Author Topic: A General Observation On Awards Questionnaires  (Read 64135 times)

Offline Marie O'Regan

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Re: A General Observation On Awards Questionnaires
« Reply #105 on: August 17, 2006, 11:08:50 pm »
Hi Des, it's not your definition of the term that is incorrect, rather the perception the use of the word 'jury' implies - as people then seem to think there is an organised jury of some kind other than that of the entire voting membership, which definitely isn't the case.

DFL

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Re: A General Observation On Awards Questionnaires
« Reply #106 on: August 17, 2006, 11:26:51 pm »
Hi, Marie
In my view, the members are asked to act *like* a jury (as defined) and hence my earlier comment that they should read all the candidates, as any good jury-member should.  Otherwise what is it all about?
des

David Lee Stone

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Re: A General Observation On Awards Questionnaires
« Reply #107 on: August 17, 2006, 11:31:29 pm »
Peter, you made MANY valid and useful points in your post....but I'm afraid that this one:

"And anyway, SFX readers, in the main, and based on my previous dealings with the magazine, couldn?t care less for the written word."

is utterly wrong.

Do me a favour; take a look HERE

Offline Marie O'Regan

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Re: A General Observation On Awards Questionnaires
« Reply #108 on: August 17, 2006, 11:49:21 pm »
Hi Des, I understand your point, and trust that members vote responsibly. I believe that the fact these awards are voted for by 'fans' is one of their strengths, and means something to the winners.

David Lee Stone

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Re: A General Observation On Awards Questionnaires
« Reply #109 on: August 18, 2006, 07:40:09 am »
Quote from DLS: ?Personally, I know an awful lot of fantasy fans who avoid the BFS altogether because they believe it to be a society entirely devoted to horror and horror writers (and let's face it, they're not a million miles out....)

We are branching into different territory here. The BFS may appear to be a horror-orientated organisation; but that is only because it is the horror fans and writers, in the main, who tend to be the most proactive. If fans of David Gemmell, Stan Nicholls, Raymond Feist, etc, were to join and become equally involved then maybe the general feel will alter.

Well, Peter, I've not only applied and been given the nod by Robert Parkinson for the Secretary/Treasurer position, but have already signed on as a signatory on the BFS account....and maybe I can help to change the perception......

.....assuming, of course, I get in.? ;)

Hmm.....has there EVER been a professionally published (HIGH/HEROIC/COMIC) FANTASY author on the ELECTED committee before? Ever? If so, who was it? I'm quite a young guy, so I really don't know the early history of the society....???????
« Last Edit: August 18, 2006, 08:00:28 am by David Lee Stone »

ChrisT

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Re: A General Observation On Awards Questionnaires
« Reply #110 on: August 18, 2006, 08:56:46 am »

"And anyway, SFX readers, in the main, and based on my previous dealings with the magazine, couldn?t care less for the written word."

is utterly wrong.

Do me a favour; take a look HERE

I'd agree with Dave there: there seems to be more of a resurgance in the written word with the current "administration" - especially now with the Pulp Idol collection of new writers.

Regarding awards, I did make a suggestion earlier about renaming Best Novel to the David Gammell Award and moving August Derleth to Best Anthology: no splitting necessary, and Derleth was an anthologist in his own right, so that adds a touch of gravitas to the award.

Offline Jen

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Re: A General Observation On Awards Questionnaires
« Reply #111 on: August 18, 2006, 09:48:29 am »
Quote
has there EVER been a professionally published (HIGH/HEROIC/COMIC) FANTASY author on the ELECTED committee before?

Off the top of my head...  Mike Chinn, Ken Bulmer, then there's Gollancz editor Jo Fletcher, artist Jim Pitts,...  others more experienced may have a better idea... (I'm still one of the youngsters of the cmtee...)    ;D 

Of course, you could also ask, has there been a professionally published fantasy author who was willing to give up some of their precious free time to join the committee and actively do things?  The word 'committee' tends to put people off... and it really shouldn't as we're an easygoing bunch... and we *are* willing to change things if someone wants to help come up with an actual gameplan and some physical help to get it rolling...



