Planetary Awards

Awards for Science Fiction and Fantasy Writing

Creating New Awards

I’m asking my fellow book bloggers, along with podcasters and booktubers, to join me in creating a new set of awards for science fiction and fantasy stories. Why invent another award? In addition to numerous regional and sub-genre awards, there are currently two broad awards: The Nebula and the Hugo. While both are based on good ideas, it’s possible they are overly influenced by the publishing industry.

Nebula Award winners are chosen by the members of the SFWA. Having authors choose the best stories seems logical, but has some drawbacks:

  • Most fans can’t participate.
  • The tastes of fans and creators may not overlap as much as the creators believe they do.
  • SFWA members have ties to publishing houses (or are seeking ties) and may be subject to influence.

Anyone who is willing to spend $40 can vote in the Hugo Awards. The large fee is probably meant to limit voting to the highly motivated, but introduces other flaws:

  • It could skew voting, as $40 means little to some people, but matters to others.
  • Employees and contractors of the publishing houses may be pressured or compensated to vote, swinging the results since the total number of voters is small.

There has been hostility involving the Hugo awards recently, and I don’t want this blog to become another forum for complaints one way or the other. Let’s focus on the idea of building something new.

The winners of our new awards will be chosen based on the opinions of people who put time and effort into analyzing and comparing science fiction and fantasy stories: book bloggers, podcasters, and booktubers.

What are the benefits for those who participate? First, their content will be re-blogged/embedded here whenever they post a nomination or vote, which will promote their site. Second, it’s fun to discover new books and engage with other fans.

What are the benefits for authors who win the award? For established, well-known authors, probably very few. For a new author who manages to pull off a win, tagging their book as “award-winning” might just give their career the push it needs.

In the next few days, I’ll make additional posts seeking feedback about who should be qualified to vote, how they’ll vote, when they’ll vote, and in what categories awards should be issued. Save your feedback on those topics, but please leave a comment here with your general thoughts, and if you are a blogger/podcaster/booktuber, let me know if you’re interested in participating.

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66 comments on “Creating New Awards

  1. Planetary Defense Commander
    October 14, 2015

    Reblogged this on Planetary Defense Command and commented:

    I’d appreciate your opinion on a new project I’m starting, especially if you’re a book blogger.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Loren Rhoads
    October 14, 2015

    This is an intriguing idea. Would reviewers on Goodreads be able to participate or only people whose blogs are dedicated to reviewing books?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Planetary Defense Commander
      October 14, 2015

      Sorry, your comment went to moderation at first, as that was the default setting for the new blog.

      I hadn’t considered the possibility of including Goodreads reviewers. Many of them write lengthy, detailed reviews, and it would open the award up to many more voters.

      My initial thoughts are that I wouldn’t have any verification mechanism. Someone could try to vote here, claiming they are PhatGuy83 on Goodreads, then do the same again claiming to be HeftyDude87 at goodreads, etc. But if someone wants to cast a vote claiming to be from the Blue Haired Book Blog, I can go to that blog and see that they’ve actually made a post with their vote or nomination.

      Definitely an idea worth discussing!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. coldhandboyack
    October 14, 2015

    Sounds interesting, but I’m not in your voting group. Best of luck with this.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. clayfoot2
    October 14, 2015

    Looking forward to learning more about what’s involved with this. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Nicholas C. Rossis
    October 14, 2015

    Sounds good! How can I help? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Nicholas C. Rossis
    October 14, 2015

    Reblogged this on Nicholas C. Rossis and commented:
    This is the new blog of the Planetary Defense Command. You may wish to check it out, as it includes competitions, awards and plenty of interesting stuff for writers!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Charles Yallowitz
    October 14, 2015

    Reblogged this on Legends of Windemere.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Michelle Proulx
    October 14, 2015

    This sounds like a great idea, assuming it can take off. I’d suggest reaching out to The Dragon’s Rocketship group on Facebook — they have a few thousand members and are all sci-fi/fantasy lovers.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Planetary Defense Commander
      October 14, 2015

      Thanks for the suggestion. I’m a member of the group, but my visits to facebook are rare at best. I’ll have to double-check the group’s rules about promoting things, some groups can be very touchy!

