BlogHer '11 Voices of the Year Submissions: Wide Open!

BlogHer Original Post

Voice of the Year GalaThe phrase "instant classic" is an oxymoron – after all, a classic is something whose excellence has stood the test of time. But it’s descriptive, and we know an instant classic when we see one. And the BlogHer tradition now known as Voices of the Year was an instant classic the moment the curtain closed on the first one three years ago.

Today we are launching the submissions process for the 2011 Voices of the Year (brought to you this year by HTC), and we hope that you will all go back and find your favorite posts you wrote or read since last year's conference and nominate them (note: you must be logged in to access the page). We also hope you will honor everyone's great work and check out the nominees. This year, we are even adding a People's Choice honoree in every category. So, give your favorite posts a thumbs up if you are so inclined.

What are these Voices of the Year you speak of?

Elisa, Jory and Lisa credit Eden Kennedy (aka Fussy) with the idea in the introductory post about the event, then called the Community Keynote,  back in July 2008. Eden, who knows a little bit about organizing large community writing efforts via NaBloPoMo, wanted to shine a light on great posts from the community, and give us a chance to experience in a group setting and "in real life" what we've otherwise only known in an isolated, virtual context: the singular give-and-take of a writer's gift and a community's response. The idea was inspired, and the execution of it, year after year, has become for many of us the highlight of a conference jam-packed with highs.

The posts folks read at Voices of the Year span the wide range our blogs do: they're deep, delightful, thought-provoking, heart-rending, side-splitting. People are not kidding when they suggest you bring hankies. The impact is powered by real connections people's writing is making – both with what they care about, and with the community of readers. Makes no difference who you are; any blogger can be a star at Voices of the Year. Which is we all totally love it. (Here's the list of 2008 Community Keynoters,  a round up of 2009's postslinks to 2010's VOTY posts and video of 2010 folks reading.)

Eden, BlogHer's co-founders and programming staff, and a number of past Voices of the Year who have been recruited to pay the honor forward, are ready to open the floodgates to your nominations.

Here's how it works:

The Nomination Process

All community members are invited to nominate their own work, or the work of others, and if you nominate someone else, we hope their contact information is easily found, or that you have it. There are five categories described below, and the submissions can be of work that is primarily textual, audio, video or visual. The nominated posts should be publicly accessible online and certain to remain so.

Go to this online form and tell us about it! (Log in first if you haven't already.) There, we'll ask for the post title, submitter's name, submitter's contact email, blogger's name (if different than submitter), blog name, post URL, category, and a description of the post. Please nominate individual writings or creations for one of the following five categories described below.

There will be 20 Voices of the Year per category, for a total of 100, and the big news is that one honoree in each category will be a People's Choice, determined by the number of thumbs up they receive!

Out of these 100 honorees, 3 from each category will be selected to present their work as part of the BlogHer '11 Voices of the Year Community Keynote. While you do not have to be attending BlogHer '11 to be a Voices of the Year honoree, you do indeed have to be a registered BlogHer attendee to be selected as a Community Keynote presenter.

In addition, please note: Previous Community Keynote/Voices of the Year presenters will not be eligible to be present again. That's a one-time lifetime honor!

HUMOR: You know who's really funny? You are. Submit your funniest posts or nominate the ones that made you laugh so hard you woke the baby / scared your co-workers / got kicked out of the coffee shop.

NICHE: This category is for writers who have cornered the market on something particular outside the big, mainstream blog "verticals". If you have a blog post that illuminates the unusual or the distinctive, this is the category for you! 

LIFE: We want to read essays about the joys, sorrows, challenges, and rewards of everyday life, told by distinctive voices.

VISUAL: Do you illustrate your blog posts with your own photos, drawings, homemade gifs, or SuperPaint masterpieces? Your time has come. Strong photo essays that tell a story with little or no accompanying text are welcome, too.

PERSPECTIVES: You're persuasive, opinionated, and smart. Give us your best blog posts about the issues you are passionate about. 

The Judging Committee

In addition to BlogHer staff, who will review all categories, we have at least two prior Community Keynoters per category, most from last year, but some from previous years. Judges read a group of submissions and score them based on five criteria: Content, Craftsmanship, Community-building, Category Fit and Personal Reaction. This year, your VOTY pay-it-forward judges are:

HUMOR: Jason Mayo ('10), Metalia ('10), LizRizzo ('10)

NICHE: Tarrant Figlio ('09),  Amy Turn Sharp ('09)

LIFE: Deborah Goldstein ('10), Faiqa Khan ('10), Issa ('09)

VISUAL: Roxana Samiento (Miguelina) ('10), Stephanie Roberts ('10), Jill Smokler ('10)

PERSPECTIVES: Lissa Rankin ('10), Corynne Corbett ('09)

The judges above will be joined by the following BlogHers: Elisa Camahort Page, Jory Des Jardins, Jes Ferris, Polly Pagenhart and Lisa Stone.

The Timeline

Submission period begins: May 27, 2011

Submission period ends: 5pm Pacific, June 20, 2011

Announcement of 2011 Voices of the Year: July 13, 2011

Now go to this online form and tell us who should bring down the house this August in San Diego!(Remember: you must be logged in to access the page.)

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