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Rainbow Awards: Next Season

One month to the end of this year Rainbow Awards, and I’m already thinking to next year! I actually don’t know if this is wonderful or scaring; I love the Rainbow Awards but it’s certain they have eaten most of my free time.

When I started them, I had no real plan or agenda. I wanted an award that was aimed to all LGBT fiction and non fiction, but of course I have a penchant for romance, and that is clear on the number of submissions I receive for that genre. It’s not that I push them, it’s only that, reviewing mainly Gay Romance, that is the genre where my name and the Rainbow Awards have more following. But in any case, the Rainbow Awards are open to all genres, and indeed this year, the number of submissions for Contemporary General Fiction and Sci-Fi/Fantasy is almost the same, if not higher than Contemporary Romance and Erotic Romance. Plus Mystery/Thriller and is almost the same than Parnormal/Horror (that has a good share of Paranormal Romance submissions inside). So I think the balance is even on regards of genre. Not the same for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender categories, where of course Gay is having the lion share, but I’m working hard, really, to have more Lesbian, Bisexual and above all Transgender submissions, it’s not easy, but I’m working on it.

So why this long introduction? Because I have to accept the idea I cannot continue alone in managing the Rainbow Awards; I told the same last year, but then I thought, if I start a little earlier, maybe I will have more time… and instead the submissions almost doubled and again I’m at the same point. I hope, since this is actually a good thing, next year will be the same, but me too will be the same, 1 person managing 147 jury members, almost 500 books, I don’t know how many publishers, more than 30 categories… not possible, really.

There is who offered to help, and to the single person, I have always said no, not since I don’t trust other people, but since I think these Awards need a solid structure, lot of labor and love, an organization. I found an organization, and I liked what they told me; I feel the Awards will gain from this partnership, and viceversa. There will be changes, of course they have to happen; I fought some of them, but to other I had to agree they were good suggestions.

The main change is that, there will be a submission fee; this is probably what I fought more than anything else, but I asked opinions, and the answer was pretty much the same: when you publish a book, the initial cost for the author is so huge, that your fee is really nothing in comparison. But in any case, the amount of all fees is not enough to pay the work of the jury, we are so many, and so what to do with this money? Aside from a little share that will go to administrative expenses (having an organization it means having also an official guidelines, so maybe the counseling of a lawyer, some shipping cost, things like that), I decided the majority (I hope 80/85%) will go to charity. It has to be decided how to pick the charity, and my idea is to change every year, but the most important thing is that who is paying the fee will know that the money will be used for good.

In addition to the charity, I'd also like to select a public library and/or organization to donate all finalists and winners books, again a different library every year. My idea is to first ask to the publishers to donate 1 copy of their books, and then, to buy the rest with the fees (but knowing that money is going to charity, I'm sure the publishers will donate the books!)

The second change, and I think that is good, is that we will have a live Awards Ceremony, and we will give a prize (I’m thinking to some pretty glass/Plexiglas plate, see the above administrative expenses and things like that) to the winners. It means also that we will have a list of finalists and one winner for each category, so the managing of the reading phase will change also, but I will delayed further explanations to when I will post the new Awards Guidelines (in March 2013). Again, the partnership with an organization it allows me to have the live Awards ceremony, they will help me in managing and organizing it, I couldn’t have done it alone.

Related to the introduction of the fee, is the third, and final change: submissions will be of the author not the publisher (unless the publisher is not willing to face the fees for their own authors). I hope this will not discourage the long list of publishers who were long-last participants to the Rainbow Awards (Bold Strokes Books, Lethe Press, Kensington Books), I hope they will forward the Awards Guidelines to their authors and ask them if they are interested to participate. From my side, I want to assure that, all people involved are doing it out of love for LGBT literature and with the intent of making more visible good books to potential readers, so I think it’s a win to win situation.

