To read the Program Overview, click here.
Who can nominate a book for the Whitney Awards?
Anyone can nominate a book, as long as:
- The nominator is at least twelve years old.
- The nominator of a book is not the author of the book, the publisher of the book, a publisher’s employee, or anyone else with a monetary interest in the book.
Can I nominate a non-fiction book for the Whitney Awards?
No. The Whitney Awards are given for novel-length fiction only. (“Novel length” is defined as at least 50,000 words. For the Best Youth Fiction category, a book must be at least 20,000 words.)
Does a novel have to be published by an LDS publisher in order to be eligible?
No. The author must be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but the novel does not have to be published in the LDS market.
Are self-published or e-published books eligible for the Whitneys?
Can I nominate the same novel multiple times?
No. You can nominate a novel only once.
Can I nominate more than one novel?
Yes. You can nominate as many novels as you feel are deserving of the awards.
I’d like to nominate a book for the 2014 Whitney Awards, but it was released in December 2013. Is the book still eligible for the 2014 awards?
No. Eligible books must be released between January 1st and December 31st of the award year, unless the publisher has done the print run in December and shipped to stores in January. The first day a book is for sale is considered the official release date.
If an author has published short stories before publishing a novel, would his/her novel still be eligible for the Best Novel by a New Author award?
If an author has self-published or e-published a novel in the past, would his/her first traditionally published novel be eligible for the Best Novel by a New Author award?
No. An eligible new novel must be the first novel-length work published by the author in any format. “Novel-length” is defined as any work greater than 50,000 words. (Or greater than 20,000 words for the Youth Fiction categories.)
Does an author have to be a member of LDStorymakers in order for his/her books to be eligible for the Whitneys?
No. Authors do not need to be affiliated with LDStorymakers.
What is the Whitney Awards Committee?
The Awards Committee is a group of seven industry professionals. The committee president is appointed by the LDStorymakers Executive Committee. The committee president appoints the members of the committee, which must include at least three members of LDStorymakers.
Any book written or published by a member of the Whitney Committee is not eligible for the awards on any year that the member serves on the committee.
Why aren’t self-published authors allowed to vote in the Whitney Academy?
This rule exists for the convenience of the Whitney Committee. We know many high-quality self-published books are published each year. In fact, many of them have been finalists, and we’ve had self-published winners as well! But the internet and vanity publishers have made it possible for anyone to quickly and easily publish a book. And, unfortunately, the Whitney Committee just doesn’t have time to evaluate every potential academy member.
That said, if a self-published novel is nominated and becomes a finalist, the author will automatically be given a permanent vote on the academy.
When is the deadline for nominating a novel?
Books must be nominated by midnight, December 31st of the awards year.
What if I think I’ve been nominated but haven’t heard from the Whitney Committee?
Please contact the committee to inquire. The committee highly encourages all authors to have a contact email on their website, blog, or other place that will come up in a google search. We need to be able to contact you, either directly, or through your publicist.
Why aren’t plays/picture books/poetry/other types of literature included in the Whitney Awards?
The Whitney Awards program was created specifically to acknowledge quality novels written by Latter-day Saints. The structure of the program doesn’t lend itself to other types of literature, including short stories, novellas, plays, poetry, picture books, nonfiction, and so on. In addition, we lack the time and expertise to incorporate other kinds of literature into the program, while we acknowledge that great art is produced each year in those areas.
Will more genres categories be added?
Possibly, but if so, rarely and slowly. The Whitney Awards began with five genre categories and two overall awards and has expanded over the years to eight genre categories and three overall awards as the need has arisen. Additional growth is unlikely to happen soon. A new category adds significant expense in time and resources for the Whitney Awards committee, the judges, and the entire voting academy. To justify a new genre category, we must take many factors into consideration, including whether a possible category has had and will continue to have enough books published every year to remain competitive. We watch the industry to determine if and when additional categories are needed, and we weigh such decisions carefully. If new genres are ever added, they will be for novels; we have no intention now, or in the foreseeable future, of adding short stories, novellas, poetry, plays, picture books, nonfiction, or other categories that aren’t novels.
How will the winners be chosen?
Any novel which receives five or more nominations will be placed considered an Official Nominee. Those Official Nominees will be evaluated by a panel of genre judges. Those judges will rate each novel. When a judge finds a book they consider exceptional, they will notify the Whitney Committee, who will review it for the two overall awards (Best Novel of the Year and Best Novel by a New Author). The five books in each category that receive the hightest ratings will be Whitney Finalists, and placed on the final ballot.
Final Ballots will be sent to all members of the Awards Academy. The Awards Academy consists of:
- All eligible LDS authors
- Eligible LDS publishing companies. For a company to be eligible, it must have published at least three LDS novels by at least two different authors during the awards year.
- Other professionals in the industry, as decided by the Whitney Awards Committee.
Is it possible for there to be no winner in a particular category?
Yes. “No Award” is a voting option in each category.
What if two books in a category receive the same number of votes?
In the event of a tie, all tied finalists will receive the Whitney Award.
When will the Whitney Awards be announced?
The Awards Banquet will be on the last evening of the LDStorymakers Annual Writers Conference, held in the spring.