Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Aurora hustling

Update 13 January 2010: After some gentle nudging by Aurora administrator Clint Budd, the scheme described below has been withdrawn by the author and her friend, and, rather than have this lapse of judgment haunt them forever, I've removed identifying details from the body of this post. However, I do think the fact that this was tried, and that this sort of thing is strongly discouraged, should be noted for the record, and so I'm not deleting the entire post.
I pointed out to author XXXXX XXXXX that her friend's attempt to "motivate" people to nominate her for an Aurora by offering prizes was in bad taste, but she is happy with it, writing to me, "What's wrong with a contest? I get stuff like that from other authors all the time! It's motivation, not bribe!"

Well, I think it's in incredibly bad taste. It's one thing to alert people to the fact that you have a work eligible for the Auroras (and it's fine to make that work freely available so that people can judge it for themselves). But it's quite another to have someone instruct people to vote for you, and ask them to hustle others to do the same -- and then offer them a chance at a prize for voting for you, and more chances at a prize for hustling on your behalf.

But that's precisely what the message from XXXXXX XXXXXX's friend that appeared in my Facebook inbox today asked, and, since the author herself approves of it, here's the message (which, incidentally, suggests all sorts of reasons for nominating her book that have nothing to do with the quality of the book):
Subject: TIME TO VOTE, SUPPORT A CANADIAN AUTHOR, AND WIN A PRIZE!!!!

Yes, there is still time to GO VOTE ONLINE and support a Canadian Author!!!!

It is very important that you take 5 minutes to do this!

Show XXXXX XXXXX you appreciate her an artist, friend, author, Canadian, or simply a human being!!! Whatever rocks your boat!

AWARD
Literary Aurora 2010
The Prix Aurora is an award for Canadian sf books based on fan-voting. [link]

CATEGORY
If you haven't figured it out yet, her novel "YYYYYYYYYY" fits in the BEST LONG-FORM Work In English - 2009

CONTEST AND PRIZE!!!
YES, since some of you need motivation, we are giving out three sample booklets of PART III, ZZZZZZZZZZ as a taste of things to come.

All you need to do is go online and vote, forward your Prix Aurora Awards confirmation email to CONTEST@XXXXXXX.COM, add your mail-in address and voilĂ !

Your name will be written down on a paper, shuffled in a hat, and drawn on Feb 15, 2009.

If you wish to earn more ballots, invite your friends, check who said "yes" to the event, and send us (or simply me) the names. We will check. One ballot is earned for every 5 friends. If they click "yes" and don't get to the website, don't worry, you still get your ballot as a thank you for trying!

Visit The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site
and WakeWatchWonder.com

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13 Comments:

At January 12, 2010 2:30 PM , Blogger g d townshende said...

That's absurd! If anything of mine ever gets nominated for a prize, it'll have to win on its own merits. I could never take pride in a prize I won knowing that I did something to rig the vote.

 
At January 12, 2010 2:56 PM , Blogger Ken Marable said...

I guess it doesn't specify that you have to vote for her to enter the drawing, so maybe people should vote for Wake and then forward the confirmation email to enter the drawing. :)

Unfortunately, is voting only open to Canadian fans? I'm 25% Canadian.

 
At January 12, 2010 5:27 PM , Blogger Kirstin said...

I think that's just despicable. And given that she hasn't spoken out against it, I'm really disgusted.

 
At January 12, 2010 8:09 PM , Blogger Sean said...

Odd... is this a published author? The image at the top of your post suggests someone using a self-publishing site and a cursory Google search returns two pages of Facebook entries.

Assuming she's a little wet behind the ears (and probably far too eager) the lack of professionalism here can be excused. What's more worrying to me is the idea that the Aurora's can be "hacked" like this? What's to stop an undeserving writer from taking advantage of the hive mind and flooding the awards with nominations?

 
At January 13, 2010 7:53 PM , Blogger The Grumpy Owl said...

Why would someone even want to win an award in that manner? The whole point of awards is to recognize merit, not to measure clicks. Unless it's some sort of award for click-generation. In which case, we're right back at the beginning.

Either way, she's gaming.

 
At January 13, 2010 8:34 PM , Blogger RobertJSawyer said...

