The UK’s Selfies Award Announces Its First Self-Published Shortlist

In News by Porter Anderson

While news of book and publishing awards proliferates, the Selfies Awards are being introduced in the UK as a competition among indie authors.

Image – iStockphoto: LittleNY

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

An All-Women Shortlist
At this time of year, shortlists, longlists, and calls for submissions swirl like snow showers up and down the UK. And a new book awards program today (February 5) is adding to the wintry mix something almost as distinctive as the proverbial snowflake’s design: the Selfies Awards has announced its first set of self-published finalists.

Produced by BookBrunch in association with the London Book Fair and the public relations and author services company Bookollective and IngramSpark, the Selfies represent the judges’ choice of a work of fiction self-published in 2018.

As such, this awards program is something that many indie authors have long called for. Most established book awards programs consider trade published works but not self-published entries, meaning that indies work without as many chances for the marketing boost of an award. While opinions are mixed on how much a prize might mean in the difficult world of indie book sales, it seems clear that an award cant hurt, and many independent writers will surely appreciate the arrival of this first year of the Selfies’ operation.

In an interesting reflection of the task of self-publishing, the prize recognizes not only quality of writing but also, per the program’s media messaging, “the cover design, blurb and sales and marketing campaigns too,” a reminder of the breadth of activity demanded by self-publishing. And this was communicated to authors entering their work by describing the criteria beyond the writing as (quoting the organizers):

  • A well produced ebook or print book
  • An enticing cover and blurb that successfully addresses the target audience
  • An effective and creative marketing and publicity strategy
  • Great sales potential
Competition Limited to UK-Based Writers

The UK’s self-publishing community is a robust one, not least because the market is the home of the nonprofit Alliance of Independent Authors launched in 2012 at the London Book Fair by its founding director Orna Ross. With roughly half its membership in the States, ALLi, as its known, is the world’s leading support organization for the self-publishing community and its influence in its home market has helped many of the UK’s writers who are not aligned with trade houses to raise the quality of their work and output.

The 2019 Selfies Awards winner is to be announced on March 12, in the London Book Fair’s HQ complex at Olympia London.

Those familiar with the ALLi community will recognize some of the authors whose work now appears on the Selfies’ inaugural list. The program has opened with submissions limited to adult fiction titles, but organizers have said they expect to expand the award to cover more categories in the future. Entries are limited to authors “based in the UK who are predominantly or only self-published, ie where the author themselves acted as the publisher and/or creative director.” Short stories and unfinished works are not accepted for consideration.

The winner of the Selfies 2019 will be awarded £1,500 (US$1,952) plus a special self-publishing package from the sponsoring IngramSpark for a next book. In addition, Bookollective will offer the winner a customized book cover design created by Aimee Coveney and a book publicity campaign that the company says is worth £1000 (US$1,301).

The 2019 Selfies Awards winner is to be announced on March 12, in the London Book Fair’s HQ complex at Olympia London.

The Selfies 2019 Shortlist

  • Anita Belli, Once Upon a Blue Moon
  • Jane Davis, Smash All the Windows
  • Caroline Goldsworthy, Tangent
  • Mel Gough, He Is Mine
  • Susan Grossey, Faith, Hope, and Trickery
  • Kathleen Jowitt, A Spoke in the Wheel
  • Heleen Kist, In Servitude
  • Jane Steen, Lady Helena Investigates

In a prepared statement, BookBrunch managing director Jo Henry is quoted, saying, “The judges who have drawn up this shortlist feel privileged to have read some exceptional works of self-published fiction from a very wide range of genres.

“The shortlist we’ve come up with contains works that can confidently stand against the very best fiction being published in the UK today.  All eight of the shortlisted authors are women, hailing from all round the UK—with one author originally from Belgium and another from Holland—and their books range from chic-lit to historical crime fiction.”

Henry will be joined by literary agents Kate Barker and Annette Crossland, IngramSpark’s Robin Cutler, and London Book Fair’s Emily Laidlaw in choosing the winner.

In its announcement materials, BookBrunch cites Nielsen’s Books & Consumers report that self-published books in the UK market accounted for 6.2 percent of consumer book sales in the 12 months prior to October 2018–that’s up from Nielsen’s reported 5.5 percent in the same time period two years earlier, leading up to October 2016.

News of the award can be followed on social media at #theselfiesaward .

More from Publishing Perspectives on book and publishing awards is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.