      Like

  9. S. C. Flynn
    October 14, 2015

    Reblogged this on SCy-Fy: the blog of S. C. Flynn and commented:
    New award idea: judged by bloggers, podcasters and youtubers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • pibarrington
      October 19, 2015

      I’ve never done a YouTube or any other type of video, trailer, etc. so I don’t know about including that as I think it would be a disadvantage for many of us.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Planetary Defense Commander
        October 25, 2015

        Oh, I wasn’t talking about getting the authors to include book trailers. I was referring to people who do book reviews on youtube (giving their reviews verbally) and how I’d like to include them as eligible voters.

        Like

  10. Allie P.
    October 14, 2015

    I too have found that too many of the awards that cater to independent books lump all of science fiction and fantasy into a single category. I would definitely be interested to see if your idea can gain some traction.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Andy McKell
      October 14, 2015

      Drawing a mutually-agreed line between fantasy and science fiction has proven an impossible task. No-one agrees on where the border lies. I’d love there to be one, but can’t see how it would be adjudicated without rebellion and verbal violence 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • Allie P.
        October 14, 2015

        I agree, however, it is like judging wines. Sure, they all are made with grapes, but a Moscato has a completely different appearance, flavor, and texture than a Cabernet. Sure, there may be some debate as to whether or not a work qualifies under a specific sub-category, but the award is much more meaningful to both author/vintner​ and reader/consumer when not restricted to a generic catchall. Fierce debates regarding nominees can also mean more visibility for the award as a whole.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Andy McKell
          October 14, 2015

          True, but given the furore over the Hugos, is more argument and conflict what’s needed at the start of a new prize award?

          Liked by 1 person

      • pibarrington
        October 19, 2015

        Andy, you could make the same argument for Star Trek where it appears many times to cross that border yet there is some resolution that is based in fact of some type either psychologically, hysteria, time travel, different cosmos make up. Personally I’d love to see a definite separation since I’ve read novels that are fantasy and have very little science in them.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Planetary Defense Commander
      October 14, 2015

      My problem with most (all?) of the indie book awards is that the authors are charged a fee to submit their books into the competition.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Allie P.
        October 14, 2015

        That’s a problem for me too

        Liked by 1 person

      • pibarrington
        October 19, 2015

        Me too. That’s why I don’t submit books most of the time.

        Liked by 1 person

      • pibarrington
        October 19, 2015

        Please excuse me if I’ve posted this twice. After reading this thread, I think I’d like to help–this sounds like the publishing version of the People’s Choice Awards where the fans nominate and vote for their favorites. While I am NO techie person, if this becomes viable I think one of the first things (along with getting the word out everywhere) that would be needed is a site that people can join (especially readers) to nominate & eventually vote.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Planetary Defense Commander
          October 19, 2015

          I’d also like to do a people’s choice type of award, but unfortunately I can’t see any way to ensure that one person = one vote. The Hugos sort of do this, but in my opinion the fee you have to pay is a bit high. On the other hand, if it was low, a lot of people would multi-vote.

          So, we’ll have a much more limited voting pool here, of bloggers, podcasters and booktubers. However, in addition to just seeing votes, we’ll also get to see why those votes were cast, with each voter discussing the various nominees.

          Liked by 1 person

          • pibarrington
            October 19, 2015

            Hmm, there’s got to be a way, like cookies or something. Another concern of mine is that authors/family members/friends will only nominate “their” authors which I’ve seen many times. In my opinion, that’s cheating.

            Like

            • Planetary Defense Commander
              October 20, 2015

              Cookies would be one of the easiest things to defeat. I’m fairly sure there’s nothing that would work, but I’ll ask a couple of tech people.

              If a large enough voting base was involved, then friends and family members wouldn’t be able to impact the results, so I wouldn’t worry about that particular aspect of a “people’s choice”.

              Like

          • stephanieosborn
            October 23, 2015

            Actually it sounds like what you’re proposing is more akin to, say, the Golden Globes, which is awarded by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, rather than by fans per se. No objections, just sayin’.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Planetary Defense Commander
              October 25, 2015

              I’m not that familiar with the processes of movie awards, but yes, the award given out here will be determined by a smaller group than the overall fan base.

              Of course, anyone can join our award system by starting up their own book blog, podcast, or youtube channel. No industry connections required.

              One of my favorite things about this idea is that you can see more than just a count of votes, you can go to each voter’s blog and see why they liked/hated a specific book or short story.

