Posted: December 2nd, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: prizes, writing | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

Well – despite my cynical post about the People’s Book Prize in November I am pleased to announce that Among Thieves has WON the October vote. This means my novel goes through to the ‘finals’ and I get to wear a frock at an event in London next year – I think.

The thing is it’s not entirely clear what happens once a novel has passed the monthly vote hurdle. Will novelists have to gee the troops again and beg everyone who’s ever met them to vote ‘one more time’? And here’s the problem with literary prizes that depend on a public vote. The very nature of independent publishing means that most of the books submitted for the prize don’t have a print-run of more than 2,000. So the readership is tiny and every novelist entered (if they care) will have to coerce their friends, family and colleagues to go online/register/vote/comment – yawn.

This means that people who have more of an online presence (and this includes me) have a better chance of winning. Democratic it is not.

On the other hand does a ‘struggling’ author pass up the chance to increase awareness of their novel? Of course not. I would love to leave all the ‘marketing and promotion’ bollocks to a PR person who actually enjoys generating column inches. For most authors, publicising their novel is simply something that distracts them from the thing they desperately want to be doing. Writing. But without a successful first outing who will publish the next one?

And so we must throw ourselves into the fray, try not to think about the whore-Factor and keep our eyes on the prize – which in reality is widening our audience.