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

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