Awarded annually, the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer is given to a writer just starting out their career. While some of these authors go on to huge careers, such as Orson Scott Card, John Scalzi, or Naomi Novik, discovering newcomers as their career is just starting can be challenging, so one author has collected the stories of this year’s eligible authors into a single, 1,200-page anthology.
The Event Horizon 2017 anthology consists of two volumes containing nearly 400,000 words of fiction from 75 different authors. While there have been similar books produced in past years, the publisher who has typically handled the project decided not to go forward with a book this year. As a result, Nebula Award-nominated author Jake Kerr decided to take up the challenge of putting the book together himself.
Kerr explains that he did very little promotion to attract submissions for the project, and worked through an online writers workshop called Codex. “The young authors on Codex went out and spread the word,” he says. “It was great: in a single week, I had a ton of submissions.” Only certain authors are eligible for this award: those who have sold their first professional story within the last two years.
After collecting stories through an online submission form, Kerr says that he put the anthology together over a weekend using Vellum, an ebook creator. He also created a two-volume physical edition, which he prints through CreateSpace. “I knew it wouldn't look like a ‘bookstore’ book, but I also knew it would look nice and something a young author would be proud to have: their first paperback book with their name in it.”
Kerr notes that he did have to take some shortcuts: there’s no table of contents, for example, but he is pleased with the final result. “The whole goal was for some young writer, to have a book that they would be proud to be in, and to be able to share with friends and family.” Kerr notes that he isn’t making any money off of the project: each volume is sold at cost, at $10 each, and the ebook edition is free. Both editions will only be available through July 15th, when the voting period for the award closes.
This year’s John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer will be awarded during this year’s WorldCon 75, held between August 9th through the 13th in Helsinki, Finland.