The results of the 2016 Rainbow Awards are out. My Facebook timeline is pretty much rainbow coloured right now–a sea of excited winners, congratulations, excitement and many people congratulating themselves on having discovered new books to read! I am as excited as anyone else–Thorns and Fangs got third place in Best Bisexual Paranormal and Historical, and tenth-joint runner up in Best Bisexual Novel.
I remember last year when the news of the Rainbow Award finalists broke. It was the first I’d heard of them, and I saw at once that 1. competition was fierce, and 2. I’d missed the submission date. When the winners were announced in December, I felt wistful–like I was at a party where everyone else was having a great time and I was too shy to speak to anyone. I looked at the authors who’d won and their books and decided that could never be me.
The fact that one year later, it is me is blowing my mind a little bit. As is the scale of the event.
In September, I took on the volunteer role of running the Great Beginnings Contest for Romance Writers New Zealand. As contest manager, I had to receive submissions, check that they met the contest standards, answer entrants questions, find judges, send out entries, collect the judges scores. It was a huge challenge at times. We had exactly fifty entries and it really did keep me busy. But then, at the end, some of the entrants wrote feedback for their judges, thanking them for their hard work and the insight offered by their critique. Although they hadn’t won, they thought the feedback they’d got was as useful as any prize and were determined to act on it and make their stories even better. Those moments made all of the effort worth while. And, cemented for me the fact that I would never have the guts to enter the contest myself. A good thing that NineStar didn’t leave entering Thorns and Fangs into the Rainbow Awards up to me!
This year the Rainbow Awards had over 420 novels entered, each of which was read by at least three judges, more if the book made it to the final stages. That is an insane amount of work for one person to coordinate. I’m pretty sure that there were months in 2016 where working on the Awards was the only thing Elisa did in her spare time–to say nothing of the judges’ efforts. And what makes the Rainbow Awards even cooler is that entry into them is a donation to a charity. All in all, $1400 was raised for LGBT charities.
I am incredibly pleased to be a part of the Rainbow Awards this year, and really pleased to see so many friends also receiving awards! Kaje Harper, Tal Bauer, Ana J. Phoenix, Atom Yang, Jeff Adams, to name just a few. I also know I’m not the only new author getting recognition. One of the aims of the Rainbow Awards is to recognise and encourage new authors by making entry into the contest open to all. To any authors out there who might be looking at the results today wistfully thinking, ‘that could never be me,’ I hope my ramblings have encouraged you to try for next years entry!