As a final point, I want to highlight that, to balance the partnership with an organization that is genre oriented (i.e. it’s focused on a specific genre, while instead the Awards are multigenre), I first of all ask and make sure the multi-genre nature of the Awards will be preserved, and second I thought to introduce new “blood” to the Awards: at today I asked, and they agree, to Patricia Nell Warren, Keith Hale, Aaron Fricke, Felice Picano, Brent Hartinger and Vincent Virga to collaborate in different capacities to the Awards; the how and when it has to be define, but I’m sure these wonderful authors will be a perfect addition to the Rainbow Awards team.

So, next year, bigger and stronger? Do you think it’s a good change? Comments are welcome, I’m open to suggestions and/or critiques, it was not easy for me to arrive to such decisions, but believe me, my first thought was to preserve the Rainbow Awards for the future.

P.S. I will disclose the name of the organization when all legal aspects are straightened out, but if they want to come forward, I will welcome them ;-)


( 47 comments — Leave a comment )
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Oct. 31st, 2012 04:08 pm (UTC)

Cara Elisa,

I welcome the changes, especially because I always wondered how do you manage to do on your own this giant work, growing every year. Beside reading, writing review, managing the LJ, finding new interesting authors/movies etc., answering all the comments and so on...

And you can count me in for next year ;-).

Be well!


Oct. 31st, 2012 04:12 pm (UTC)
> answering all the comments

oh well, they are not so many LOL, joke aside, it's very good to hear you welcome the changes, Antonella, you are with the Awards since the first year I believe, and I list you as one of my best and honest jury member.
(no subject) - elena_62 - Oct. 31st, 2012 04:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
Oct. 31st, 2012 04:42 pm (UTC)
I think this is wonderful, and you know if you ever need anything to simply ask and if it is within my means I will help. I am a reader so i love this recognition of amazing work and authors. I am glad this is happening.

Amy D
Oct. 31st, 2012 07:27 pm (UTC)
Thank you Amy, maybe you can join the jury next year? I'm pretty sure you will love the Awards ceremony, and I have the feeling that, maybe, you will be in the same city ;-)
Ryan Field
Oct. 31st, 2012 04:48 pm (UTC)
I'm fine with everything you mentioned. I've been watching the Rainbows evolve since inception and I knew they would always continue to evolve. Any support you need, let me know!!
Oct. 31st, 2012 07:27 pm (UTC)
Thank you Ryan, yes, you were among my first supporters and I have always appreciated that.
Oct. 31st, 2012 04:50 pm (UTC)
I think those are good changes and I know you've been overwhelmed with all of the work coordinating these awards. Thank you for your dedication.
Oct. 31st, 2012 07:28 pm (UTC)
Thank you Marguerite, I cherish the opinion of an author that usually is submitting to the Awards, I hope you will continue to do so.
Oct. 31st, 2012 05:46 pm (UTC)
I think it's great that you are making these changes, and especially love the idea that you are donating to a worthy cause!
Oct. 31st, 2012 07:28 pm (UTC)
That was one of the point I wanted to introduce, I think these Awards can do a lot of good things, in many ways
(no subject) - luscious_words - Oct. 31st, 2012 07:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
Oct. 31st, 2012 06:45 pm (UTC)
Great changes! The award is growing and it's a natural progression to become more official. More rules and regulations only add to the value. And submission fee is nothing compared to the free advertisement and reviews you provide to these books. Lots of people (me included) make their buying choices at least partially based on your blog reviews and rainbow awards list.

Hope to participate next year again.
Oct. 31st, 2012 07:29 pm (UTC)
Thank you Tessa, and of course I'd love for you to be again in the jury next year.
Oct. 31st, 2012 07:13 pm (UTC)
Excellent changes! Not only will they help you, but they will bring prestige to the contest.

