The Cybils folks announced the short lists for four categories yesterday. I was particularly interested in the Science Fiction & Fantasy Finalists, since I served on that panel last year. Notice that panel did two lists, one for YA and one for elementary/middle grade. This makes a great deal of sense given that science fiction and fantasy cover all those ages yet you probably shouldn't be trying to compare a book for eight year olds to a book for sixteen year olds. Plus it means the panel could bring twice the number of books to our attention.
Another really positive thing about the Cybils: No entry fees. I'm hearing about more and more awards that require entry fees, some of them quite hefty. Before Christmas I heard about one that required a $175 entry fee. The National Book Awards only ask for $125, for crying out loud. And that's the National Book Award.
Hefty entry fees have got to narrow the field. With the Cybils, the field is wide open. One more good thing that can be said about Cybilization.
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