Yesterday was the last day to submit nominations for the Whitneys and the AML Awards so it seems like a good time to consider what chance my dear, dear Fob Bible has to receive one of these awards.
- It seems extremely likely that The Fob Bible, since it was included on the official eligibility list, will also make it onto the "Preliminary Awards Ballot." At that point, things get sticky as the "Whitney Awards Committee may use its discretion to place novels into genre categories" (cf the rules). And which category does it belong in?
I've already mentioned that you have to be pretty darned postmodern to consider The Fob Bible a novel (though you do not have to be nuts, and I consider that an important distinction), but whether it is a "General Novel" or a "Historical Novel" (the two most likely categories) is hard to say. Probably general, since that's what LDS Publisher called it for her cover contest (we lost that one, by the way --- wonder if we'd have fared better in Historical...?).
But I imagine at this point the judges, who will be loaded with books to obtain and read, will be looking for reasons to disqualify a book. So we shall see.
If somehow it does secure one of the five nominations for its category (worth noting, this is also a first published novel for every participating Fob, so hey --- feel free to nominate us there as well), then awesome! Will the voters get and read a copy? And will the book end up to esoteric for their novelcentric tastes? Who knows.
In the end, I don't have high hopes here. But that's no reason not to have hope at all! But in this case, it truly would be an honor just to be nominated.
(All that said, if the judges think the book is good enough for a nomination, I hope they nominate it. I think that would be good for the Whitneys, to allow a dark horse like The Fob Bible through the gate.)
- Here I think we have a read shot at gold. The process is more secretive, but The Fob Bible is on their list of works to consider and while I don't know who gets a say, a positive AML review from Dallas Robbins has to help. Plus, Jeff Needles has a copy and while he hasn't reviewed it, I think he will love it when he does. (We'll see, though.)
The issue I see hear (besides, as always, visibility) is, again, category. Unlike the Whitneys, the AMLs have different categories each year depending on what they feel is worthy of recognition.
I had imagined The Fob Bible would be in direct competition with The Best of Mormonism and Dispensation. Plus, I though having three moderately similar books would help the AMLites that awarding something in this category would be a good idea.
But now Dispensation has been delayed to 2010 and it ends up that The Best of Mormonism will be an annual event, thus giving it an award in Year One might seem a bit like an Obamafied Peace Prize.
I'm hard pressed to say whether this helps or hurts the Bible's chances of recognition. I will say that I honestly believe that ultimately the AML strives to recognize books it feels are worthy of that honor, but they are also human and we never quite know what motivates one decision over another. (Though anyone looking for proof that the book is excellent and this isn't just more thbloviation should read Tyler Chadwick's two-part review on A Motley Vision. Or, you know, read some of it.)
Ultimately, I think The Fob Bible's chance at an AML Award is largely contingent on whether the judges are fully aware of it. So I don't know if getting plugged on fMh guarantees that, but I'll tell you what I do know: Everyone who reads The Fob Bible will consider it a serious contender. Everyone has so far.
A better chance here than for a Whitney, but still a longshot. So shoot away!