As editor-in-chief and publisher of Niteblade Magazine I nominate works for awards on a regular basis. For example, every year I nominate works for The Pushcart Prize, The Micro Award, send all our horror stories and poems to Ellen Datlow to consider for her year’s best horror series and, until I recently let my membership to SFPA lapse, nominated poems for the Rhysling and Dwarf Star awards. It is a daunting task. Well, with the exception of what I send to Ellen, of course, she gets everything we’ve published that I’d call ‘horror’ 😉
For every other award I begin by going through our year’s work to discover what pieces qualify. Usually they can’t be reprints and there is often a format (poetry or prose) and a length requirement. Once I have that list, I narrow it down to a short list by picking my favourites from it. You may think that is an easy thing to do. You would be wrong. Finally, once I have my shortlist I make an educated guess about which pieces would be most likely to win whatever award I am nominating them for.
That is why you’ll often see me nominate a poem for one award but not another.
This process also sort of applies when I’m picking the poem to be our cover piece. Of course I only choose poems I really like for that honor, but I also need to consider which piece will be best interpreted visually. What kind of covers have we had recently? Have they all been dark and scary? Light and airy? Have we featured a vampire recently? What about a dragon? What colors do I want this quarter’s cover to have, and what poem would be the best fit for that?
Things are rarely simple, or black and white, when you’re sitting on this side of the submission. But I like it here 🙂
This post has been written as a part of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. My theme this year is ‘Niteblade‘, that being the magazine I publish. I chose this theme to help draw attention to the magazine during this, it’s 2nd annual fundraiser.