Balloting began Tuesday in the Goodreads Choice Awards 2012; before the day was half over, more than 37,000 votes had been cast.
Members of the free social reading site Goodreads can vote for 15 books in 20 categories. Those categories are different than most literary awards, and get highly specific. For example, a fantasy fan can vote for books in three separate categories: Fantasy, Paranormal Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy.
And that doesn't include Horror, or Science Fiction, or Romance, each of which is fantastic in its own way.
Another unique aspect of the Goodreads Readers Choice Awards is the inclusion of write-in candidates. In the first round of voting, which continues through Nov. 10, members can nominate books to be included in the awards as write-in candidates; five in each category will be added to the group of official nominees, bringing the total to 20.
The process by which a book becomes a write-in candidate involves using Goodreads built-in ratings system. It's a little complicated, so here is the official description of how the process works:
"We analyze statistics from the 170 million books added, rated, and reviewed on the site in 2012 and nominate based on a book’s number of ratings and average rating. Opening round official nominees must have an average rating of 3.50 or higher. Write-in votes may be cast for eligible books with any average rating, and write-in votes will be weighted by the book’s number of ratings to determine the top five books to be added as official nominees in the Semifinal Round. A book may be nominated in no more than one genre category, but can also be nominated in the Goodreads Author category. Only one book in a series may be nominated per category. An author may receive multiple nominations within a single category if he or she has more than one eligible series or more than one eligible stand-alone book."
This is the fourth year Goodreads has presented its awards. Previous winnners include Steig Larsson (twice), Kathryn Stockett's "The Help," Haruki Murakmi's "1Q84," Walter Isaacson's biography "Steve Jobs," Charlaine Harris (in two categories) and two-time winner Suzanne Collins, whose "Mockingjay" was named the favorite book of 2010.
There is no ceremony for the authors; the prize for these awards is limited to online glory. Winners will be announced Dec. 4.
[For the record, noon Oct. 31: An earlier version of this post referred to the awards program as the Goodreads 2012 Readers Choice Awards. They are known as the Goodreads Choice Awards 2012. The post also did not make it clear that the Goodreads ratings system is only one factor used in selecting write-in candidates after they have been nominated.]