I'm also a couple days late for Barbara Samuel's RITAs conversations on RTB. I decided to bring my comment here...
I’m coming to this discussion a little late, but I do have a few thoughts.
I’m never overly impressed by the Oscars, I watch for the glam, not the winners, because I see it not as validation from the viewers, but validation from their contemporaries and peers. The Ritas are the same thing, validations from within your industry, we may find it interesting and we may pick up books from the list, but we as readers will always see it as not a readers choice, but a writers choice award.
I went over to RWA and took a quick look at the 2006 Finalists. This gives an interesting perspective as to what authors choose as “good”. Having read almost all of the books from both the historical categories I can honestly say some of them were the best and some were barely mediocre–-indistinguishable from anything else within the genre.
There were also authors in other categories that I’ve read and wouldn’t pick up another one of their books if you paid me. Perhaps that’s a bit harsh but there you have this reader's view.
Of course these are just my opinions, but I’m curious what other readers think when they look at the list of finalists in all the categories.
I’m also confused about the “Novels With Strong Romantic Elements” Category. What qualifies and what doesn’t? I considered Blue Smoke a romance and there were several books I expected to see but didn’t–have to assume they didn’t make the cut?
Wouldn't it be interesting to see why they chose what they did? Did they review from a reader or writer POV or a combination?