The Board of Trustees of the Horror Writers Association is pleased to announce that the 2010 Silver Hammer Award is being awarded to Angel Leigh McCoy. The Hammer Award is given periodically to an HWA volunteer who has done a truly significant amount of work for our organization, often unsung and behind the scenes. It was instituted in 1996 and is decided by a vote of HWA’s Board of Trustees.
The award is so named because it represents the careful, steady, continuous work of building HWA’s “house”—the many institutional systems that keep the organization functioning on a day-to-day basis. The award itself is a chrome-plated hammer with an engraved plaque on the handle. The chrome hammer is also a satisfying allusion to The Beatles’ song, “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer,” a miniature horror story in itself.
Angel McCoy currently oversees HWA’s Dark Whispers blog, which promotes members’ books to hundreds of librarians, booksellers, and readers; under Angel’s management, the blog has been redesigned to include a Twitter feed, making it even more popular and timely. Angel also built and oversees HWA’s Wiki, on which members can promote their accomplishments and their books, and she works behind the scenes with HWA’s web team to ensure that the organization’s massive website is as up-to-date and streamlined as possible.
Past winners of the Silver Hammer Award include Lawrence Watt-Evans, Sèphera Girón, Kathy Ptacek, Robert Weinberg, and Douglas Winter.
I’d like to take this opportunity to espouse the benefits of volunteering for an organization in your field. Through the course of my work at the HWA, I’ve made so many contacts and friends, and have felt so much more involved than I ever would have if I hadn’t volunteered. I sincerely cannot express enough how it helps to integrate you with the other people in your field.
You don’t have to do much or take on more than you can handle, but whatever you do, you need to approach it with the same professionalism you’d use when approaching an agent or publisher. Reliability and efficiency will not only be rewarded, they’ll be noticed. For writers, being noticed is invaluable.
So, choose your group of peers, the organization that best fits your career plans, and volunteer. Give it time and due diligence. You’ll be amazed at what doors it opens for you.
I’m grateful to the HWA for this award. It came as a complete surprise. I am honored that they have chosen to recognize my contribution to the org.