Monday, 2 August 2010
We the people
I've never quite got the hang of the People's Book Prize (www.peoplesbookprize.com) however many emails they send me. It is a "national competition aimed at discovering new writers with no panel of judges except you, the public!". We, the public get to vote on their shortlist of submitted entries and the winners go forward to an annual award. The Prize is organised by Delancey Press, whose name does seem to crop up on the shortlist from time to time, though their presence is but nothing compared to that of Local Legend whose website (www.local-legend.co.uk) indicates that they are a vanity publisher. Sometimes books from some of my favourite publishers crop up, including a book by one of our writers published by another publisher, so there is a mixture of sorts. Strangely, publishers seeking to enter are forbidden to submit books that are "religious, political or controversial" so tough luck if you want to enter your brand new James Joyce, DH Lawrence, Melvin Burgess or New Testament then. Translated works are also out, so hard luck Stieg Larsson. But controversial is a very loose word. One of the four overall winners for 2009 (published, um, by Delancey Press) is The 3 Plus 1 Plan, which tells you how to make lots of money on buy to let. That seems pretty controversial to me. Political even.