              Like

    • Planetary Defense Commander
      October 14, 2015

      In a couple of days, I’ll make another post discussing categories, hopefully we can get a few more people to weigh in on this topic.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. D. Wallace Peach
    October 14, 2015

    Great idea. I had no idea the Nebula and Hugo were somewhat skewed. You make some great points and I would love to see another avenue to recognition.

    Here are a couple questions that popped into my head:

    Were you thinking to include all books in the sci-fi fantasy genres including big press, small press, and indie? Marc Lawrence recently did a strictly-indie competition that was quite exciting. At the same time, authors published with small presses face most of the same marketing challenges as indie published authors and they have fewer promotional tools.

    Are you thinking that authors would submit their books and make them available to interested book bloggers/podcasters/youtubers or is it purely based on the reviewers’ submissions?

    Thanks for the effort. I hope this turns into something powerful. It’s amazing how quickly the publishing industry is changing and this is a good example of how new doors are opening and leveling the playing field.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Planetary Defense Commander
      October 14, 2015

      I can’t say for sure that the Nebula and Hugo are skewed, but the potential is there, so I thought there was room for another voice.

      Whether indie/small press books deserve a separate category is another issue I’ll bring up in my categories post.

      The plan is for the bloggers and such to make nominations, rather than having authors submit.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Andy McKell
    October 14, 2015

    I like the idea of an independent vote for fans, readers, people who actually invest their hard-earned cash in our scribblings. Credibility would depend on general awareness and open participation. But isn’t the fan-vote already registered in their choice of books bought?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Planetary Defense Commander
      October 14, 2015

      That’s a good point, which would also apply to the Hugos. A couple of possible counter-points:

      A book with a lot of hype could sell well, but disappoint in terms of entertainment.

      Fans could buy a book and enjoy it, but not feel it was “the best”.

      Having a nomination process could cause some bloggers to read a book they would have skipped otherwise, they might then blog about the book, bringing in some readers….

      Like

  13. Jan Hawke
    October 14, 2015

    Reblogged this on Jan Hawke INKorporated and commented:
    This sounds interesting and a great way to spread the voting base out to fans as well as publishing types

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Jan Hawke
    October 14, 2015

    I’m all for shaking things up – the imagination’s a very broad dimension so maybe it’s time for a new award-giver to step in and make the jump into cyberspace and social media 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  15. noelleg44
    October 14, 2015

    I like this idea – don’t write in this genre but I do read there a lot, and I know what I like. Keep us posted!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. angel7090695001
    October 14, 2015

    Reblogged this on Louise Findlay Books and commented:
    A new award for authors may be starting up. Exciting news indeed.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. clayfoot2
    October 14, 2015

    Reblogged this on Journeys of the Clayfoot and commented:
    Reblogged this intriguing idea for the Speculative Fiction community! There’s so much excellent Science Fiction out there that deserves recognition but too few award venues available.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. amidtheimaginary
    October 14, 2015

    As a book blogger, I love this idea! Sure, there’ll be some wrinkles to iron out but such is the case with anything worthwhile. Count me in!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Pingback: Who votes, and how? | Planetary Awards

  20. Bookwraiths
    October 15, 2015

    Sounds like a great idea. Naturally, there are lots of logistical hurdles to clear, but those can be surmounted with a lot of planning. Let me know how to help out.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Planetary Defense Commander
      October 15, 2015

      Thanks for your support. Right now, I need any feedback you can offer on my post about who should be eligible, and my upcoming posts about when the voting should take place and what categories we should have for awards.

      Like

      • Bookwraiths
        October 15, 2015

        While the Goodreads suggestion had merit, you probably need to limit the voting to bloggers at first. Blogger who meet certain criteria like number of months, number of reviews, st cetera; all of it verifiable. Those are just suggestions, mind you. What you need is a large sample size from the blogosphere that is still small enough to be manageable.

        Liked by 1 person

  21. Cirsova
    October 15, 2015

    Reblogged this on Cirsova and commented:
    Hey, this is a pretty cool thing. And any idea coming from someone with a Rick-Dom for an avatar deserves at least a look.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. debyfredericks
    October 15, 2015

    Let’s be clear about the Hugo nominations. You don’t pay to nominate or vote. You have to be a supporting member of that year’s WorldCon in order to nominate and/or vote. That may run $40 or $45 depending on where WorldCon is being held. You can also nominate and/or vote for two years.

