Monday, August 07, 2017

First thoughts on the Dragon award

I haven't posted that much regarding the Dragon Awards. I only learned of the final ballot Thursday night, and the following morning my wife and I left for the five hour (each way) drive to Austin for Armadilloncon. While at cons I don't post that much; I prefer to mix and mingle and enjoy the event.
So here are a few insights:

First of, self-promotion is hard work, and also tedious. It's a necessary evil, however, insofar as other authors are out there promoting their own works.

There's always a mix of private and public promotion. Old-timers and very successful authors do a lot of promotion behind the scenes, because they can. I was able to do some of that, also, but in my case most of my self-promotion was up front and public. As a part-time writer I don't have those really deep roots in the genre.

People reacted very well. I think it's like, every mom thinks their kid's cute. You allowed to toot your own horn and extol your own work. Even if someone isn't as enthusiastic about your work as you are, they will be polite and respectful.

I got a late start, compared to some other people, in promoting "Another Girl, Another Planet" for the Dragon because of a simple mental error. I assumed the eligibility period was the calendar year, as it is for the Hugos and Nebulas. The book was issued in January, so I assumed it would be in consideration next year. It was only in May that a friend pointed out my absent-minded oversight. The Dragons' period goes from July 1 to June 30 of the following year.

When the initial Dragon awards were announced last year, I was pleased to see one of the categories was Alternate History. Previously the only recognition I'd seen for my favorite sub-genre was the Sidewise Award. Alternate history is becoming more and more popular, and I applaud any efforts to recognize and highlight its best works.

I knew as soon as "Another Girl, Another Planet" was published it should be a contender for the Dragon award in that category, and the ongoing positive comments and reviews since its release convinced me it had a chance. Once I realized it would have to be on the ballot for consideration this year, I embarked on a program of promotion that reminded me very much standard political campaign.

It's best in a political campaign to keep the message simple and clear and repeat it constantly. My message - AGAP is a good book and deserves your consideration - seemed to have worked. By the time the nomination deadline neared, the repetition, though, was starting to drive me nuts. I got sick of hearing about Lou Antonelli - and I'm Lou Antonelli!

I've been a finalist for both the Sidewise and Hugo awards, and in both cases, if you have made the ballot, you are contacted in advance, and asked if you accept the honor. Sometimes people prefer to take a bye.

Nominations for the Dragon closed July 24, and after a week had passed I assumed I had not made the grade. I was sure of it last Thursday night when I received an email that had a link to the final ballot.

I opened the ballot, to see who HAD made the grade, and was startled to see my name there. The Dragon award apparently is less bureaucratic than some others, I suppose, and they simply released the final ballot the way the nominations fell.

I was delighted, of course, and very proud. I also saw I am in exalted company. The Alternate History selections are all excellent works and the ballot overall is very wide-ranging and inclusive. I mean, heck, when the honorees range from John Scalzi and N.K. Jemison to Vox Day and John C. Wright, you've covered the whole, and I mean whole, spectrum of authors!

I'm tired, as I just returned home from Austin, but I'll put down more thoughts shortly. Have a great week!

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