Earlier this week I posted about the fact that the LLF still doesn’t accept digital submissions from authors for the Lambda Awards. There are links in that post where I’ve posted even more in the past on this topic.
Not only is it costly for authors to submit copies of print books these days, but most authors have a large digital readership that’s building constantly.
So this is why I’m hoping the folks at the LLF who are in charge of the Lambda Awards read this article about Newsweek Magazine going completely digital in a few months. I’ve been predicting this sort of thing for the past five years at least. I also think all magazines will follow Newsweek’s path eventually.
So why is it taking so long in book publishing?
Newsweek is ending its print edition and transitioning to an all-digital format by the end of 2012, editor Tina Brown announced on Thursday.
The magazine has been in print since 1933. That will end after its Dec. 31 issue. The shuttering of the print edition will inevitably seen as a harbinger of things to come for the wider industry.
The all-digital tablet edition will be called Newsweek Global. it will launch in early 2013 and require a paid subscription.
I know nothing about the Lambda Awards. Other than the fact that I was in a book that won a lammy in 2009, the only thing I know about the Lambda Awards is that it is a honor to win a lammy if you’re writing something with LGBT content. I was thrilled the book I was in won, and I couldn’t have been more pleased for the editor of the anthology, Richard Labonte.
I wasn’t going to post anymore this weekend, but when I saw this article I had to put something up for other people who might not have seen it. It’s a commentary piece written by author/publisher, Steve Berman. From what I gather, Steve Berman owns Lethe Press, an LGBT press that seems to focus on a variety of different sub-genres. I’ve never done anything with them, but I did read one book a few years ago and I liked it. They seem to have an artistic quality, and a unique brand.
In the commentary, Berman states:
As opposed to the vast majority of literary awards, the Lammys are judged in secret — well, they tell you the judges’ names in the program booklet but not who judged which category. Why the velvet curtains? Is it to protect the foundation from scrutiny? Concealing the identities of judges prior to the ceremony and even then not revealing their specific responsibilities is the opposite of transparency.
As I said, I know nothing about how the awards are judged…other than the fact that I don’t think they include digital books. The one time I did submit…about three years ago…I had to order the books from Amazon in print, I had to pay the entry fee, and then I had to ship the books to the judges. By the time I was finished I think I wound up paying over one hundred dollars. I even wrote about it here in 2010 and gave reasons why I wasn’t submitting anything that year. They may have changed this policy since then. I’m honestly not sure. I haven’t looked into, or submitted anything to the Lambda Awards since then. For me it’s simply a practical matter of time and money. And, I write (and read) digital books almost exclusively now, proudly.
Berman also says this:
Three of my friends broke their silence regarding their experiences as Lammy judges last year. Each told me disturbing accounts. No overall rules for the judges in every category to follow. Not every judge had to read every nominated book — or even all five finalists. So publishers wasted time and money sending in books that ended up being ignored. Judges treated each other with petulance and no one from the foundation enforced any common sense or responsibility. Now, maybe not every category had such problems, but what I heard coupled with the complete lack of transparency from the foundation has left me with the impression that the Lammys are a shambles. Their original focus, to highlight good queer literature, has been lost to the art of fund-raising. The cost of submitting titles goes up and up. The awards event now puts more emphasis on special guests and late-night parties than on the literature and authors it’s advertised as celebrating.
In any event, I don’t have much more to offer because my experiences with the Lambdas are very limited. The few times I was invited to go by Lori Perkins I had other plans and couldn’t make it. But I do think Berman’s commentary is worth reading in full. It’s not every day you see an author and a publisher talk so candidly.
It’s no secret that I have…and will continue to do so…supported everyone who writes m/m fiction, including straight women authors. Or, for that matter, anyone who writes anything in lgbt fiction. I’ve become a huge fan of some (Michele Montgomery, EM Lynley), and my TBR list is growing daily.
I came across an interesting piece this evening on twitter about the topic, which I’m sharing now with this link
This is the first time I’ve seen anyone attack the subject so openly, and whether you agree or not, it’s still worth reading.
Although I’ve been part of Lambda Award Winning Anthologies in past years, I didn’t submit anything to the Lambda awards this year, which is a first for me. But the main reason I didn’t submit was because they don’t allow authors to submit e-books, which is mainly what I write these days. Though all my books can be ordered on amazon as print books, it wound up costing me over a hundred bucks to submit two books last year. And I wasn’t feeling generous enough this year to spend that kind of money again. Believe it or not, we authors don’t get our print books for free. We do receive ARCs (review copies) for e-books, but not print.
