Author Topic: AGM 2014 and awards proposals  (Read 11375 times)

Offline jared

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Re: AGM 2014 and awards proposals
« Reply #15 on: September 09, 2014, 06:03:46 PM »
I think Solaris are owned by Rebellion, and Angry Robot by Osprey, so I don't think they would count (though I'm not making actual decisions on any of this just yet, just chatting). Titan, though, yes, looks like they would definitely be eligible, and potentially a serious contender too.

That's a very good point. And technically Titan Publishing is owned by Titan (which is more of tiny retail empire).

We are going to have to come up with a definition of 'independent', aren't we? I think I was going with 'not one of the Big 5'. Purely going by 'owned by someone else' is really tricky, and I don't think matches the common usage of the term. Maybe we scout out what other prizes and organisations are doing in this area?

Offline jared

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Re: AGM 2014 and awards proposals
« Reply #16 on: September 09, 2014, 06:11:08 PM »
Having a lurch around. Even the IPG seems to be bending over backwards to avoid saying what 'Independent' is, according to their articles of association:

"Any publishing and book packaging enterprises (including sole traders) which appear to the Board to be seriously involved in publishing, and have published at least three or more publications at the time of joining, whether or traditional or electronic format."

They include a membership band that has folks of 10m+ turnover, so clearly size doesn't matter.

For most websites, including Faber and Faber 'Independent Alliance', the term just seems to mean "not Big 5".

The majority of the discussion seems more on the other end of the scale - that is, whether or not self-publishers count as independent publishers. Which, to be honest, is something I hadn't considered... but there's a fun can of worms! Can Hugh Howey win? :)

Offline Rolnikov

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Re: AGM 2014 and awards proposals
« Reply #17 on: September 10, 2014, 07:01:22 AM »
Thanks, Jared - lots to think about. With Titan, I hadn't realised that there was a level above Titan Publishing Group, but my first thought would be that Titan as a whole is independent and Titan Entertainment is the name that company uses when publishing. But I don't know. It seems easier to say what isn't independence, than what is.

I think Faber & Faber, Canongate and McSweeney's are examples of publishers of a size who might have been considered by members a bit big to be called small presses (though maybe not; that term was never precisely defined for us either) but would now be eligible.

I would allow self-publishers - you can't get much more independent than that - if their mini-press actually has a name and if people vote for them. In general, I'll only restrict a category so far as the wording of the constitution requires me to, and let the voters and the juries decide everywhere else.

Offline jared

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Re: AGM 2014 and awards proposals
« Reply #18 on: September 10, 2014, 09:09:10 AM »
In general, I'll only restrict a category so far as the wording of the constitution requires me to, and let the voters and the juries decide everywhere else.

Oh, definitely! I don't suggest changing the wording - or asking for Awards Admin involvement - at all. It is a matter of individual voter interpretation (and the collective results of those individual interpretations). That said, as an individual voter - I am definitely wrestling with how I am going to compare apples (small presses), oranges (larger independents) and grapes (self-published authors). I look forward to the challenge...

Offline Des Lewis

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Re: AGM 2014 and awards proposals
« Reply #19 on: September 10, 2014, 09:21:21 AM »
I have long personally blogged about the Small Press as the Hothouse - with all sorts of fruit!
MY WEBSITE: www.nemonymous.com

Offline Peter Coleborn

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Re: AGM 2014 and awards proposals
« Reply #20 on: September 10, 2014, 11:21:30 AM »
You could have a similar issue defining "small". If PS were still in the running (they took themselves out) would they be considered small, judging by the number of titles they produce each year?

Offline GaryC

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Re: AGM 2014 and awards proposals
« Reply #21 on: September 11, 2014, 06:51:28 AM »
Following Peter's point, back in the days when I was awards admin and before that, some publishers out there objected to being called "small press" when they found they'd been recommended or shortlisted for the award.

