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Awards FAQ

Lammys Terms:

Submissions – Any title submitted in any category by the author or their publisher/representative. Any submitted title is technically considered a “nominee.”

Longlist – The Top 10 titles in each category as selected by the judges. This list is not made public, but functions as a benchmark in the judging process.

Shortlist – The Top 5 titles in each category, also referred to as the “finalists” for each category. The shortlist is what is announced in the spring of the award year, and these finalists receive comped access to the Lammy Award ceremony.

Special Prizes – These are sponsored cash prizes which are different from Lammy Awards.

What all is included in a Lammy Award?

Lammy Award winners are announced and receive their recognition at the annual award ceremony. They are then shipped a physical trophy and they or their publishers have the opportunity to purchase “Lambda Literary Award” stickers in physical and digital formats for copies of the award-winning title. Lammy Awards do not include a cash prize.

Is there a fee to submit titles to the Lammy Awards?

Yes. How much that fee is depends on who is doing the submitting. We use a tiered fee system which charges Big 4 publishers Penguin Random House, Hachette, Simon & Schuster, and HarperCollins a higher fee (as they can afford it), and small presses/individual authors submitting on their own behalf a lower fee. As of the 2022 award cycle, these fees were $75 and $65 per title, respectively.

How are the awards judged/who selects the winners?

Each category is judged by a panel of three judges selected primarily from Lambda’s extensive community of readers, authors, fellows, former finalists, and other stakeholders, provided they themselves do not have titles eligible during the award year. Judges and their categories are kept confidential unless they want to be named in the credits for the ceremony. We maintain a goal of selecting judges who share an affinity with the category they are judging as they are experts on their own representation. The judges are provided with a broad rubric for selecting their longlist titles, with factors including the title’s LGBTQ content, quality of writing, and artistic merit. Judges may also consider factors such as the presence of harmful representation or the impact the title or the author has had on the LGBTQ community. Judge panels are given autonomy in making their decisions, meaning that Lambda’s board and staff do not interfere or dictate the selection process. Titles provided for the longlist (top 10 titles, not publicized) are vetted to ensure they meet all technical criteria for eligibility (verified publication year, appropriate category and publishing avenue, etc) and any title found to not meet those requirements is disqualified. Finalist authors or their submitting representatives (publishers, editors) are notified of shortlist (top 5) placement in advance of the public announcement, to confirm details such as contributor names and whether or not they will be accepting the nomination.

When are submissions open?

Submissions for each award cycle open September-November for titles published in the same year. So for the 2023 Lammy Awards, submissions of works published in the 2022 calendar year are accepted September 2022-November 2022. Lambda’s Special Prizes (sponsored cash awards which are not Lammys) open January-February of the award year.

Help! My book doesn’t come out until after the submission deadline. Is it still eligible?

So your book comes out in December while our submissions close in November. You or your publisher should have a completed PDF or other digitally formatted copy of the title so close to your release date. Because all initial submissions are received electronically, you or your publisher may submit this digital file for consideration, provided the release date is on or before December 31st. If for some reason the release date is delayed until the following year, we will need to be notified to remove your title from contention, and it will be eligible for the next award cycle.

My book fits in multiple categories. Where do I put it?

We provide a breakdown of what each category considers here. But the line between Studies and Nonfiction categories for example can be pretty thin. It’s always a good practice to consider not just where your work fits, but where it may be most competitive. Studies, for example, is typically populated by academic texts or works published by universities. The difference between Fiction and Romance may just be the presence of an HEA (happily ever after). Use your best judgment, and if you change your mind the day after you send it in, send us an email and we’ll update the category for you. Just don’t change your mind too much.

This category existed last year. Where did it go?

Lammy categories have been fluid since their inception, responding to changes in community, culture, and the growth and expansion of queer identities. Categories are decided based primarily on submission volume for at least a couple of consecutive years. If a given category does not receive enough submissions to generate a longlist for multiple years, we may combine it with other complementary categories. Similarly, new categories may be added as the LGBTQ+ spectrum grows. We strive to be more inclusive in the categories we do have, with the understanding that each individual identity may not be published in a substantial enough volume to warrant their own individual categories. The Lammys currently host 24 categories, among the most of any literary award. The more categories we add, the more judges must be sought and supplied with honoraria, the more trophies must be awarded, and the longer the ceremony becomes. We hope that the occasional consolidation of categories isn’t seen as an erasure, but an expanded recognition of all the identities that make up Lambda’s community.

The “LGBTQ” categories don’t specifically include my lettered identity. Is it still eligible for a Lammy Award?

Absolutely. We would love to see more submissions featuring intersex, aro/ace, two-spirit, pansexual, and other representation. “LGBTQ” is not a perfect shorthand, but we hope you see yourself as part of our community and as entitled to our resources and platforms as any other.

Who won the Lammy Award for [this category] in [this year]?

In an effort to improve our record keeping and transparency, we’ve compiled a searchable database of all of our finalists since the awards’ inception in 1988. The database is also useful for tracking the evolution of Lammys categories and the prevalence of certain publishers over time.

I have a weirdly specific/probably not frequently asked question.

Send it to awards@lambdaliterary.org

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