The Whitney Awards are now in their second year. As a publisher, what are you views on the award? I've heard there has been a rather significant lack of support from publishers financially and I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions on why that is since it seems as if they are the ones that would directly benefit from the award and the ones that are in the best position to held advertise and get the word out. Are there elements of the award that from your perspective you think could be changed in a way that makes it something publishers would be more supportive of?
I think the Whitney Awards are a wonderful idea! And as you know, I've fully supported them here on this site and on the LDS Fiction site, providing links to the site and to the online auction going on right now. (Oh, wait! I meant to do that. I'm sooooo sorry. I totally forgot but will remedy that situation in a couple of minutes.)
As to why publishers are not supporting the Whitney Awards financially—generally, awards programs are not supported by/paid for by the people who benefit from those awards. Let's say Deseret Book gave a nice fat check to support the awards and then their books won in several categories. That could be seen as a bribe. Sort of like senators accepting gifts from special interest groups.
I think a better bet for the Whitney Awards is to set up a trust, funded by some generous benefactors who believe in supporting the future of LDS fiction. Create a business plan/budget, run it past some investing angels, see if you can get someone to fund it. Also, the online auction is a good idea. You could do that a couple of times a year.