Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Mark your calendars!

Big news here at Needle Central. I was having a very difficult time making the selections for the nominees for the Needle Awards. As I have mentioned previously, all of the books I selected/reviewed for 2005 were wonderful. Some were very good, some were excellent and some were simply outstanding.

Unfortunately, more than five were outstanding--and I could not find a way to shave off the extras. So I figured I should cut out the books that are already represented by agents, but I figured that made absolutely no sense at all, essentially punishing the books that have already managed to succeed a bit.

So, then I thought, "Hey, this is my own stinking awards presentation, I'll pick as many books as I want!"

But when I mentioned this to the wonderful agents and editors who were going to select the winners, the general reaction was this: "Are you out of your effing mind? I don't have time to read the five books you wanted me to judge in the first place."

After a few labored discussions with these generous yet feisty people, I realized that the group was sort of split. That is, two of the folks are literature-oriented and the other two are commercial oriented--and neither was thrilled about having to read books that might have fallen in the opposing category.

So I made everyone happy (though more like happier): I managed to add one more agent and one more editor (both had expressed interest in reading for next year's awards) and now have broken the awards into two categories: Literary and Commercial.

Here's how it's going to go. There will be five books selected for the Commercial Needle and five books selected for the Literary Needle. There will be a winner in each category, but no 1st place, 2nd place, etc.--just the winners.

And even with this change, I still feel like I had to cut out a few books that definitely deserved to be nominated. But this is as good (or bad) as it's going to get.

So stay tuned and check your calendars. Nominees will be announced at 8:00 am right here at POD-dy mouth on Wednesday, February 22nd, 2006 (that's one week from today.)

Winners will be selected over the weekend of March 18th and will be officially announced at 8:00 am on Wednesday, March 22nd, 2006 and the PDFs will be send out to the folks who requested the info (27 agents and editors so far, including esteemed folks at Bantam, Crown, Tor, Penguin Putnam, William Morris, Trident Media, ICM, Inkwell and many others.)

What a year this has been. I certainly never thought it would come this far, or that the best folks in the industry would be paying attention, or that over a half million people tuned in this past year to see what was happening. Coming up soon, I will have a post listing the general stats of the past year (like how many submissions I received, how many gigabytes of PDFs were sent my way, etc.) Even I was surprised at some of them.

And, to totally blow your mind, tune in Friday for the return of Agent & Editor Q&A (agent #4) with mega-agent, Jenny Bent!