Offline Lermontov

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Re: A General Observation On Awards Questionnaires
« Reply #112 on: August 18, 2006, 09:57:27 am »
'David Gemell Award for Best Novel' sounds good Although you can already hear the quibblers (I'm NOT one of them, by the way) asking 'What's a horror novel doing winning an award with a fantasy writer's name on it?' !!!

If an extra award was generated and funds allowed how about:

'The David Gemmell Award for Best Newcomer'.

There doesn't seem to be any such award in the, I'm assuming, inclusive list Stan put up in his post and surely the BFS should be at the forefront in terms of outright acknowledgement in encouraging new writers as it is in the course of things throughout the society.

So many of the threads I've read about Gemmell's passing consist of people relating stories of how ready he was to give time and offer advice and encouragement.

I certainly wouldn't dream of speaking on his behalf or assuming anything, but I would imagine that James Barclay would have some fitting words in remembrance of David Gemmell.

This leads me onto something else (again it is question of time to do these things by the voluntary comittee members, I understand and respect that) but it would help the Fcon's and the BFS's cause greatly if a full list of authors attending was put up in the advertising.

I know that the List of Events does have them, but again to actually advertise them boldy along with the GOHs would snare more intersted parties.

I've noticed that James Barclay is on a panel (I'm not an acolyte of James, only read one of his books - and enjoyed it!) but there is no real adverstising of the fact that James as well as other authors are attending unless you look down at the List of Events which you have to go to the Blog to find.

Again, I know that attendance lists change by the day right up until the last minute, but the more names clearly trumpeted at such opportunities the more clout and exposure the Society and the Fcon will get.

On the Fcon site you have to click on the Blog to find out who is attending other than the GOHs, otherwise you wouldn't know anyone else is there. I don't mean that as a criticism, just as an observation. These are simple things that due to lack of time and demands on the committee often do get overlooked. In an age of millisecond attention span it does make a difference. If on the Homepage, the first page any visitor looks at, the visitor gets a (growing) list of attendees presented to him or her within a couple of seconds of visiting the site, chances of roping them in are increased greatly.

If the Homepage cannot be undated daily because of lack of time and other demands then surely a few more hands on deck are a good idea?

Quote
Of course, you could also ask, has there been a professionally published fantasy author who was willing to give up some of their precious free time to join the committee and actively do things?  The word 'committee' tends to put people off... and it really shouldn't as we're an easygoing bunch... and we *are* willing to change things if someone wants to help come up with an actual gameplan and some physical help to get it rolling...

Your post just leap-frogged mine, Jen!
« Last Edit: August 18, 2006, 09:59:19 am by Lermontov »

ChrisT

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Re: A General Observation On Awards Questionnaires
« Reply #113 on: August 18, 2006, 10:02:03 am »
Agree there: a list of attending members would be excellent - both WorldCon and EasterCon do this, and even if you're not interested in the GoH's then a "secondary" member may pique your interest.

Of course, having a disclaimer where they could drop out at the last minute, but at least people have a rough idea whose going...

Also, how about renaming the Committee Special Award to The Gemmell Award?

David Lee Stone

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Re: A General Observation On Awards Questionnaires
« Reply #114 on: August 18, 2006, 11:10:06 am »
Quote
has there EVER been a professionally published (HIGH/HEROIC/COMIC) FANTASY author on the ELECTED committee before?

Off the top of my head...? Mike Chinn, Ken Bulmer, then there's Gollancz editor Jo Fletcher, artist Jim Pitts,...? others more experienced may have a better idea... (I'm still one of the youngsters of the cmtee...)? ? ;D?

Of course, you could also ask, has there been a professionally published fantasy author who was willing to give up some of their precious free time to join the committee and actively do things?? The word 'committee' tends to put people off... and it really shouldn't as we're an easygoing bunch... and we *are* willing to change things if someone wants to help come up with an actual gameplan and some physical help to get it rolling...




