Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Words From Winners - Michael Logan Winner of Terry Pratchett First Novel Award

Michael Logan's (blog, website) book Apocalypse Cow has earned the Terry Pratchett First Novel Award.

The website multi-story has posted his extensive diary (in 6 parts) and I recommend that you check it out.

However, if you want some quick hits, here are some interesting pieces that I was able to pull.

Part 1 -How he ended up entering the contest
Does any writer who enters a competition expect to win? I know I had no such expectation when I entered the Terry Pratchett First Novel Award, particularly given the oddball nature of my novel.
Part 2 -The publishing/editing process post winning
The first thing I learned about the publishing industry in the months after winning the Terry Pratchett First Novel Award was that it bore a remarkable resemblance to my early love-life. There were long periods of inactivity, during which I found myself desperately hoping for some action, and then there were intense bursts of activity, usually accompanied by advice on how to improve my performance.

I must also admit to unrealistic expectations about the public interest my book would generate. As soon as the award was in the bag, I thought my Twitter account would be swamped by people keen to find out everything about this enigmatic new author, who was blazing new ground with his soul-searching, poignant look at zombie cows. To date, this has yet to happen, and if you listen carefully when my Facebook author page is open, you can hear the virtual wind blowing tumbleweed across it.
Part 3 -Nuggets on critics, reviews, and writer's groups
On the off-chance I become a successful author, I intend to continue this process of seeking out the valuable opinions of writers, readers and critics, even if they do a Dorothy Parker on me and say, “This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force." (For more Parker witticisms and some classic scathing reviews, click here.) Without such painful feedback it is too easy to disappear up one’s own rear end, which may have the advantage of being warm, but doesn’t offer much in the way of illumination.
Part 4 -Publicity
Given the book has large decal on the front cover proclaiming it the winner of the Pratchett prize, as well as a foreword and great quote from Sir Terry on the back, I would expect this effect to continue in the book stores - essentially giving the book a head start before people even know if it is any good.
Part 5 -On the Shelf
I’ve consistently remarked upon the unreality I felt at my book winning an award and publication deal, and I’ve repeatedly said I suspected it was all a sick joke at my expense. Well, guess what? I’ve finally got it into my thick skull that this is real. I am now officially a debut novelist.
Part 6 -Wrap up
Yes, I know I’m saying I wouldn’t buy my own book at current prices, which at least goes to show I am honest, if rather crap at marketing.

The book you create is not necessarily going to be the book people read, so writing with an audience or market in mind is, I feel, pointless. You can’t know the life experiences of every reader, you have no real idea what they are going to like or dislike and you certainly can’t try to please everybody. The story in your head is all that matters. Stay true to your theme, plot and characters, and don’t allow what you feel the market wants to dilute and muddy your vision. If you can do that, then you will create something you can be proud of. In the end, that is all that matters

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