When in Baltimore in May, I put in a good word for Hambone’s book at the Poe Museum and the lady gave me a brochure to show Ham about submitting his book towards the winning of an award which could lead, eventually, to entry on the NY Times best-seller list. At least in my imagination. I took some mental credit (admittedly a tad premature) for being the conduit to Ham's fame and riches, but then delusions of grandeur keep me going.
So I eagerly relayed the contest particulars to him and he followed through...partially.
Ham o' Bone loves to error on the side of the niggardly and in this case committed a boner (thus putting the ‘bone’ in ‘Hambone’) by failing to pay a modest $25 entry fee for a submission on his artful novel And Poe Said, available wherever fine books are sold. He had gone through the laborious entry process, submitting a sample and such, but then got to the rude news that there was a payment to be made.
It does seem like the committee should’ve said upfront there was an entrance fee, which smacks of the sort of scam where you enter your poetry in anthology by paying a hefty fee. On the other hand, $25 is not an onerous fee and no one is getting rich off it.
Bone got lots of texts, emails, and voice mails today as the nominees were to be announced and apparently they just discovered his fee was not paid. He replied, Marianne Williamson style, that he romantically believes a book will find its reader absent the grubby dollar. (Now I don’t disagree that books have an uncanny God-directed way of landing where needed, but at the same time I’m not above allotting an advertising budget for a book.). But it was as though paying an entry fee was an insult to the labor that went into the book, a stain upon its reputation.
It looks by all appearances that they want him to be included but are struggling with the fairness of allowing someone in who did not pay the fee everyone else did. It speaks well of the book’s chances, I think, that they’re even struggling over that. (He eventually offered to pay, but apparently paying after the fact is ethically challenging.) By the end of the day they promised to let them know their decision... (to be continued)
Update: no nomination.