An interesting reaction

Looking through a newsletter from Lovingreading4Kids I noticed a competition for new children/YA authors (including self-published but not published by a publishing house).  I thought I’d take a look.  I mean, if you think your book is good enough to publish, then it ought to be ready to stand up to the scrutiny of a competition.  My readers are more important to me than some panel of experts.  It would be nice if a panel of experts thought it was a good book too, though!

The prize is a publishing contract worth lots of money.  20 entries will be selected for a long-list and 5 for a short-list.  By entering, you allow the newspaper co-sponsor the rights to publish any extract or section of the book in print or electronic form.  And that’s when I bridled.

I thought some more about it.  If they printed part of it, the book (and my name) would gain valuable publicity. It would reach thousands of people it hasn’t already reached, and would be unlikely to reach in most cases, I suspect.  It might get a deal from a different publisher.  It might be a success!  But I would lose control of it.  It would be entirely up to the newspaper what part they used, where they put it, what they said about it, how they edited it.  I thought about extracts of other books I’d read, in colour supplements or magazines. They always give a link to buying the book.  I never have, even when I’ve enjoyed the extract.

Is this the control freak in me, or am I now just a committed self-publisher?  Do I want readers to find my book, and what do I want to do to help them do so?  Why do I write? More thought needed.  All feedback welcomed.

The Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Prize


2 thoughts on “An interesting reaction

  1. I get why you’re hesitant, but I think you’re looking at it the wrong way. First of all, yes, they can print whatever part of the story that they want, but it isn’t like they’re gaining the rights to your book – just the right to publish an excerpt. But I think what you’re more worried about is that they will publish an excerpt that you don’t think will draw readers in, and that people might… what? Not buy the book as a result? Think of it this way – these readers have never heard of you before, so if they don’t buy the book, you really aren’t losing anything.

    Now for the positives. Thousands of people read this newsletter, right? What I often forget is that everyone is different. You and I may not buy books after reading excerpts, but there are many, many people in the world who do. That’s why magazines and newsletters run these excerpts – because they work. So I would say definitely enter the contest. Integrity is important, but so is free publicity. Anyway, just my two cents 😀

    • Thank you Michelle! I think that’s very helpful. I think a ‘good’ paper would honour an author’s rights anyway, it’s in their interests to do so. Maybe I just got a little bit nervous about the whole judging thing. Never been very good about being judged!
      Not sure how I missed your comment before – but it was very welcome.

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