The WSFA Small Press Award: What It Is And Why Writers Should Nominate Their Stories

Despite leaving the wonderful world of Washington DC, the Washington Science Fiction Association still has their hooks in me. I am the sole long-distance member of the WSFA Small Press Award Committee.

And that’s why I might regret writing this post.

Because I’m encouraging writers who have published stories in a small press anthology or periodical in 2012 to nominate their stories.

Or if you’re too humble to nominate yourself, have your publisher nominate you, or corner a member of WSFA and offer them cookies, free lawn care, or a foot massage to nominate you.

Okay, maybe the bribes are optional (maybe). But even if you did bribe the whole club, that wouldn’t increase your chances of winning the award because 1) the short list is determined by the committee, not the whole club and 2) the author’s names and the publication are removed from each story prior to the committee’s review and the club’s voting period. The aim of the contest, which I believe is the most-awesome thing about this award, is to judge the stories based on the power of the prose, not the power of an author’s name or a publication’s reputation.

Yes, the club members may recognize a certain author’s style, or a couple may cheat and Google the story titles (you know who you are you bad, bad WSFAns). But I feel that the best story usually wins anyway. There have been some big-name authors with stories in our nomination pile that didn’t even make our short list.

So new writers, don’t count yourselves out. Your odds of winning this award are just as good as a seasoned pro. YOU HAVE A SHOT. Whether you’ve published one story or one hundred, click over the WSFA Small Press Award website for instructions on how to determine if your story is eligible and how to nominate yourself. This award could make your resume shine, could land you an agent, or if you already have an agent, he or she might kiss you if you win because you’ll be making their lives so much easier.

At the very least, do it for the trophy. It’s shiny. And it’s got a rocket on it.

One additional note: DO NOT send ME an email or tell me in person that you would like to nominate your story XXX that was published by the YYY small press. Because I’m a member of the committee, I’m obligated to stuff my ears with whatever soft material is available (be it my shirt sleeves, butter, or grass), and hum Beatles songs until you stop talking. Nomination emails will also be deleted because I’m quite serious about the anonymous judging process. If you have any questions about the rules or how you go about nominating your story, those I’ll be happy to answer.

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