I am a sentimental fool. I just am. I refuse to cry at funerals because I think I should be all stoic, even when my heart is breaking. But when I hear the words "thank you," I start to sob all over myself. It's embarrassing. Who does this to be thanked? Not me. I do it to fill up the free months between July and March.
Anyway. I asked my organizers for feedback from around the Internet from authors and publishers as they got the news they'd made the Cybils finals. I wasn't even through the third or fourth tweet when the waterworks began.
Take this blog post from the only author of a born-digital, self-published book to ever make our shortlists:
There's something about this whole thing that makes me feel rather giddy and punky—like I'm getting away with something I'm not supposed to. No matter what happens, I feel like Angelfall has already won just by making it to the finalist list against all odds. —Susan Ee, Angelfall
Consider that accepting such titles was a total experiment for us this year and you realize just how long Susan's odds were. I like that Cybils plays against type and considers books that wouldn't get a second glance elsewhere.
Many posts and tweets were like Carmen Deedy's, who thanked us, the person who nominated The Cheshire Cheese Cat (in tween fantasy) and even one of her reviewers.
The folks in book publishing weren't back from their holiday break when we posted our finalists, so Peachtree Publishing didn't tweet their good news until Wednesday that they'd nabbed three spots on the short lists. Not to be outdone, Little, Brown squeezed into a single tweet the titles of their four finalists.
My favorite tweets are the ones that clearly indicate the author had no idea to expect a big surprise to start his or her new year. Something like this one from Stephanie Perkins:
I'm thrilled to wake up in the new year and discover that ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS is a Cybils award finalist!
Lisa Yee's another one we caught napping on New Year's Day. She calls her blog post "The Cybils, the Dreamers and Me" which Muppet lovers like me instantly recognize. Okay, so Kermit sang about rainbows. It's pretty much the same thing, right?
Then there's Mo Willems, who seems pleased no matter how many times he finds himself on our short lists:
Hey, looks like Elephant & Piggie's I BROKE MY TRUNK! is a Cybils' finalist: http://ow.ly/8fCXL Thanks web-savvy-kids-books-enthusiasts!
What's nice about Mo's support is that he really seems to get us. Web savvy. Check. Book enthusiasts. Check!
I just started reading Holly Black's Red Glove as a Round 2 judge and was pleased to see her gracious reaction, typical of many authors:
I am so excited to be on the Cybils shortlist for sf/f, especially because I LOVE all the other books on it.
Now, if that doesn't make an overlord all ferklempt, what does? There are many, many more of course: Geoff Herbach tweeted he was "psyched" and surprised to see his Stupid Fast shortlisted in YA fiction. Rae Carson says "holy wow" and thanks panelists for voting for Girl of Fire and Thorns in teen fantasy.
So. Now you know why we all do this. We do it for kids and teens and their teachers, librarians and parents. We don't necessarily do it for the authors, since there were more than 1,200 of them this year and we can't make them all happy. But when we do … wow. What fun.
And who doesn't love a good cry?