Offline Rolnikov

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Re: AGM 2014 and awards proposals
« Reply #22 on: September 11, 2014, 06:53:14 AM »
It was said at the AGM that the change from small press to independent had been hotly debated at a previous AGM - the 2011 one, I think - so if anyone who was there has any memory of that discussion I'd be interested to hear what kind of arguments were put forward on either side, why the change was made.

At this year's AGM I seem to remember Stephen Jones saying "Would you call PS Publishing a small press? No, they're an independent press." So whether or not you'd call them a small press (I think I would), there was at least some awareness at this year's AGM that the change would expand the category.

Offline Rolnikov

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Re: AGM 2014 and awards proposals
« Reply #23 on: September 11, 2014, 08:49:40 AM »
Following Peter's point, back in the days when I was awards admin and before that, some publishers out there objected to being called "small press" when they found they'd been recommended or shortlisted for the award.

Thanks - that is interesting to hear. I think it's understandable that growing publishers might feel they had outgrown the award; I don't know if that meant we should expand the category so that it still included them.

Offline Andrew Hook

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Re: AGM 2014 and awards proposals
« Reply #24 on: September 11, 2014, 09:10:24 AM »
From memory I think the reason PS Publishing decided to sponsor the award in 2009 and ask that they be no longer eligible for it was because they considered themselves no longer a small press due to the 25 books or so they published annually (at the time).

Offline Peter Coleborn

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Re: AGM 2014 and awards proposals
« Reply #25 on: September 11, 2014, 09:45:20 AM »
From memory I think the reason PS Publishing decided to sponsor the award in 2009 and ask that they be no longer eligible for it was because they considered themselves no longer a small press due to the 25 books or so they published annually (at the time).

Also, they were winning it almost every year  ::)

Offline Rolnikov

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Re: AGM 2014 and awards proposals
« Reply #26 on: September 11, 2014, 09:52:42 AM »
Pretty much, Andrew - here's the BFS news item about it: http://www.britishfantasysociety.org/bfs/change-to-small-press-award/

And here's our chat about the news in the forum: http://www.britishfantasysociety.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=1903.0

I will check with them before voting begins whether they would like to be considered in future for best independent press. Even after withdrawing, they do pick up votes in the category.

Offline Rolnikov

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Re: AGM 2014 and awards proposals
« Reply #27 on: December 22, 2014, 01:46:17 PM »
Having invited comments on this subject from the membership via the October bulletin, read what everyone has said here, and had a good think about it, what I've decided to do is take the approach advocated by Jared above, that is, given that the awards constitution doesn't define the term independent press, to leave it up to individual voters and jurors to decide what is for them an independent press - much as we deal with the terms horror and fantasy in the best novel categories.

So I won't rule any presses ineligible. I suppose every press has some degree of independence, great or small, and it'll be up to voters and jurors to decide whether, in their view, a particular press has enough independence, and is enough of a press, to make it a worthy winner of an independent press award.

Offline Allen

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Re: AGM 2014 and awards proposals
« Reply #28 on: December 23, 2014, 06:52:16 PM »
I think that we can all use some common sense in our definition of an independent press.
Pete Crowther said to me that it was when he was on the phone one morning to Stephen King that he started to think maybe PS wasn't a small press anymore.

Offline Rolnikov

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Re: AGM 2014 and awards proposals
« Reply #29 on: December 24, 2014, 07:23:04 AM »
Yes, it's something for you to decide for yourselves, as voters. There are often interesting anomalies in the nominees, and I'm sure this category will be no different - common sense hasn't stopped Sherlock and other crime stories from reaching the shortlists in the past. But if Amazon or Gollancz end up as nominees, anyone troubled by that could propose the addition of eligibility criteria for this category to the awards constitution.

My guess is that some members may be disappointed if the usual small press nominees are completely edged out by bigger publishers. I run a small press so I'm biased (I'd like us to have a best reviewer award, too!), but as awards administrator I have to accept that if the society had wanted a small press award it would have voted for one at the AGM.