Nothing daunted by previous failures – Mslexia, I’m looking at you – I have entered another competition. This one is specifically for self-published books, which is an interesting development as several competitions explicitly exclude self-published works. This competition is being sponsored by BookBrunch – “the daily online news service for the book industry” – and is called (wait for it) The Selfies. I was in two minds about applying, as it costs £25 and takes a couple of hours to put together the application, but in the end I reasoned that I certainly wouldn’t be shortlisted if I didn’t enter (unassailable logic) and took the plunge.
As well as supplying the book itself – I’ve gone with “Faith, Hope and Trickery” because the competition is for adult fiction published in the last year – I also had to supply a synopsis. I haven’t written a synopsis since I first hawked “Fatal Forgery” to publishers and agents, as the synopsis is basically a summary of the plot and is used to persuade publishers/agents to take you on. It’s not the same as a blurb, which goes on the back cover or on sales websites to tempt readers; by contrast, the synopsis gives away the whole plot including the ending.
I also had to provide information about my marketing efforts and plans, and – deep breath – ‘fess up to my sales figures across both editions (paperback and e-book) to evidence (according to the competition website) “an effective and creative marketing and publicity strategy [and] great sales potential”. We in the self-publishing community had a discussion about the significance of this question: would the judges simply choose the best-selling book? Would they take into account that a book that had been published eleven months ago would have more sales than one published in November? Are sales figures any indication of quality anyway? I thought about fibbing, but in the end told the truth: 86.
At least the waiting period is mercifully short: the competition closes on 21 December 2018, the shortlist will be announced in late February and the winner revealed at the London Book Fair on 12 March 2019. So as not to tempt fate, I have put a light, squiggly pencil line through the whole of that March week in my diary, with “LBF” written in the most casual way – you’d barely notice that I even care.