written by David Steffen
The Submission Grinder won an Ignyte Award in the category Community Award for Outstanding Efforts in Service of Inclusion and Equitable Practice in Genre. If you haven’t heard about the Ignyte Award, they are run by FIYAH magazine with the mission “The Ignytes seek to celebrate the vibrancy and diversity of the current and future landscapes of science fiction, fantasy, and horror by recognizing incredible feats in storytelling and outstanding efforts toward inclusivity of the genre.”
The full Ignyte Award ceremony is posted on YouTube here, go check it out–the ceremony is very short and to the point, a little over an hour. I also wanted to share the acceptance speech, as follows:
When the first Ignyte Awards were announced they included this statement: “In the tradition of FIYAH, when we see a need going unfulfilled, we correct it. To that effect, we are thrilled to announce the creation of the Ignyte Awards series…”
Those words spoke to me because they felt familiar. With The Submission Grinder, with The Long List Anthology, they both started with a similar idea. People were saying “Someone should do something.” And I said “Maybe that someone could be me.” I wrote an email to Anthony W. Sullivan and said “This might be something we could do together.” He replied and said “I’ve already started.” It was only about 3 weeks later that we officially launched.
I am humbled to be here accepting this Community award from the fine folks that run the Ignyte Award and Fiyah who have made a huge impact in the field in just a few years. I never expected to be nominated for any award, let alone to win one.
I’m no one special. There happened to be an ideal time for this kind of project to start, and I was available at that time. I recognize that my availability was in part due to the level of my personal privilege, so I wanted to try to use that to help people if I could. It could have failed. From the beginning we stated that we would not require payment to use the site. A required subscription would mean that writers with tight budgets would have to make hard choices. A writer needs to be able to easily find publishers to submit their work, or they are at a huge disadvantage to their peers. Their voices are no less important to the world because of their level of income. So, Maybe no one would donate to the site. Maybe we would get too busy. Maybe Maybe Maybe. There are always so many Maybes.
We had early naysayers who said “it won’t last”. We didn’t waste our time arguing with them. What would the point be? Only longevity can prove longevity and now the site has been running for almost 10 years.
I do know that I wouldn’t have been able to do it by myself. Thank you to my family. Thank you to everyone who has been involved in the project. Anthony W. Sullivan, who was on the same wavelength at the same time. Andrew Rucker Jones, who had been volunteering as a Market Checker, now documenting and revising our policies and editing market listings directly. Our volunteer Market Checkers and everyone who has sent in a market suggestion or other note. All the cool people at Codex, and the Dire Turtles Writing Group, and on Twitter. We do pretty much zero advertising, so word of mouth is everything.
And also to the amazing Diabolical Plots crew who help everything over there run smoothly.
For anyone who looks out at the world and sees all the problems everywhere it is hard not to feel overwhelmed and say “I can’t make everything better”. No you can’t. But you can make something better. Maybe you think it’s too small to matter. But that helps build a community, one block at a time. And you might be surprised at how your efforts can snowball, as other people see what you’re doing, and volunteer to help. Let them help!
I would encourage all of you out there, when you see an unfulfilled need to ask yourself “Is this something I could help with?” Maybe it won’t work out. But Maybe it will.
Thank you to everyone who runs the award, and everyone who voted. We are deeply grateful.