Last year, a group of us were sitting in Kittyinaz’s Facebook group waiting for the Fanfic Fanatics (or whatever they are called; sorry but I’m horrible at keeping names straight) winners to be announced. It seemed like every award was won by a Twilight story with the exception of the categories that were fandom specific. It seemed so sad that all these wonderful authors who wrote all these wonderful stories in the TB/SVM fandom were shut out of the awards because of sparkly vampires. (Sorry Twilight fans, but vampires should never, ever sparkle!)
As a joke, MistressJessica1028 suggested that we start our own awards. And it snowballed from there. Five women, Magsmacdonald, MistressJessica1028, Kittyinaz, 4Padfoot, and Gyllene, worked very hard to create the awards categories, banners, website, etc. Hours upon hours of work went into just setting up the damn things. To be fair and try to get everyone, old and new, acknowledged in the awards, we allowed ALL stories from the beginning of the fandom to May 1, 2014, to be considered for entry. There were 27 categories people could nominate for. And do you want to know something?
We absolutely fucking killed ourselves last year! We had to verify over a THOUSAND nominees. An entire weekend was spent working on the verification process alone. And to be honest, it wasn’t easy. People didn’t understand some of the categories, and we realized we weren’t clear on some things. But we had never done this before; we were learning. Plus they didn’t fill out the nomination forms completely so we had to go hunting for stories.
The winners were announced and we brainstormed on ideas to make things better. We listened to the fans that asked us to streamline the categories, since you said the nomination and voting process were too involved.
Skip forward a year. In April, we started discussing the awards. Magsmacdonald and MistressJessica1028 said they were stepping back due to real life obligations. Based on last year’s suggestions, we trimmed the number of categories down from 27 to under 20, getting rid of the ones that were too difficult to verify. We also trimmed down the timing for stories, limiting them to stories started or updated after May 1, 2014. Another thing we did was say that if the ballot wasn’t completely filled out, we were disqualifying the entry. The reason for that was to make the verification process easier on us. Sorry, but sometimes that does have to factor into all of this: our time and effort.
So nominations opened. You wanna know something?
We had a whooping 47 nomination forms.
Talk about disappointing.
Each category was only to have 10 nominees, again to make the verification process easier. When there were ties among all the nominees, we put it up to the voters to decide who would make it out of the wild card round. The Authority had NOTHING to do with who made it in and who did not. And before you ask, we each voted once in the wild card round, and once in the actual voting. Could we have voted more? Sure. Did we? No, because we had other things on our minds. Have other people voted more than once? Probably. Do we care? Not really, because that means that the readers are passionate about the stories they love.
We’ve heard that the awards are skewed to favor The Authority. To be clear, the only person that knows what’s going on with the voting is 4Padfoot because she created the poll for voting and she is the website adminstrator; she isn’t an author. MistressJessica1028 had 6 nominations, Kittyinaz had 3, and Gyllene had the most of the active Authority members with 15. Do you want to know why Gyllene and Meridian had the most nominations this time around?
It’s because they sent out a reminder in one of their posts saying which stories were available to be considered. But they weren’t the only authors to do that.
That’s like when films starting campaigning for an Academy Award. It’s not right; it’s not wrong; it is what it is.
So to recap, we only had 47 nomination forms, yet we’ve had over 30,000 votes. Again, the only one that has seen what is happening in voting is 4Padfoot.
As of now, voting is closed. We are debating whether to announce the winners or not, because all the negativity surrounding the awards has disheartened all of us. We have spent hours trying to bring these awards to you, to make them what YOU, the readers, wanted. I know of only one group of people who asked questions about the awards, and to be honest, it didn’t go so well. Personality conflicts on both sides; it happens. But no one approached me personally to ask questions about the awards. I’m only learning today of people approaching Kittyinaz, and that is to tell her of a specific rant about the awards. We are not naming names, because that is petty, but this is what we have to say in response.
If you truly had issues with the awards, then we would have appreciated it if you had come to any members of The Authority with your concerns. It’s extremely frustrating to hear so much discrediting us when we have tried to make this as something to recognize the authors. We can’t help that the readers have their favorite authors. We had talked about excluding winners from last year in this year’s awards, but that created backlash as well because people suggested it wasn’t a truly fair competition if they couldn’t compete against everyone in the fandom.
We can’t please everyone, though we have tried to do so, but it looks like we ended up failing abysmally.
We do not decide who wins and loses; we only post the winners that you the fans decide on. If you don’t like what the fans have to say, then we are sorry. The awards are not mean to depress or discourage anyone. We’re sorry if you have let something that is supposed to be uplifting do that to you.
Lastly, we are human. We make mistakes. If we missed something, well we hoped that after our many checks, that you will look over them. We had mentioned that we are human and for any input to be given to us. We listened last year to the complaints, and worked to make these better for you. Instead of coming to us and telling us what the issues are, we instead find out from anonymous people who stepped forward to let us know of the complaints. We had no idea they were being aired.
Based on our experience this year, we are seriously considering not hosting the awards next year. We will think long and hard before we do. Why do something that people are treating negatively? It was meant to be fun, and this shit isn’t fun.