Yeah, I said it. Much to the chagrin of some Horror Writers Association members, I’m sure.
Yesterday I made this post about my novella Murdered by Human Wolves being eligible for Bram Stoker Award recommendation (HWA’s annual award given in various categories). The post wasn’t bragging that I have a recommendation, which absolutely is no big deal at all — a rec just means at least one person liked the book and took the time to officially say so. The purpose of the post was to say that Scrybe Press is willing to give any HWA member a free print copy of the book if they’ll consider it for a Stoker recommendation.
Some people, though, seem to be offended by the offer of free books. They see it as trolling for votes.
If my book had come from a major publisher and was available in every retail outlet in every country that allows books and I was still trying to force it on people, I’d agree it would be trolling. But the book is from a small press with limited distribution. It’s a chapbook novella, which makes distribution even more difficult. Not a lot of people know it’s out there, let alone have committed money to purchase it.
Now, as a member with active status in HWA, I get a fair amount of unsolicited free books in the mail. I have mixed feelings about that. First, I wonder who the hell has the money to be sending free books to every active member. Then I consider that by sending the book without asking if I want it, the sender probably is expecting I’ll repay his or her charity with a recommendation, regardless of what I think of the book. But, finally, I figure I have a free book in my hand, so I’ll at least give it a try. Not many of them get recommendations from me. Some do, but not all, and once we move on to the preliminary ballot, it has to be a really really good book to get an actual vote.
I think it’s damn generous of Nathan at Scrybe Press to offer free print copies of MbHW to any and all HWA members who ask for it. Most small publishers would wait and see if the book makes the preliminary ballot before offering electronic PDF copies, and then it would only be to members with active status (only active members can vote). Do I expect everyone who asks for a copy to give me a Stoker rec. Of course not. All I ask is that they give the book a try. Honestly, I’d rather they recommend it to their friends and increase sales.
Scrybe Press has been bashed for not paying HWA-established pro rates, so authors with books from Scrybe are looked down upon by some members (not necessarily everyone who posted in the above threads). So, naturally, when somebody promotes a book from a publisher HWA doesn’t like, the author and the book are sneered at by some of those members. Well, whatever. There aren’t many publishers out there doing novellas. And, between the signing bonus and royalties, Scrybe already has paid me more for MbHW than I ever expected to see. With this offer, Nathan is committing more money to promoting my book, which is a good thing for me and shows his committment as a publisher who supports his authors.
If it gets a Stoker Award, fine. But it’s looking more and more like I won’t be an HWA member when the next voting process begins.