Here is part of the blog post below in case you don’t feel like clicking over there:
The Stonewall Books Awards, given annually to the year’s best in children’s and teen literature involving the GLBT experience, were announced today at the closing of the American Library Association’s annual conference. Brian Katcher’s Almost Perfect, the story of a straight boy’s relationship with a transgender girl, was named the winner.
But the most interesting development may be this year’s decision by the American Library Association’s Stonewall Book Awards Committee of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered Round Table, which gives the award, to announce it at the same time as the ALA’s other prominent awards, which include the Newbery (given for outstanding children’s literature), the Printz (given for outstanding teen literature), and the Coretta Scott King (given for outstanding African American literature).
This decision has greatly increased the visibility of the Stonewall Awards (and, perhaps, their clout), and some are saying this is a direct response to last year’s decision by the Lambda Awards to restrict nominations only to books whose authors identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender.
At the time, I argued that this was very ill-conceived — that the sexual orientation of an author was irrelevant to the quality of a book or the “truthfulness” of its voice, and that, for various reasons, this decision, however well-intentioned, was an unnecessary slap in the face of our strongly supportive straight-author allies.
My friend, heterosexual author Ellen Wittlinger, makes this case particularly effectively here.
I also argued it would inevitably reduce the quality of the Lambda winners and end up reducing the overall clout of the awards themselves, something the increased visibility of the Stonewall Awards may be hastening, at least with regard to teen and children’s GLBT literature.
I’ve been part of the Lambda Literary Awards a few times. I’m an openly gay author, writing with my own name and not a pen name, who has been writing in the lgbt genre for almost twenty years. I’ve even been in anthologies that have won Lambda awards. However, this year I’m passing on the festivities and I’m not submitting any of my books. One reason is lack of time and another other is cost.
Most of my books are e-books that sell very well, but they can be downloaded as print books on demand at Amazon if a reader so wishes. But this also means if I want copies of my own books in print, I have to order them just like everyone else and pay for postage. As a reader, I’ve made the switch to reading only e-books. I save money, enjoy the reading process ten times more, and will never go back to reading print books again. Evidently, the LLF has not made the switch and e-books are not eligible.
My print books sell, but not nearly as well as the e-books. My fan base (thanks to every single one of you), according the hundreds of letters I receive each week, are lgbt as well as straight readers who only read e-books. So for me to take the time out of my busy writing schedule to go through the Lambda submission process and order my own print books to submit to them is costly. I’m just like everyone else in America right now. I have a mortgage. I have bills. I have car payments. I have priorities to consider. And by the time I’m finished adding up what it will cost me to submit something to the LLF for the Lambda’s, it runs into the hundreds. And in this economy I’m not willing to part with money as easily as I would have been in the past.
I’m thankful to Elisa Rolle for sponsoring The Rainbow Awards, which doesn’t cost authors a dime out of their own pockets. I’m sure the LLF will survive without me this year. Who knows? I may even wind up as a participant in the Lambda’s if an editor of an anthology I’m in this year decides to submit his book. And I’m sure there will be some great lgbt books submitted to the LLF by some very talented authors. I wish them all well, and if anyone reading this post is interested in submitting their print books to the LLF for the Lambda’s, please follow this link and support them
Each year around this time the finalists for the Lambda Awards are posted on their web site. This is the 22nd year for these awards and I, of course, have my own favorites that are listed as finalists.
I was thrilled to see that two of my favorite books are finalists, and I’m hoping the best for both of these authors I like and respect.
One book is an anthology, written by Cecelia Tan, titled WOMEN OF THE BITE. This is an anthology of lesbian themed vampire stories. The storylines are great, the quality of the writing is great, and everything about the book keeps the reader wanting more.
The other book is titled, TRANSGRESSIONS, by Erastes. It’s a well written m/m historical, set in 1642, England, about two young men struggling to survive in a war-torn atmosphere. I don’t read many historicals, but I’m glad I read this one. It was wonderful and I couldn’t recommend it more. I’ve been in a few anthologies with this author, and I’ve always been happy with what I’ve read.