The honourable mention conundrum

Something has been on my mind for quite some time. I know writers have fragile egos and all, and they claim credit where they can – publication, reprints, award nominations. It’s all part of our currency of reputation.

But I’m mystified by the value many writers place on Honourable Mentions in Year’s Best anthologies. Don’t get me wrong, I love it when I’ve received HMs in Ellen Datlow’s Year’s Best and make recommended reading lists like those in the Year’s Best Australian SF & F or on HorrorScope. It’s a nice bit of recognition and I’ve collected a fair few in the last four years.

However, I don’t understand why some writers seem so incredibly proud of an Honourable Mention when they should be aiming to have those said same stories actually reprinted in those year’s best anthologies.

Take those HMs, if and when they happen, with good grace and as an acknowledgement that you’re on the right track, but don’t see them as the be-all and end-all. Aim high, guys, and don’t settle for being part of a list at the back of the book. Don’t celebrate your bronze and silver when you could be going for gold!

This is one of the reason why Angela and I didn’t have an HM list in Australian Dark Fantasy & Horror. Writers, make your stories outstanding and get those Year’s Best editors to sit up and take notice.

However, if I’ve somehow missed the point, feel free to stop by and explain it me.