Friday, January 16, 2009

Oh yum, Edgar nomination chomping time again!

The Edgar nominations were announced today and of course everyone is in a tizzy. A tizzy cause they were nominated. A tizzy cause they weren't. A triple tizzy if they thought books should have been nominated but weren't. Pretty much everyone is having that last tizzy.

The most notable nomination omission is the book that appeared on at least five "Best of" lists: Stieg Larsson's The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Now, I'm not here to throw stones at the MWA committee that reads all the submissions and selects the nominees, and not just cause I represent at least one of the people on the committee. I read submissions every day too, and I feel their pain.

You can't blame them for an oversight because the book wasn't submitted for consideration.

I checked. Twice.

Other interesting submission blanks:
Richard Price's Lush Life (which was on the Seattle Times and the Washington Post's Notable lists);

Stewart O'Nan's Songs for the Missing (Washington Post and LA Times) and
Colin Harrison's The Finder (Sun-Sentinel, LA Times).

I'm not sure why a publisher wouldn't submit a novel for Edgar consideration, but there you have it: they didn't.

Now, here's the other interesting thing. Listed below are the nominees for three Edgar categories. NO means the book wasn't on any of the Best of Lists that I looked at (not a comprehensive list to be sure). YES means it was.

NO Missing by Karin Alvtegen (Felony & Mayhem Press)

YES Blue Heaven by C.J. Box (St. Martin's Minotaur)
NO Sins of the Assassin by Robert Ferrigno (Simon & Schuster - Scribner)

NO The Price of Blood by Declan Hughes (HarperCollins – William Morrow)

YES The Night Following by Morag Joss (Random House – Delacorte Press)

NO Curse of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz (Simon & Schuster)


NO The Kind One by Tom Epperson (Five Star, div of Cengage)

NO Sweetsmoke by David Fuller (Hyperion)

NO The Foreigner by Francie Lin (Picador)
Calumet City by Charlie Newton (Simon & Schuster - Touchstone)
A Cure for Night by Justin Peacock (Random House - Doubleday)


NO The Prince of Bagram Prison by Alex Carr (Random House Trade)

NO Money Shot by Christa Faust (Hard Case Crime)

NO Enemy Combatant by Ed Gaffney (Random House - Dell)

NO China Lake by Meg Gardiner (New American Library – Obsidian Mysteries)

YES The Cold Spot by Tom Piccirilli (Random House - Bantam)

The thing that makes the Edgars so interesting is that the committee considers ALL the books submitted in a category. As far as I know, most reviewers aren't reading that same number of books and one of the reasons is cause I'm sure many publishers aren't sending all their books to every reviewer. And reviewers know they have limited space and they're writing for commercial readers not "best of".

So, who do you think should have been on the lists?


Bill Cameron said...

Personally, I find this year's adult novel nominations an abomination for the following failures:
Good People by Marcus Sakey
Trigger City by Sean Chercover
Another Man's Moccasins by Craig Johnson
The Clinch Knot by John Galligan

Thank God some good sense slipped through and Piccirilli and Faust made it for BPBO, and Declan Hughes made it for BN.

Personally, I think it's well past time to abolish award nominations, especially those sponsored by so-called professional writers organizations.

Mike Cane said...

I always wonder when I don't see Ken Bruen on that list.

Piccirilli at least made it.

Richard Lewis said... in Bali, which has no libraries or decent bookstores and Amazon (and kind) cost a fortune for shipping, I depend on tourist left behinds for much of my reading.

Of all the titles on this post, the only one I could get my salty little palms on was GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO. I read it, enjoyed it, thought the girl of the title kicked serious butt, but wasn't overwhelmed. I'm now surprised to hear it's on five best of lists. In my humble humid opinion, of course.

Daisy said...

Out of curiosity, what should an author do if his or her book doesn't show up on the submission list? Is this something an agent would be involved in pushing for?

BJ said...

Maybe the publishers figure the books on the best of lists have had enough publicity, and they'd rather get a lesser known novel out in the public eye? Just a thought. Either that, or they don't think much of the Edgars, which would be pretty silly.

Janet Reid said...

Daisy, I keep an eye on the nominations just to make sure they include my guys but publishers mostly take care of this. I've never had a publisher not submit a book if I asked.

Anita said...

I've got to say Lutz kicks some writing booty. She has such a fresh, distinct voice. I recommended her in my column and recently interviewed her for my blog. Go, Lutz!