Oh dear - it's a very short list isn't it? And.....Jo Fletcher? Jim Pitts? Both breathtaking contributors to the wider field, but looking at the question again.....few.

VERY few......for the British Fantasy Society.

And I know at least SIX pro-fantasy authors who would love to get involved......if they believed the society REALLY was up for a bit of a change.

I must admit, despite predictable arguments from a few notable names - mostly committee or ex committee.....there don't seem to be an AWFUL lot of actual MEMBERS disagreeing with me, here.

Maybe, just maybe, the society can move on now....and REALLY broaden its scope.

I would be more than willing to assist this change....and if that means me contributing FINANCIALLY to the addition of a David Gemmell award for HEROIC FANTASY, then all you have to do is ask....

....and I do mean that. Because there ARE young fantasy authors out there who really DON'T think the BFS is worth joining....and it's time to prove them wrong.



 



Offline Stan Nicholls

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Re: A General Observation On Awards Questionnaires
« Reply #115 on: August 18, 2006, 11:48:50 am »
>... contributing FINANCIALLY to the addition of a David Gemmell award for HEROIC FANTASY, then all you have to do is ask.... <

I'd be willing to contribute financially too.

SN





Offline Jen

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Re: A General Observation On Awards Questionnaires
« Reply #116 on: August 18, 2006, 01:26:29 pm »
Quote
Also, how about renaming the Committee Special Award to The Gemmell Award?

You mean renaming it from the existing 'Karl Edward Wagner award' ?   ;)

Re. best newcomer award...
Quote
There doesn't seem to be any such award in the, I'm assuming, inclusive list Stan put up in his post and surely the BFS should be at the forefront in terms of outright acknowledgement in encouraging new writers as it is in the course of things throughout the society.

We have done one in the past, not for a while though and I don't know why we stopped... need to check facts on that one...

Quote
Oh dear - it's a very short list isn't it?

Well I did say I was still one of the babies of the group...  :-*  Others will know more...

Quote
And I know at least SIX pro-fantasy authors who would love to get involved......if they believed the society REALLY was up for a bit of a change.

And if they're the six I think they are*, then we'd jump at the chance to get them more involved in stuff...  and why does no one believe that we're up for change?  We are.  We lack the manpower to push it through... this is something that you lot can help us with...  (and you don't even need to be on the committee... just the odd bit of help on the odd thing...)
*.. and if they're not, we still would!

And like I keep saying... give us some *actual plans* on how we can make the BFS worth joining for fantasy folk who think we're horror, and some warm bodies to do them...

From discussions so far we've got:
Awards:
David Gemmell named award of some kind... it's being discussed fully by the committee...
The other proposals re awards are also being heavily debated amongst the commitee and will be rasied at the AGM for non web members to get their say.  We haven't dismissed them out of hand... we're seriously considering the pros and cons for all the suggestions.   
Financially - Fcon pays for the awards.  If a new award category is agreed upon then it can be managed.  We always have budget concerns about *everything* but we also try and find a way to do things anyway.  We split the collections/anthology award into 2 a couple of years ago, despite heavy budget concerns...


Fcon:
Advertising other attending authors to Fcon - easy enough to do.  (and we already do the disclaimer about non appearance due to prior commitments, so that's not a concern).  Will get on that one.
Ad swapping with other events - we do a little, but we completely agree that we need to do more of it...  what we lack is the time to squeeze it in on top of all the other organising bits we're trying to concentrate on... volunteers to take this job on please speak so we can get things going on it.

Other BFS events:
Regional events - we'd do them, we need help organising them.
 

Publications:
Improving quality, content and frequency of publications - something that is already being worked on.  All suggestions welcome. 
All contributions *especially* welcome.  I only get a few people who bother to send me news, some of it I get from signing up to newsfeeds, most of it I get from spending hours of looking (which can be a bit painful on v. slow dial up...)  And I would welcome any fantasy (or horror) author, editor, artist or publisher who wanted to do a guest editorial or regular opinon column or anything for Prism, and I'm sure Pete and Jan are the same for DH... all you have to do is get in touch. 


