Due to our lively discussion here on the Whitneys and some of the questions raised, the Whitney powers-that-be have posted a detailed explanation of their processes on the Whitney website.
Maybe we should all go read that before we continue the conversation here.
I personally think the various Whitney Committees do a great job. While there are some novels that I think should have made the cut for Novel of the Year that didn't, and other novels that I think should not have made it that did, overall, I think the finalists are representative of LDS fiction.
The one issue I have with the current Whitney policy, and this is no secret to them because I've voiced it to several of the Whitney Committee members (and Robison, I'm hopefully going to stir up enough of a hornet's nest that you will fix this), is that if ANY novel is excluded from consideration for ANY reason whatsoever, you will not get a fully representative award.
As it stands now, novels by Whitney Committee members are excluded. For 2008, this means that Josi Kilpack's book, Her Good Name, was excluded. (I don't care that Josi doesn't mind. And I don't care that the situation is created by your basic bylaws. You need to fix it!) Her Good Name may or may not have made it to the finals, but the fact that it was excluded is not a good thing.
Anyone agree with me??? Let's start a virtual riot and force them to change their policy!! Please express appropriate outrage in the comments. Slogans and placard ideas welcome.