Whitney Awards FAQ
What are the Whitney Awards?
The Whitney Awards were founded in 2007 by Robison Wells with the object of honoring the best fiction written each year by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. A three-tiered system-with input from readers, judges, and a large academy of publishing professionals-is used to determine finalists and winners.
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 youth categories, a book must be at least 20,000 words).
Does a novel have to be published by an LDS publisher 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 market aimed at members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Does an author have to be a Storymakers Guild member for their books to be eligible for the Whitneys?
Can I nominate more than one novel?
Yes. You can nominate as many novels as you feel are deserving. There’s no limit to how many you can nominate.
Can I nominate the same novel multiple times?
No. You can nominate a novel only once.
Are self-published or e-published books eligible for the Whitneys?
Can I nominate a book before its publication date?
Yes, as long as it is published within the award year eligibility dates. If the publication date changes and the book is published after the eligibility dates for the award year, the nominations will automatically carry over to the next award year.
If an author has published short stories before publishing a novel, would their novel still be eligible for the Best Novel by a New Author award?
Yes. Only a novel-length publication counts as the first novel by a new author.
What is the Whitney Awards Committee?
The Awards Committee is a group of nine industry professionals. The committee president is appointed by the Storymakers, Inc. Board of Directors. The committee president appoints the members of the committee.
Any book written or published by a member of the Whitney Awards Committee is not eligible for the Awards during the awards year that the member serves on the committee.
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.
How will the winners be chosen?
Any eligible novel which receives five or more nominations will be considered an Official Nominee. Those Official Nominees will be evaluated by a panel of genre judges. Those judges will rank each novel. The five books in each category that receive the highest rankings will be Whitney Finalists, and be placed on the final ballot.
Final Ballots will be sent to all members of the Awards Academy.
Is it possible for there to be no winner in a particular category?
Yes. “No Award” is a voting option in each category.
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.
What rubrics or content guidelines are followed in the determination of finalists and winners?
We do not give a rubric to our judges or to the Academy because this is a reader based award rather than a literary one. We choose judges who are sophisticated and critical readers and allow them to make their own judgments on writing quality and content. Doing otherwise (screening nominees based on content and writing quality) would be based on subjective reasoning, therefore we have only required that the author be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. All other factors such as content, language, and craft are to be judged by each individual person voting in the award process.
What are the dates of eligibility for this award year?
See the Nominations page for the current year’s dates
When is the deadline for nominating a novel?
Books must be nominated by midnight Mountain Time October 31st of the awards year.
What if I think I’ve been nominated but haven’t heard from the Whitney Awards Committee?
Please contact the committee through the contact email on this website. The committee highly encourages all authors to have a contact email on their website, blog, or other location that will come up in a Google search. We need to be able to contact you either directly or through your publicist.
Will more genre categories be added?
The Whitney Awards began with five genre categories and two overall awards and has expanded since then. 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.
If an author has self-published a novel previously, would their 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 categories.)
Who comprises the Awards Academy?
The Awards Academy consists of:
- All eligible authors who are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
- 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 determined by the Whitney Awards Committee.
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.
What is the Awards Gala?
The Whitney Awards Gala is a catered dinner and awards ceremony honoring the winners of the Whitney Awards, including Lifetime Achievement and Outstanding Achievement winners. More information about the gala can be found here.
When will the Whitney Awards be announced?
The winners of the Whitney Awards are announced at an Awards Gala held during the Storymakers Conference the spring after the award year.