Planetary Awards

Awards for Science Fiction and Fantasy Writing

Who votes, and how?

The winners of our new science fiction and fantasy awards will be chosen by book bloggers, podcasters, and booktubers. That seems simple enough, but how do we decide if a person is one of those? Is one book review some time in the distant past good enough? One book review in the past year? Three reviews? Six reviews?

This raises another issue: should there be a minimum standard for a review? If someone says “thumbs up” or “five stars”, is that a review? I normally hate it when people equate length with quality, but should there be a minimum word count / time length for a review to qualify?

Should bloggers who are paid employees of a publishing company be allowed to vote? If so, should they be allowed to vote for books from their own company? Should they be allowed to vote for an author’s short story when their company is promoting a novel from that author?

All nominations and votes will be public. There will be a post calling for nominations or votes. Each eligible person will post their choice in the comments section, along with a link to the post/podcast/video which explains why they made their choice. (That content will be re-blogged/embedded on this site, to give it more exposure.) There won’t be any complicated and problem-inducing ranking system; each voter will get one vote per category. Perhaps the indecisive should be allowed to cast two half-votes.

Please use the comments section to leave some feedback about who should be eligible to vote.


8 comments on “Who votes, and how?

  1. Jan Hawke
    October 14, 2015

    I’m not sure about there needing to be a distinction on whether or not you’re a paid employee of a publishing organisation – for indie publishers it’s pointless as most probably won’t be paying anyone, even supposing that they have employees?
    Perhaps there could be a clause for voters to declare if they’re voting/nominating for a ‘in-house’ title or writer, regardless of commercial standing. but how that could reflect in the voting criteria is another matter of course. If it makes a difference, then maybe it’s just best to ban it altogether which then begs the question of how to police it, even if it’s a public vote?

    If this is problem then maybe it’s best to separate ‘traditional’ publishing and indie categories so neither have any advantage?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Planetary Defense Commander
    October 14, 2015

    Reblogged this on Planetary Defense Command and commented:

    Help me figure out who should be considered a “book blogger”


  3. crystinlgoodwin
    October 15, 2015

    As a fantasy author myself, I think the idea of a new award sounds amazing, especially if there’s even the faintest chance of one of my books getting nominated. That said, I have no idea how the specifics would work with this sort of endeavor – which is why I’m not the one trying to invent one. 🙂

    Now, as a reader and occasional book reviewer – I really, really like this idea. The only thing I love more than writing is talking to folks about the books I’m currently reading. Heck, I only became a writer because I love reading so much – no one had written the book I wanted to read yet, so I did myself.

    Am I a book blogger? I don’t know. Probably not. Granted, I have posted multiple book reviews on my blog over the last two years (at least fifteen, though I haven’t really kept track) and I’m a member of Rosie’s Book Review Team. While I read a lot, I don’t always write out a review. Most of the time, I have no idea what to say … which translates to “I’m too lazy to think about and list all the reasons I thought this book __” I should probably fix that. So I’m probably chiming in on the not-quite-a-book-blogger-but-a-big-fan-of-reading end of the spectrum.

    I do think there needs to be more than just a “Great book!” or “Love this series!” comment for a review to count as a … well, a review. But if a review said: “Fantastic characters, smooth writing, and excellent plot twists – definitely recommended for __ fans” I think that’s perfectly acceptable. As long the review mentions one or two aspects of the story the reviewer enjoyed, and especially if they take the time to point out what type of reader would appreciate the book, I think it should count.

    As for employees of publishing houses – I would say let them participate, as long as they meet the standards required to be considered a book blogger and possess the relevant reviews for whichever title they wish to nominate/vote for (I definitely think voters should have read whichever title they’re voting/nominating – because why would you nominate something you know nothing about?). Yes, inviting employees of big publishing houses could open a whole new can of worms, but I wouldn’t want to cut them completely and risk losing the voice/vote of someone who truly enjoys reading – and wouldn’t that sort of job be a dream come true for a real bibliophile?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Planetary Defense Commander
      October 15, 2015

      I wouldn’t discount you as a book blogger. I saw that you posted quite a few reviews on your blog in 2014, and two so far this year. (If we decide on an arbitrary limit like three reviews, there’s still time before the end of the year…) I wasn’t quite sure how to pick out your reviews from the Rosie’s site.

      Something about having employees of a publishing company vote for / nominate their own company’s work strikes me as wrong. On the other hand, how would such an employee feel about nominating a competitor’s work? It may be an issue which will never come up, but I’m trying to think things through in advance.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. amidtheimaginary
    October 15, 2015

    I’m also a bit concerned about conflict of interest when it comes to publishing houses/employees nominating work. Would they be considered a book blogger/tuber? If they do post reviews, are they only of books published through their company? Does that really count then as book reviewing or just advertisement of their products? It doesn’t seem like they’d represent readers as much as company interests, hence the conflict. Their inclusion might tarnish the legitimacy of the winners as houses, with their network of contacts, can cobble together blocks of votes. It’s thought to marinate over.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Cirsova
      October 16, 2015

      I’m torn on this one too. On one hand, it would be nice to say that employees of publishers would not be eligible to vote, but on the other hand, I’m a book blogger who has just launched a new SFF market, so that would probably put me out of things.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. M T McGuire
    October 18, 2015

    For what it’s worth, I think you’d have to limit it to truly independent book bloggers. You’d also have to discount any author book bloggers if their books were in he running.



    Liked by 2 people

  6. Andy McKell
    October 19, 2015

    Reblogged this on Andy McKell and commented:
    More on the proposed Science Fiction and Fantasy Planetary Awards

    Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on October 14, 2015 by in brainstorm and tagged , , , , , , , .

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