Nominating a book is super easy and super fast. Any reader can nominate a book as long as the reader is at least twelve years old and doesn’t have a financial interest in the book (i.e., you’re not the author, publisher, agent, or author’s husband/wife/kids). To fill out the nominating form you just need the title, author, and publisher (if you can’t remember the publisher, you can always look it up on Amazon or Goodreads).
Everyone will have different criteria for which books they choose to nominate for a Whitney Award. For me, I’ll tell you what my criteria isn’t—it isn’t “I absolutely loved this book!” Maybe I did love the book and that’s a great reason to nominate, but my criteria is more along the lines of “I think this book would be a worthy contender in (genre category).” I’ve read a lot of Whitney finalists in the past, so am familiar with a lot of what makes the finals and/or wins. If I feel a book is a strong contender given what I’ve read in the past, then I’m comfortable nominating it (and I kinda really enjoy nominating books, so I’m happy when I read one that I feel is a strong contender).
I’ve even been known to nominate a book that I heartily disliked. Why? Because the author bribed me? Nope. Even though I don't care for the story and the main character bugged me, I can see that this is a well-written book and one that will appeal to fans of the genre. It was a worthy contender.
Nominations are due December 31st, and the committee will be happy to get nominations are early as possible (i.e. given a choice, it’s better not to wait until December 30th and then nominate all the books you’ve read this year). Each genre category has a panel of judges, and when a nominee becomes official (after five nominations), the judges will need to read the book. So it’s nice if they can spread that reading out over many months instead of getting a ton of nominations in the last week.
Have you nominated any books for Whitney Awards this year? What are your criteria? Do you nominate only your absolute favorites or do you nominate more widely?