Ursa Majors: An Announcement

The Ursa Majors are open for nominating again, and for the last seven years around this time, I have posted something in this space about what I have that’s eligible and encouraged you to go vote for whatever you like, whether it’s mine or not. This year, I’m doing it a little differently.

I’ve notified the Anthropomorphic Literature and Arts Association that I am respectfully withdrawing my works from the Ursa Major Best Novel and Short Story categories this year, and for at least a few more going forward. This is not a decision I made lightly; in fact, it’s one I’ve been thinking about since last summer. So I’ll spend a little time talking about what went into it.

There is precedent in other awards for frequent winners stepping back. One of the people on the Ursa Major committee told me that in a musical award, when someone wins three years in a row, they are retired from that category by the award. That’s not how the Ursas work: they have been very hands-off and admirably resistant to public opinion. When Stan Sakai won the Best Comic award multiple years running, they assured people that in time, other comics would win, and they were right. In response to my multiple wins, they have assured people that, in time, other authors will win. I have no doubt that they are correct, given the profusion of talent in the fandom. In fact, each of the last two years I have been convinced I would not win one of the two awards (perhaps neither). But I have also observed that it would probably be better for the writing scene if that day comes sooner rather than later.

Ultimately, what it comes down to is this: I’ve won a dozen awards over seven years. I know you guys love me and my books. :) But I’d like to help the fandom’s literary scene mature, and part of that is showcasing more of the authors that are doing really good work. My name’s already up there in the lists; let’s see some of the other people.

In addition, this allows me to recommend other books in the fandom for you to read, other stories to look at, without being conflicted. I would really like you guys to keep reading and keep voting in the awards, because that’s important to the fandom.

What this does not mean: It does not mean you should stop voting. It doesn’t mean I’m stepping out of the fandom. I’m going to keep writing, keep going to conventions, keep posting to FA and answering mail and whatnot. You guys aren’t going to get rid of me that easily.

You can still show your support for my books the way you always have: buy them and tell your friends about them. I still appreciate all of that, more than I can express. And since I won’t have one time a year and an award prompt to tell you, I’ll just have to remember to do it on my own. Honestly, if you had told me when my first book came out in 2005 that eight years later I would be voluntarily stepping down because I had won enough awards for my writing…well, I would’ve said, “I must get a whole lot better–and have a lot of really awesome fans.” I know at least that last part is true. So thank you guys, all of you, for all your votes over the years, for all your support, and for putting me in this position. I will continue, as I always do, to strive to be worthy of it.

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