Thank you, once again, for all you do and all you bring to readers and writers alike.
Oct. 31st, 2012 07:30 pm (UTC)
I hope so Jessica, that is what I tried to balance, a change that was good for me but also, and above all, for the awards.
Norma Nielsen
Oct. 31st, 2012 07:28 pm (UTC)
Rainbow Awrads
I think the idea of changes though a little scary will be a better thing in the long run. You have done a wonderful job to date mind you I have only been involved for the last two years... but if you ever need my help just ask and I will do what I can. Can't wait for next years to start.
Oct. 31st, 2012 07:31 pm (UTC)
Re: Rainbow Awrads
Thank you Norma, it was a long path to this decision, but I think it will do good to the Awards. And of course I want you again in the jury next year!
Oct. 31st, 2012 07:42 pm (UTC)
Dearest Elisa! You've grown the baby that was your awards in to a monster of a teenager and of course that's a bit difficult to hold on your lap by yourself! All of the changes sound well-thought out, necessary and definitely timely! And I think the awards will be a blast! I look forward to seeing you up at the podium doing your welcoming speech. :D
Oct. 31st, 2012 07:47 pm (UTC)
LOL don't let me think about that :-) but I'm already planning the Awards ceremony, I have the ppt layout ready! And yes, my baby is all grown out and they are starting to ask to go out by night... ALONE!
Oct. 31st, 2012 08:56 pm (UTC)
I can't believe you managed on your own as long as you did! I think those are good changes.

As a possible recipient (they may not be interested) of one year's donated books, perhaps the Quatrefoil Library? It's a GLBT lending library.
Oct. 31st, 2012 08:59 pm (UTC)
Thank you for the suggestion! we have not yet decided who will be the recipient of the books, so I can include/consider your suggestion.
Oct. 31st, 2012 09:05 pm (UTC)
Next year
Absolutely Elisa - just being on the jury this year made me wonder how on earth you do it! Good luck with the new arrangement - I hope it lessens the burden and you'll have time to come to Atlanta in October for GRL 2013! Cheers, JP
Oct. 31st, 2012 09:37 pm (UTC)
Re: Next year
I'm counting the days to Atlanta JP, and I hope I will have good news before that ;-)
Oct. 31st, 2012 10:11 pm (UTC)
Good for you Elisa, you've always given your wholehearted love and skills to the event, so I know any decision you make will be a sound one. And it was a huge treat to meet you in Albuquerque at GRL this year! xx
Oct. 31st, 2012 10:15 pm (UTC)
Thank you Clare, I hope/think this decision will improve the credibility of these awards. I'm crossing my fingers the fee will not discourage debut authors to send their book and I hope it will be affordable to many of the already published authors.
Oct. 31st, 2012 10:21 pm (UTC)
Thanks for all you do
It's a good move. The awards are great, thanks for running it for the last few years. I know many authors who won't have any issue paying an entry fee.
Oct. 31st, 2012 10:27 pm (UTC)
Re: Thanks for all you do
Thank you! (you are anonymous but I would like to know your name :-) ) I hope so, the fee will be way less than any other similar contest (I checked) and it will ensure to everyone submitting a book all the promotion the Awards will have (and I will do everything in my power for it to be so). I really think it's a win win situation and I hope many authors will think so too.
Oct. 31st, 2012 11:22 pm (UTC)
Rainbow Awards 2013
I think they're great ideas. Especially giving the money to a charity and donating winning books to libraries. Libraries these days are under so much pressure to cut spending, donated books are always a boon, plus it gets more LGBT books out there.

Most award programs charge a fee. As long as it's not so much as to discourage anyone. We are authors after all, and that means we're broke. LOL
Oct. 31st, 2012 11:32 pm (UTC)
Re: Rainbow Awards 2013
I was thinking around 25$, they told me it's less than most fees around there, and I hope most people will be able to afford it. What do you think?
Nov. 1st, 2012 06:36 am (UTC)
Such a big undertaking for you, Elisa, I'm glad you've found some help. Yet at the same I can't say that hearing that the contest is becoming more commercialized doesn't concern me. I hope things go smoothly, yet I fear that they won't be as concerned with readers, since we bring no "prestige" to the awards. Ah well, I will hope for the best.
Nov. 1st, 2012 08:36 am (UTC)
The organization will help but will not substitute me or/and the jury, so I'm sure the care with which we read and chose the best books will be the same.
(no subject) - stormcloude - Nov. 1st, 2012 08:47 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - elisa_rolle - Nov. 1st, 2012 08:50 am (UTC) - Expand
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( 47 comments — Leave a comment )


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