Monday, November 24, 2014

What are the Whitneys?

What are the Whitney Awards? And why should you care? 

According to the website the Whitneys are: 

The Whitneys are an awards program for novels written by LDS authors. Elder Orson F. Whitney, an early apostle in the LDS church, prophesied “We will yet have Miltons and Shakespeares of our own.” It is our hope to be a part of that journey toward excellence by honoring the LDS writers also working toward that goal.
The Whitney Awards honor novels in the following categories: General Fiction, Romance, Suspense/Mystery, Speculative Fiction, Speculative Young Adult Fiction, General Young Adult Fiction, Middle Grade, Historical, Best Novel of the Year, Best Novel in Youth Fiction, and Best Novel by a New Author. Novels can be nominated by any reader (via this website or by mail), and nominees are voted on by an academy of industry professionals, including authors, publishers, bookstore owners, distributors, critics, and others.
The awards were founded in 2007 and operate as an semi-autonomous subsidiary of LDStorymakers.

Who decides who is nominated for a Whitney? 

The readers do. That means YOU!

Who is eligible for the award? 

The Whitney Awards are solely for novels. Eligible titles for any year’s awards must be released between January 1 and December 31 of the calendar year and must be at least 50,000 words in the adult categories and at least 20,000 words for the youth categories. In addition, the author must be a Latter-day Saint.

Once a book is nominated, then what? 

It goes to a panel of judges. Here is how it works: 

We do not give a rubric to our judges or to the Academy awards because this is a reader based award rather than a literary one. We choose judges who are sophisticated and critical readers and allow them to make their own judgments on writing quality and content. Doing otherwise (screening nominees based on content and writing quality) would be both time-consuming and based on subjective reasoning, therefore we have only required that the author be a member of the LDS church. All other factors such as content, language, and craft, are to be judged by each individual person voting in the award process.

Tier I: Nomination
Any reader who has no financial interest in a book (e.g. the author or employee of the publisher), and who is at least twelve years old, may nominate it for a Whitney Award. Nominations are sent in via the web form found HERE.
When a book has received five reader nominations, the Whitney Committee contact the author to confirm the book’s eligibility. The book is then placed into the category in which the author has deemed his or her book best fits.
Tier II: Judging
Each genre category has five judges who have been handpicked by the Whitney Awards president, often with input from the committee. Judges keep their status confidential during the year, especially in regards to which category they are judging. Judges read all official nominees in their categories. They cast their votes early in the calendar year, using a Condorcet-style ballot.
After the judges’ votes are tabulated, five finalists for each category are announced, usually in early February.
Tier III: Academy Voting
After the finalists have been announced, the Whitney Awards academy, which is made up of industry professionals and has hundreds of members, has the opportunity to read them and their ballots.
Academy members may vote in any category for which they have read all of the finalists. The same rule applies when voting for the three overall awards:
  • To vote for Best Novel, an academy member must have read all twenty-five finalists in the adult genre categories.
  • To vote for Best Youth Novel, an academy member must have read all fifteen finalists in the three youth categories.
  • To vote for Best Novel by a New Author, an academy member must have read all of the finalists that are debut novels for the year. (The number of finalists eligible for this award varies year to year.)

How can I nominate a book I've read for a Whitney?

Simply click the link below. It only takes a minute!

When can I find out who the winners are? 

May 16th, 2015 at the Whitney Award Gala, Provo Marriott Hotel, Provo, Utah.

Now, if you've read a book by an LDS author (several of whom contribute to this blog) and you enjoyed it, please take a minute to go now to the website and nominate those books. The deadline is Dec. 31, 2014. It's a great honor for an author to be nominated and know that readers believe their book is worthy of the award. 

Here's to the Whitneys!

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