It’s pretty simple. If you list your work so readers can remember what you had out that’s eligible in a given year, great. That’s kind of a public service, and if many people are going to do it, then everyone should do it or it becomes a potentially unfair advantage. John Scalzi also provides a a blog post where you can comment to recommend things. That strikes me as helping those who don’t have a strong blog presence make sure people remember. It’s also important to study awards you’re eligible for and make sure your publisher sends your work to any judging panels.
However, if you’re on twitter or facebook urging people to vote for you, I’m deeply unsympathetic. If you’re emailing people saying to vote for you, same thing. If you’re asking people in person to vote for you, that’s also not cool. If you’re suggesting with a wink that you’ll vote for something if they vote for you…not cool.
On the reader side…voting for things you haven’t read…voting in categories where you’ve read like three things that year…voting because you think someone’s cool…not cool.
This process will never be perfect, but let’s not consciously make it worse than it can be. And if you cynically think that awards are just there to be manipulated so what’s the harm…well, that does in fact make it worse.
The closest I could come to recommending my own work this year was a post about a book I had out and a free download, and giving that link to Cheryl Morgan—and even that made me feel uneasy. Anything else would’ve made me throw up a little in my mouth. It becomes more difficult with regard to anthologies because in that case we’re advocates for a lot of other writers, but it still makes me queasy.
Maybe I’m just an old crank, but that’s how I feel about it. Send your hate mail to: Get Off My Lawn, POB 1234, Sosueme, FL 54321.