An article published in today’s Guardian announces the launch of The Republic of Consciousness Prize for Best Novel published by a Small Press.
This is a new prize launched by writer, Neil Griffiths. The aims of the prize are to lend support to small publishers who publish quality works of fiction with very little money.
Small presses are a different animal than the larger, more risk averse publishers and they often support niche fiction that the bigger publishers would consider less commercially viable.
One of the biggest problems faced by the small publishers is the inability to contribute to front table positioning in book shops. Their books are often only to be found spine out in some far-flung corner of the shop. Many readers may not be aware of the fact that those prime positions on the front tables are actually paid for.
Griffiths is trying to persuade, or ‘guilt trip’ as he puts it, other successful writers to support the award and thus help small publishers and the writers they publish gain some traction in the market.
He himself is adding £2,000 of his own money and is hoping to attract up to £10,000 from other writers, adding up to a decent prize fund which will be split between writer and publisher.
Personally I am hoping that writers receive the larger share because in my experience those working in publishing at least receive a salary of some description while the writer often has to juggle their ‘day-jobs’ with writing and many receive very little money for their hard work.
The competition is open to publishers in the UK and Ireland and you can find out more on his Republic of Consciousness website.