Expert publishing blog opinions are solely those of the blogger and not necessarily endorsed by DBW.
The Rita awards ceremony, climaxing the annual Romance Writers of America convention, is closer to the glitzy Academy Awards than to the bookish solemnities of the National Book Award. Conducted in vast auditoriums on a stage flanked by jumbo-trons, these events are almost as glamorous as their Hollywood counterparts, and the tension and drama leading up to the announcement of winners in Best Historical or Best Paranormal are every bit as excruciating as the wait for Best Leading Actor or Best Film.
Until now there was one thing you could always count on: the awards would be bestowed on printed books.
In 2012 two Ritas – named after one of the founders of RWA – were awarded to original e-books, one for romance novella, the other for contemporary single title.
This is a very big deal. It’s as if a YouTube video won an Oscar for best feature film.
You would think that if any group of writers were early adapters to digital books it would be science fiction authors. In truth romance writers – and their fans and publishers – jumped into e-books from the moment the technology was unleashed. In particular Harlequin, the world’s leading romance publisher, launched an e-book program long before other publishers even remotely began to think digitally. So, it should not come as a surprise that RWA decided that e-originals were every bit as qualified as their print sisters to garner nominations and awards.
It’s hard to believe that the rest of the publishing industry will follow suit any time soon, but in this revolutionary era, wonders that we said would not come to pass for a decade seem to materialize in six months. So – keep your eye on those National Book Award nominees.