieving teenager, I hid Melanie Rawn and Michael Moorcock inside my text books; and, as a young career-woman, I may have ‘exaggerated’ a family illness for the chance to attend a writing workshop with Nancy Kilpatrick.
When I first launch my Bibrary.com site, it was to focus upon LGBTQ themes in speculative fiction, because that allowed me to merge the two most significant passions in my life. I originally launched my Bibrary Bookslut blog with an even more narrow focus, based upon the reading niche I felt was must under-represented. If you guessed that niche was transgender literature, you`ve been paying attention! It didn`t take me long to realise, however, that I could no more restrict myself to writing about one kind of book than I could restrict myself to reading one kind of book. If I wanted my blog to have any sort of longevity, than I needed to pay homage to all of the authors who inspire and entertain me, not just those who fit into a particular niche.
As we lead up to the nomination period later this year, I will be posting a series of monthly reminders, along with some personal 'retrospectives' on the books and authors who first sparked the passions of my literary pursuits. While I may mix things up a bit, my plans right now are to revisit the realms of:
Classic/Epic Fantasy (APRIL)
Science Fiction (MAY)
Urban Fantasy (JULY)
Alternate History (AUGUST)
A huge thanks goes out to Wallace (from Unputdownables) for allowing me to take part; to the authors who continuously inspire and entertain me; and to you, my fellow readers, for sharing the journey and disovering new reads together.