General publicity:
Presence at other events - yes, we've been wanting this for years.  Does someone want to volunteer to help organise?  Find details of events, get in touch with the right people, organise for fliers or copies of Prism to go in their goodie bags, organise ad swaps, take fliers to events, even have BFS stuff on a table if you're already in the dealers room. 
Hell, even just to *tell* us about events so we can try and find out table prices and see if any of us are free to haunt the things... Don't assume we automatically know about everything that's happening everywhere... we don't, it's one of the areas we need your help in!
Lermontov mentioned publiciity budget to help inprove things - coincidentally we've been discussing this one as a committee lately too.  We'll earmark the funds, we need help on what to do with them. 
(nb.  as far as I'm aware - Open Nights don't actually cost us anything, as we get the room for free... I could be wrong though...)
Revamp flier/glossy brochure - oh yes please.  We've been trying to sort this one out for a while too...  Someone want to volunteer to do draft text/artwork/general project management for it?  Email Marie, if so.
Presence in genre mags - again, we'd love to do this.  Someone please help us out for organising it...

Other stuff:
Revamp of the various online presences - in progress, all suggestions have been noted.  Any further ones please say.
Honorary committee of fantasy/horror authors to advise/plot/ambassador etc.  -  need more info on how this would work!  Expand on this so we can get a better idea please!!
Name change - personally, not keen.  Doesn't mean we're not giving it consideration, though.
Logo change - always up for consideration... has been for a few years with us... haven't found a suitable design yet (as I think Marie mentioned).   Artists are welcome to submit designs anytime.  :D

Erm erm ermm.... what have I missed... (sorry, eyes going squiffy now!)   ;D
Thanks for everything so far!

David Lee Stone

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Re: A General Observation On Awards Questionnaires
« Reply #117 on: August 18, 2006, 02:05:44 pm »
Okay, Jen, here's a few suggestions (and come on folks - TELL me they're junk if they're junk - shout in my face - I can take it!)

FOR PRO AUTHORS:

* Make USE of the divide between sword and sorcery, dark fantasy and horror, and make the society about ALL of them, but individually. Don't
keep squashing them all together so the reader has to hunt for what he/she is looking for.

* Effective immediately create a British Fantasy Society COUNCIL, consisting of every PRO fantasy and horror author who is a paid up member of the society. Every year, a NEW president is elected to run the COUNCIL - one year horror, next year fantasy - and the FCON can run specific articles and career reviews on that president, eventually giving a vast number of authors - old and new - a focus on their individual careers.

* Divide PRISM and give over four or five pages to a new section called HEROIC FANTASY FOCUS. I will edit the section, personally hunting down news, interviews and book deals concerning every HEROIC fantasy author in the business. We will also try to strike up a mutual deal of some sort involving Carl Critchlow, creator of Games Workshop's immensely popular Thrud, to supply a small cartoon each issue in return for links to his website. We will also run regular and specific features on SFX, Games Workshop's Black Library and Interzone in return for a mention - however small - on their various websites.

Having links with Marc Gascoigne (Games Workshop), Ian Berriman (SFX) and Andy Cox (Interzone) I will do my level best to persuade them in,
promising them that the BFS is actually ON THE MOVE and no longer mired in horror.

FOR AMATEUR AUTHORS:

Every year, the BFS runs a POP IDOL-style hunt for the new STAR of horror/df and fantasy short stories. Rather than cram Dark Horizons full of
notable names, the COUNCIL votes on the ten or so newcomers they think are the new stars of each category. Then the entie MEMBERSHIP votes on it. We then go hell for leather on the winners, doing profile pieces in Dark Horizons as well as publishing the winning stories AND devoting two awards to the cause. It gives the newbies more FOCUS and something really flashy to aim for.