Comment posted earlier by K. W. Ramsey, edited by RJS to remove the name of the author under discussion:

A few words come to mind, such as "cheesy" and "tacky". I agree that there's a difference between letting people know about your work, and asking them to vote for you, and basically begging and playing upon people's sympathies. Maybe if there had been a review linked or even mentioned, something to show that his is a good book, a book worth voting for.

As for supporting Canadian authors, aren't the Aurora awards specifically for Canadian authors? Isn't the whole point of the award to show the best and brightest of what Canadian imaginative literature has to offer?

I fear that a campaign like this may actually be harmful for an author in the long run, for it plays upon peoples' sympathies and/or nationalistic inclinations instead of trying to make a case that the work itself deserves to be recognized. For me, I'm actually less likely to ever pick up one of XXXXX XXXXX's books now that I've seen that. Of course, before now I'd never heard of her or seen any of her books so that may end up to be a wash either way.

Finally, I note that the prize appears to be three sample booklets for part 3 of an ongoing series. How is this a prize? I mean, if they were signed or limited edition with a note from the author or some such then I could see that be attractive to people who are already fans of the series, but otherwise it's just handing out marketing pamphlets.

Anyways, sorry if this seems like a rant. Just wanted to throw in my two pennies.

-- January 12, 2010 5:14 PM

 
At January 13, 2010 8:34 PM , Blogger RobertJSawyer said...

Comment posted earlier by Zafri Mollon, edited by RJS to remove the name of the author under discussion:

I'm surprised this is allowed. How are awards going to have any meaning when winners are determined based on who had the best prizes and/or money to use as leverage for votes.

Also, is this serious?

"XXXXX XXXXX exemplifies the Aristotelian ideal in his famous 'Poetics' which goes beyond the context of art as a universal language, to include art as a symbol of completeness and unity. Artists like XXXXX, who train themselves to see the whole rather than the parts of a unified entity, are far better artists than those who fail at seeing those indispensable links."

-- January 12, 2010 7:03 PM

 
At January 13, 2010 8:35 PM , Blogger RobertJSawyer said...

Comment posted earlier by Mike Rimar, edited by RJS to remove the name of the author under discussion:

So, I googled XXXXX just to see what she is about. She loves the U-Tube. And her book's publisher has one client. Guess who. That she tried an end run by claiming her 'friend' is doing this, well, that speaks for itself. I think U-Tube speaks for her.

That's not to say her book is bad. Hey, it might well deserve a nomination, but this isn't the way to go about it. Oh, I can already hear her rants against the Canadian literary establishment. Nevermind, I'll just click on the girl singing off key on stage. Oh, look, it's XXXXX.

Mike

-- January 13, 2010 4:16 PM

 
At January 13, 2010 8:43 PM , Blogger RobertJSawyer said...

Comment posted earlier by Robert J. Sawyer, edited by RJS to remove the name of the author under discussion:

Zafri Mollon writes, "I'm surprised this is allowed."

It isn't. The Auroras have always been blessed with wonderful keepers-of-the-flame. For many years, that was Dennis Mullin, and now it's Clint Budd: Clint oversees the Auroras and makes sure they're fairly administered. Problems like this get taken care of. I tried a private word in both XXXXX XXXXX's and her friend's ears before saying anything here, but to no avail -- but, then again, I have no special status as far as the Auroras are concerned. But Clint's on the case now, and I'm sure his wise counsel will be heeded.

Sean, same reply: there have been attempts to "hack" the Auroras in the past -- but they're detected and dealt with quietly by the administrators.

-- January 13, 2010 12:59 PM

 
At January 14, 2010 2:07 AM , Blogger Kirstin said...

Um, if it's been taken down, then why is it still present on her Facebook fan page?

 
At January 14, 2010 8:44 AM , Blogger RobertJSawyer said...

Hi, Kirstin. The exhortation to nominate her is still on her Facebook fan page, but the part about the contest/bribe if you do so is gone (although she's still running a random-drawing contest, separate from this).

 
At January 14, 2010 3:49 PM , Blogger Kirstin said...

Hmmmmmm.

 
At January 14, 2010 4:00 PM , Blogger Kirstin said...

Well, I guess she did remove the actual contest information. Still, I think she should decline any nomination. That book is forever tainted in my eyes. You should not try to buy an awards nomination.

 

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