Best NEW writer?
Mur isn't a new writer. She has been a writer for a long time. Her "new" status is a statement I don't like very much. It implies that, until coming to the attention of SFWA and the voting public, she wasn't a real writer. All the great stuff she did, all the wonderful stories she wrote and published didn't quite count. I am happy for her, and for any deserving recipient of the Campbell Award. Hell, even though I don't consider myself a new writer, I'd not turn my nose up at being so honored! It simply seems to be a way, perhaps (one can hope) an unconscious one, to keep the lines between who is and who isn't a "real" writer strictly defined.
On the one hand, I do understand that lines must exist for more reasons than I will go into here; but on the other it feels like those lines are there to keep the bigs big, and the smalls small. "You are not one of us and won't be until we say so." Gads--middle school all over again. Yet, crossing that line is a goal for many writers.
The fact is, SFWA is SFWA and has existed as it is for a very long time. Big press is big press. Small press is small press. Self-publishing is self-publishing. They are separate entities that, while there are places they overlap, are distinctly separate. IMO, one of the places they overlap is quality--I have read a good many really wonderful big, small, and self published books in the last year or so. I've also read quite a few stinkers, too. The good and the bad don't seem to be weighted towards any one venue of publishing.
Eric and I are always playing with the idea of starting a small press equivalent to SFWA, awards and everything. I have to be honest, I would love to be the one who starts it all. I could be the Robert Redford of independent publishing! I truly do love small press. My passion for it is inconceivable to some. I do not aspire to big-pressdom. Is it in my future? Maybe. I never say never--except when it comes to this: I will never turn my back on small press. Ever.
Everyone writes with different aspirations, goals, hopes, dreams. There is no right or wrong here. I'd love to know your thoughts.