image For romance writers, the RITA is the equivalent of a writing Oscar.

This year there were changes to the qualifications for the RITA awards, including one that effectively eliminates e-books from competing. The RITA contest will not be open to any book that is not “mass-produced by a non-Subsidy, non-Vanity Publisher in print book format.” This definition excludes any publisher that does not have print runs such as e-publishers who do POD prints like Samhain or Wild Rose Press.

I’ve also been told that the Lambda Awards which recognize excellence in the GLBT field explicitly excludes e-books but will accept self-published books.

These awards should be about quality of the book and not print runs and formats.

See also Robert Nagle’s TeleRead 2007 piece about the unique challenges that ebook authors face with literary competitions.

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  1. if an ebook ever get to the point where it’s not vanity or speciality publication it’s going to get into print period, and the rule is there exactly to excluce vanity or speciality publications.

    A lot of the stuff that really does benefit from E is the backcatalog of free clasics and speciality publications that needs to be updated rapidly and have a limited target audience.(think survey reports, employee manuals, policy documents, technical manuals, all of that used to be printed).

    Mainstream books dont really benefit from being locked behind DRM and read from kindles unless your one of those rare people who reads 200 books at once or chew through several a week

  2. Many writers organizations, including the RWA, have struggled with how to treat small publishers and authors who sell to them. Unfortunately, their decisions often seem designed to punish authors who sell to small publishers. This is one reason why EPIC began its Eppie awards–to give authors writing for small publishers a chance to demonstrate their excellence.

    It’s doubly unfortunate that RWA and other writer organizations don’t allow authors with small publishers to enter their contests because how else will the judges learn that small publishers often publish books that are as good or better than those put out by the New York conglomerates?

    Rob Preece

  3. It’s not just the romance world; I’ve heard of similar things going on with the MWA (Mystery Writers Assoc), and of course, the SFWA (Science-Fiction Writers Assoc) won’t even look at you unless you’re in print. Period.

    In my humble opinion, old habits die hard, and though ebooks are having a tough time right now, they will eventually get the recognition they deserve. (It may be a while, but it will happen sometime.)

    All the best,
    Heather S. Ingemar

  4. Here’s the next hurdle for non-subsidy ebook writers in any field.
    How do we market our product to the print press? I am a print journalist in my former life and it occurred to me last week that to successfully market my book I have to provide a free download. Maybe it is being done already? My epublisher wants 99.9 percent of the marketing online, but the print medium is alive and well and very difficult, nay impossible, to invade now.
    I hate to knock vanity writers, but I have to say you won’t get any hits in a major newspaper no matter how great your book is. (Although, yes, I know there are miracles).
    Someone out there in digitalworld needs to get cracking on the ebook “revolution” from the poor writer’s perspective. I am a little old to be starting any new association, but I hope someone will before the e-fire goes out, so to speak.
    Dick Gentry,
    non-famous author of “At the Foot of The Southern Cross, et al”
    Please send this message to every e-writer you know. Our great leader is out there somewhere, right now, pecking away at Gone With The Wind II…

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