Bill Cameron said...

BJ, what is silly about not thinking much of the Edgars?

BJ said...

The publicity aspect. The marketing. Whether the awards really are indicative of quality or not, more folks will buy a book that's won a major award than one that hasn't. And some folks will use the list of nominees/winners to choose books to read.

I thought that sort of thing was important to publishers. Could be wrong, though...

BJ said...

Of course, I just read Janet's Tweet saying Edgar awards don't sell books. So I am obviously wrong.

JES said...

Went over to the awards site to check the other categories. Surprised not to see THE MONSTER OF FLORENCE on the Fact Crime list, *very* pleased to see EDGAR ALLAN POE: AN ILLUSTRATED COMPANION on the Crit/Autobio list (that is a way cool book), semi-disappointed that the TV Episode list has not one but *three* LAW & ORDER (orig & SVU) episodes, plus a CSI: MIAMI and one from a BBC show. (I mean, kudos to the L&O franchise but c'mon...)

Like you say, though, it's hard to make anything much of the selection list (unless you're on it!) -- not if publishers, TV networks, etc. haven't actually nominated something.

Maria said...

Some libraries use awards list to decide whether to buy a book or not. I know mine does. If I request a book that is on the list and the librarian sees that, she's very, very likely to order it. So it helps. May not shoot a book to bestseller, but I know those lists are used and it does get the books out there. Lots of blogs post the list and I've seen discussions about "how many have you read?"

Bill Cameron said...

A year or so ago, I got into a discussion in which I said I thought that professional writers organizations should not offer awards, as it created a situation where an organization whose charter is egalitarian support of all members becomes a public relations firm for a select few.

The late Evil Elaine (a good buddy, and greatly missed) said I would feel differently if I was ever nominated. I can't pretend that I'm somehow above having my ego stroked, and I also can't pretend like I haven't used the couple of nominations I've received for marketing purposes (to zero measurable effect), but a year later I still find myself with the sense that when MWA or ITW et. al. gives awards, the end result is a creation of a class structure that should never be part of such an organization.

Are some writers more successful than others? Yes. Do some writers produce work which is stronger than others? Yes. But MWA is allegedly in the business of promoting all authors. They need to leave the kudos to independent outsiders. Because inside any organization you have the popular kidz and the nerds and the wannabees. You have the politicking and "oh she deserves" and "he hasn't paid his dues" and similar bullshit, making the whole juried award system (no matter how well-intentioned the judges) suspect. Kewl Kidz and Wannabees alike all pay their $95 and should all be treated the same.

Meanwhile, the big list comes out and we have a collective gasp and the nominees are all giddy, but the list is flawed and insulting because it's incomplete. It can't not be. It's worthless, except for the wet dreams in causes in marketing department.

And anyway, what does a group like MWA really do? Hold awards and pat itself on its back. I can save my $95, pat myself on the back, and maybe pay my electric bill one month and end up with the same "support."

Here's the deal, MWA, (and ITW and other award-giving organizations), skip the awards. Stop ghettoizing some of your members in favor of a flawed system of bragging rights and get us health insurance instead. Get us real, measurable benefits. Otherwise, what good are you? No reader on earth says, "Oh, I will buy this book BECAUSE the author is a member of a dues collecting organization."

Corey Wilde said...

Craig McDonald's 'Toros & Torsos' should have been a lock for a nomination. Others I wouldn't have been surprised to see:

Ken Bruen for 'Once Were Cops'
Sean Chercover for 'Trigger City'
Michael Koryta for 'Envy the Night'
Robert Crais for 'Chasing Darkness'
Dave Zeltserman for 'Small Crimes'
Arnaldur Indridason for 'The Draining Lake'
Don Winslow for 'The Dawn Patrol'

Eric said...

Bravo Bill. As usual, you are one smart guy.

Bill Cameron said...

Thanks, Eric, but let's be honest. I'm flicking boogers at a brick wall. A bunch of people will petulantly jump out to scrub them off and badmouth me for my audacity, but the wall itself will remain impervious.

BJ said...

That's a wise and witty but somewhat ... gross ... analogy.

Remind me not to get between Bill and a brick wall...

Eric said...

Pissing into the wind? The only thing one can do is to get three sheets to the wind, deal with the hangover, then get on with it the next morning. At least that's what I do. That's what they make aspirin for. Well, and heart attacks.