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September 13, 2005



Let me be the first to congratulate Lord Julius's Goat.

Jim Winter

I critiqued one of the entries sent in. (No, I'm not a judge.) "Not publishable" doesn't wash. That one was certainly publishable. Makes me wonder what gets tossed every year now.

(And no, it's not sour grapes. After I lost in '03, someone pointed out a glaring problem with my first page that killed it. I thanked the judge for not passing that one on before I fixed the problem.)


Same thing with the Delacorte Press BFYR First YA Novel annual contest. In '98, '00 and '04, no prizewinners. Yet in '96, '97 and '01 they also selected an Honor Book -- which (weirdly) works out to ten winning books in the last ten years.

At first I thought their declining to award a prize spoke highly of their commitment to publishing high quality books. After reading this post, I must admit I'm wondering a little.

PK the Bookeemonster

So what do the authors who sent in works to be judged (and ultimately no one chosen) do now? It's not really like a lottery is it -- there were no winners this time buy another ticket. It's seems like it should be more like a race at a track meet: there are entries and ultimately someone finishes (and wins) the race. I suppose I'm being very naive.

Jim Winter

The authors who subbed go back and resub. In fact, many of them were probably shopping around for agents or pitching editors while they waited.

It did not occur to me when I wrote my earlier post that they might have chosen a winner only to find the book sold to another (or even the same) publisher. That's one possibility.

Still, the manuscript I saw this summer makes me grind my teeth that a winner wasn't chosen.


Good and bad, this is (said Yoda).

Bad: the P.I. story should never die, because there will always be real P.I.s.

Good: I still haven't finished my ms, but I did send of a Dagger entry. :)

Sandra Scoppettone

It's my understanding that St. Martin has nothing to do with picking the winner. The winner is chosen by a committee. One thing that did happen this year was that choosing the judges was very late. I know because I was asked and couldn't do it. But there was a mixup and I received about 5 manuscripts that I had to return to senders. They were right under the wire of the closing date. So there are 5 that might have made it if there hadn't been this screw up.


Julia Spencer-Fleming has a list of the Malice Domestic/SMP winners on her site. Looks like they have not skipped a year giving the award. P.S. nice mention in Pages Sept/Oct issue of Sarah's and David Montgomery's blogs.

David J. Montgomery

Someone else just mentioned the Pages magazine thing to me, too. I tried to find it at the bookstore, but no luck at the local B&N or BAM.

It's nice to know, though, that someone out there has good taste. :)

Jim Winter

Sandra, you did mention that on DetecToday. Do you think the early Bouchercon tripped things up, since the announcement is timed with Bcon?


I read for the PWA/SMP contest last year. Most of my submissions were somewhat painful first attempts at writing fiction and not all qualified as P.I. novels. My last ms. arrived just under the wire and was superb. It did not win because, I was told, it was not sufficiently unique. I was pretty crushed by that decision, but its author will make it regardless. There was another winner last year. The readers recommended at least two authors and SMP picked one.

Submissions are read by published P.I. writers (members of PWA). They recommend one or two choices out of the batch assigned to them. The final decision belongs to SMP.
I support the contest because it gives talented people another chance at publication in a market that shuts out too many.

Sandra Scoppettone

I don't think the date had anything to do with it.

I.J. Parker,
Thanks for clarifying how the whole thing works. But are you saying that even though PWA may submit 3 or 4 books SMP has the right to dismiss all of them?

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