There are a number of awards for excellence in the mystery field--the Edgar, the Anthony, the Macavity, the Derringer, the Agatha, to name some of the most important.
The Shamus, given by the Private Eye Writers of America is particularly important to me. When I was starting out writing mysteries, I discovered the Shamus Award. I looked at the list of past winners and nominees and realized that they represented the authors and stories I read most. Until then, I had not thought of writing private eye stories. But, I believe writers should write what they like to read, so I set out to write them myself. I also set myself a goal of winning a Shamus.
Winning a Shamus is a high bar, a very high bar, indeed. The list of winners include Dennis Lehane, S. J. Rozan, Bill Pronzini, Lawrence Block, hell, just about every mystery writer worth reading. But, if you don't try for the high bar, you will never know what you can accomplish.
The PWA just announced that it is accepting submissions for the award for the 2010 Shamus Awards for works published in 2009. The deadline for submission is June 20, 2010. If you have a PI novel or short story published in 2009 contact the awards chair, Ted Fitzgerald with the contact information for your editor or publicist. Ted's email address is Tecfitz@msn.com.
One of our own Makeminemystery bloggers, Austin Camacho, is a judge this year in the Best First P.I. Novel category.