Dear HWA

…your Stoker Award Final Ballot is stupid. I’m not saying that because I don’t agree with the finalists (although I don’t but I can’t complain about that because I was too busy having a nervous breakdown, fleeing the state, and piecing together the aftermath to think about nominations), but because the method of voting is stupid.

For those of you who are not Active members of the HWA (Horror Writers Association), let me explain: there are three ways to vote for the Stoker Awards. You may:

1.) Choose a first and second place in every category

2.) Abstain from voting in the category

3.) Let the HWA folks know that you don’t believe any work in this category deserves a vote (which smells a lot like option B, but whatever. It’s an option.)

The option you DON’T have is to decide to only vote for ONE item in each category. That’s right — even if you have decided you have a clear winner, you still have to go with a second place pick. This is ridiculous and I’ll tell you why. Because if 13 people pick Jane Doe for 1st place and 13 people pick Stephen King for 1st place and 26 people pick John Schlocky Spamsalot for 2nd place because they recognize his name, guess who has a REALLY good chance of walking away with an award? Have you folks not taken statistics? Look it up.

I’ve notified the HWA. We’ll see if they decide to fix this particular glitch. In the meantime, I honestly can’t place my vote. And that’s a shame.