Monday, February 20, 2012

Nebula Second Thought

...and the SF community continues its streak of putting out major award news on holidays and weekends.

Is there not a single competent publicist in all of SF?


John Scalzi said...

In the case of the Nebulas, SFWA is required by our bylaws to release the award ballot on or by February 20. It was not practical to release the ballot earlier than this because we needed to notify all the winners. SFWA's publicist was obliged to work around contraints not of her own making (and indeed constraints which would take a vote of the SFWA membership to change); it is neither fair nor accurate to impugn her competence on this basis.

Our publicist is Jaym Gates, and through her efforts and those working with her, the Nebula Award nomination slate was covered by,, Boing Boing, Locus, and the Los Angeles Times as well as several other media outlets, meaning that the news reached hundreds of thousands of people inside the community and outside of it as well. And of course the release was picked up or linked to by number blogs, Facebook pages and Twitter updates.

I would also note that February 20th was also the date that the Audio Publishers Association chose to release its nominee list for the Audies. It appears to be a popular day for the release of nomination slates. As holidays go, perhaps President's Day (celebrated on a Monday, when many people are at work and Internet traffic is at normal or near-normal levels) may not be on the level of, say, Easter, in terms of Holiday PR Black Holes.

I know you enjoy your snark (I'm a fan of snark myself), but I hope in this case you might consider reeling it back. Ms. Gates and those who worked with her are not only competent in their work but in fact did an excellent job given the requirements they had to work within. You do yourself no favors trying to jab your thumb in our publicist's eye.

Andrew Wheeler said...

John: It's quite true that even the best publicist in the world can't make her client be reasonable or smart, so I'll happily rescind that particular characterization and replace it where it better fits.

However, since this is the second major piece of SFWA news smuggled out in a plain brown paper bag on the Monday of a three-day weekend recently -- and since the winners of the Nebulas will, by necessity, have to be announced in the middle of a weekend, as they always are -- I do wonder if the current system is really the most efficient and useful way to operate.

Though I'll accept your stipulation that, as far as national holidays go, Presidents' Day is not one of the biggest ones.

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