One of the greatest privileges I've had as a bookseller so far is serving on the Pacific Northwest Bookseller awards committee. Please see the short list of finalists here. Note that 3 of the finalists visited Moscow for author events at BookPeople just in the last 3 months!
I didn't know what to expect but when the hundreds of nominated books began arriving at my house by the boxful I quickly realized into what I had gotten myself!
Whether self-published or published by a small or big press, each book had to go up against my own criteria: I looked for books that looked beautiful and felt good in my hand. I wanted, whenever possible, for the subject matter or point of view to be uniquely from the Pacific Northwest region. I gave a second look to books that have sold well, or that were extremely well written yet so far overlooked, and to those that called out to me to be read, because, frankly, sadly, it is impossible to completely read every book that is submitted for consideration.
I was tickled when books I had missed were pointed out to me by other committee members, and then turned out to be some of my favorites.
As the list was narrowed to the top 30 and then to the short list of 15, by each of us awarding points to the titles on a spreadsheet, I thought to myself, will I be proud to share this book? Is this author someone I want to encourage? Committee members probably asked themselves different questions - insuring a diverse list.
Choosing the winners feels, I suppose, like choosing which of your friends you love the best. Really, you love them all, for differing reasons, and you need them all in different ways.