Rena Mason, Bram Stoker Awards® Co-Chair
It’s like a cyclone. Past and present colliding like storm fronts. Coast to coast, it’s been a crazy year for weather, but that’s not what I’m writing about in this month’s column.
January through March, the Awards Co-Chairs are right in the middle of closing out the 2018 awards season and opening it up for 2019. Titles and names begin to run into one another, and it’s easy to make mistakes, even when there are several sets of eyes that make up the entire Awards Committee to help proofread.
We’re busy updating the rules, handbooks, and manuals for the new year. Checking and double-checking spelling, making sure we have the right information, and verifying all the last-minute details before announcing the ballots. Inevitably something gets missed, but I’ve learned to accept the mistakes, make the apologies, and publicly re-announce the “corrected” version. It’s not only that I’ve learned to stay off of social media, I’m too busy and too tired to go on most days. I have to stay on the tasks at hand and keep my professional skin on.
There’s a new Short Nonfiction category this year. It’s a great addition, but it also adds a little more work. It was harder rounding up members qualified to serve on the juries in previous years. If you feel you’re qualified and want to serve on a jury, please go to your Wild Apricot membership account and click “Edit” your profile. If you scroll down to the bottom, there’s a form there to fill out for serving on a Jury. We currently only accept Lifetime, Active, Academic, and Affiliate members as jurors. But the juries are organized to have strong, experienced members, which gives some leeway for adding Affiliate members looking to gain experience. I’m very proud of the jurors who all work very hard deliberating their results at the end of the year, often in silence and without fanfare. I have the utmost respect for them and what they do. It’s not easy.
Soon, the Final Ballot will be announced, the voting will be done, and the 2018 season will be at an end. Around the same time, all the juries for 2019 will already be organized and ready to start reading works, which opens up March 15 to new submissions. Winter’s chaos will recede, and the spring and summer will bring fairer weather; the calm before the next storm.