Thursday, January 5, 2012

A Word About the Tournament of Heroines

First off, we just want to say thank you to everyone who has been involved with the tournament from the voters, to the advocates, to the teams, to the authors.  This has been our 2nd hugely successful tournament, and we are looking forward to many more in the future.  We are still a new blog, in fact we will not even be a year old until the end of Feburary, so when we think about the success of these tournaments we are still in shock!  One of the most satisfying things we have done on the blog this year is our YA Crush Tournament and the Tournament of Heroines.  One of the reasons these tournaments have been so rewarding and successful is the genuine display of sportmanship, love, and support from the authors, their advocates and the voters.

One of the unique things about these tournaments is the level of author involvment.  Participants love the fact that they are able to talk to their favorite authors (sometimes even characters from the books), have all night twitter parties, make plans to actually meet their favorite author, receive ARCs, novellas and signed books all for participating in one of the tournaments.  There have also been large amounts of money donated to worthy literature related charities that further our love of literature to people that don't even know about these tournaments.  All in all, people have had fun, been introduced to new books, and charities have benefitted.

At the beginning of every tournament, we specifically ask every advocate to contact the author of the book in which that heroine is featured. Most of the authors respond, but as we all know, it is often the case that the most famous and successful authors are simply overwhelmed by floods of requests and can't participate. In a way, that functions as a sort of control to keep the contest unexpected. Most internet tournaments like this become less tournaments and more issues of "Which character have you heard of?" which means that huge series like Harry Potter and Twilight simply crush the competition in every instance. Author involvement, advocacy and incentives are part of what we do to keep that from happening, and to keep the tournament a place where you can go to hear about books and authors you might otherwise not encounter. 

While we can't control everyone's behavior, we would like to say that character bashing, author bashing, and sending negative or hateful messages to authors, advocates, or anyone else in the tournament, who are only abiding by the rules set forth in the tournament, is antiethical to the spirit of the tournament.  And unfortunately, there has been too much of this going around during this tourney. Many peoples feelings have been hurt, all for something that was meant to be celebratory and fun. Because of a few people's actions, there have been times where we have considered canceling or discontinuing the tournaments altogether.  We would hate to do that, but to protect our authors, our advocates, our readers, and ourselves, it has definitely crossed our minds.   

Remember, there is no cash prize here. No one truly gains anything beyond the entertainment that the matches provide, the camaraderie that rises up during the matches, and the new book recommendations we all gain by reading about unfamiliar characters. This is about celebrating books and love of books. Not winning. Or losing. Without the unique aspects of author involvement and character advocates, this tournament would be nothing more than a series of polls, which would most definitely be less entertaining, inspire far less camaraderie, and showcase only the most well known books. 

We appreciate that the majority of people have been sincere in entering into the spirit of fun. Truly, your enthusiasm for these characters has made this an unforgettable experience. We also know that as book people, we tend to love these characters deeply, as if they were our flesh and blood friends. And just like friends, it hurts to see them lose. But please also keep in mind, that once a character wins a tournament, they are ineligible to compete in that same tournament again.  So, if your favorite character didn't win, then they will always have another shot! We are all about spreading the love! 

With all that being said, please let's celebrate these characters, their fearsome advocates, and their amazing authors. We have every intention of continuing to host tournaments, provided that they always serve their original intention-- celebration. So please, help us keep having these amazingly fun tournaments that have brought all of us together in the first place!