YEARLY PLAY
Don't stop at the Barker play. Every year, get some of the more flamboyant members of the society (me included) to perform small, played-out scenarios focusing on
works by authors who are trying to sell their books at the con. This is fun for the audience, fantastic for the authors involved and generally funky for everyone.

I have about two hundred more suggestions, all of which will follow........but above all.........

....DON'T MAKE THE MISTAKE OF GIVING PEOPLE THE IMPRESSION THAT THE SOCIETY IS STUFFY, ONE-SIDED AND ABSOLUTELY ROOTED TO THE SPOT.

You know it isn't. You know that Marie is incredibly friendly, that Jen is open to all ideas and opinion and that the BFS is alive with the prospect of change.....

....but John Doe doesn't....HE joined the society way back in 1987....and as far as he's concerned, there's bugger all difference.

We need John BACK.

....If we start to shout loudly at the industry, show some flare, ADVERTISE our impressive members and put pressure on every one of our BIG names to start devoting
a small percentage of their time to the society.....

....INCREDIBLE things will happen.
« Last Edit: August 18, 2006, 02:14:02 pm by David Lee Stone »

David Lee Stone

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Re: A General Observation On Awards Questionnaires
« Reply #118 on: August 18, 2006, 02:29:19 pm »
Additional: in case it's not obvious, the BFC would be entirely honorary....I'm not suggesting a replacement for the committee.  :-*

Offline Marie O'Regan

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Re: A General Observation On Awards Questionnaires
« Reply #119 on: August 18, 2006, 02:39:25 pm »
Yet again, you're coming up with suggestions that sound excellent at face value, but are actually extremely divisive - and your comment about the BFS being mired in horror when we've taken pains to show you that it ISN'T, show that you're not as open to being shown you're wrong as you say you are.

We do not squash all genres together. Open Nights and FantasyCon are events for all, of course, unless you're suggesting we separate those as well? Publications contain various sections for reviews, interviews, and stories. I don't personally believe members have to be spoonfed which genre something falls into, they're bright enough to know what they're reading, and it's clear enough in each publication where the relevant information is. I don't object to Heroic Fantasy having a separate section as such, its this insistence on making sure your particular preference is given more prominence than anyone else's I personally object to. We try to make sure ALL tastes are catered for, to the best of our ability. If you're willing to edit a specific section you should approach the appropriate editor with your suggestion, as the Editor of a publication is responsible for it's content. Pete Coleborn will be editing Dark Horizons, and Jen is Editor of Prism. Both Editors are entirely willing to consider any proposal put to them in the proper manner.

We have always been a Society that accepts everybody. By splitting Professionals and Amateurs you are creating different 'classes' of members, whether that is your intent or not. How many busy professional authors have the time to spend a year running a Council as you suggest? It would basically exist as an opportunity to raise an individual's profile whilst in office, and what would this Council do? We already have a very active and hardworking Committee - or are you suggesting getting rid of the existing Committee? A large number of professional authors already help us in very many capacities, when they have time to do so, and to suggest that they should be effectively made to do more is a disservice, in my opinion.

We are an open Society, and are always willing to change and add new events - we must however have the budget available and do things in the proper manner.

Using links is a very good idea, which we do actually consistently try to do, believe it or not, and Andy Cox I know very well - we've discussed this for years whenever we see each other. He was a Committee member, briefly.

You make good suggestions re: helping aspiring authors, as long as you accept this will be open to all genres, not just heroic fantasy, and my own vote for a David Gemmell Award would be for Best Newcomer, providing budget is available (and thank you to you and Stan for your offer of help in this respect but again this is something we need to go into in more detail at the AGM or via Committee email, ie. through the proper channels.

Again, I do not believe singling out one category over all others, be it Heroic Fantasy, as you wish, Horror or anything else, would be beneficial to the Society as a whole - I firmly believe it would merely increase dissatisfaction rather than reduce it. We are committed to doing our best for the Members across the board, and always have been.