    So taking my own case, I paid $40 for a supporting membership in Sasquan because it was in my home town. I did not nominate, but when it became clear the nominating process had been punked, I did read the nominated works and I did vote. I also am eligible to participate in 2016 and have begun keeping a list of stories I’d like to nominate.

    What you say about Nebula and Hugo voting being restricted to a certain constituency is true. But awards given essentially by critics/bloggers is also a constituency. Please give thought to what your selection criteria might be for which blogs and critics can nominate and how nominations are weighted. Is it only blogs, or would publications like Locus be part of it? Locus does lots of review, and they already do awards.

    What I can see is that if a particular author puts together a really great blog tour, their name might crop up more and influence their chances of nomination. I could also see book bloggers comparing each other by how many followers or page views they get, and thinking that “big blogs” should be weighted over “little blogs.”

    Don’t get me wrong — I’m interested in this idea. Just do take the time to plan and discuss so your idea doesn’t fall by the wayside.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Andy McKell
      October 15, 2015

      I have a lot of sympathy for these comments, although I would love to see the genre’s awards issued in a proper manner.

      Liked by 1 person

  23. M T McGuire
    October 18, 2015

    I’m not in your blogger target group but I do like the idea of sidestepping the public vote which merely turns the competition into a search for the author with the biggest fan base.

    However I do see a similar problem with book bloggers. As an author I really struggle to persuade people to read and review my book. I get a straight and instant no from the larger sites and often affirmative replies will run along the lines of ‘your book sounds about as appealing as root canal work but I liked your letter/you asked politely so I’ll read it.’ Once I’ve persuaded folks to try it it usually gets four or five stars.

    However it still means that the final question is, ‘how good the author is at sales and marketing?’ rather than, ‘how good is the book?’

    It’s better though, a LOT better than the beauty pageant model.

    Cheers

    MTM

    Liked by 1 person

    • Planetary Defense Commander
      October 18, 2015

      Oh, I guess I should cancel the author swimsuit competition, then.

      (Now I’m being punished for that comment, as I’m imagining George RR Martin and Stephen King competing.)

      Liked by 1 person

  24. The Story Reading Ape
    October 19, 2015

    Reblogged this on Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog and commented:
    In case you missed this post by William Eckman 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Andy McKell
    October 19, 2015

    Reblogged this on Andy McKell and commented:
    An interesting proposal here…

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Patricia Salamone
    October 19, 2015

    Sounds like a good idea to me, however I don’t think I am a good enough writer to participate for an award. :o)

    Liked by 1 person

  27. pibarrington
    October 19, 2015

    I’ve seen this idea for a few days and wasn’t sure I wanted to participate since lots of ideas evaporate early. My main wish is that there was another author (wish I could remember her name to credit her) who defined what I was looking for, specifically a category for what she called a “low-tech sci-fi” term. That is what I write since my stories are mostly relationship stories rather than strict science. I would love a category that would include low-tech.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Eric Klingenberg
    October 19, 2015

    This sounds like a good idea.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. MishaBurnett
    October 24, 2015

    Reblogged this on mishaburnett and commented:
    In case anyone hasn’t seen this, a potential alternative to current SF/F awards.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. agmoye
    October 24, 2015

    My blog is not just reviews, it contains interviews and book blasts introducing new books and authors. Would the couple times per month that I post reviews qualify me for inclusion? Just wondering.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Planetary Defense Commander
      October 25, 2015

      The current guideline we’re working with: anyone with four book reviews on their blog that calendar year is considered a book blogger. So, a couple of times a month more than qualifies!

      Like

  31. Myas
    October 25, 2015

    Sounds like quite an undertaking. Good luck.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. metallicwolff
    October 25, 2015

    Sounds like a great idea.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. metallicwolff
    October 25, 2015

    Reblogged this on MetallicWolff and commented:
    Very interesting idea. Cannot wait to see what comes of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. cathleentownsend
    November 13, 2015

    Sure, I love the thought of participating. Even more casual awards would be great. I agree that it would mean a lot to any struggling writer. What we do is very difficult. Some positive feedback can be a very good thing. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on October 13, 2015 by in brainstorm and tagged , , , , , , , .

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