Carousel Prize for Independent Authors launch & info day | Guest Bloggers | Random Acts of Optimism

Alison Wells

Over the last few years the publishing industry has undergone many changes, one of which is the place of self-published work in this cultural landscape. Self-publishing has transformed from being perceived as a vanity project to a legitimate way of writers making a considered foray into the market. Agents and publishers take cognizance of a writer’s track record in self-publishing and many writers and books have been signed after excellent performance in the market as self-published book. Hazel Gaynor’s story is one excellent case in point in the Irish market.

In 2012, I took my own leap into the world of self-publishing. As A.B. Wells I self-published Housewife with a Half-Life the heartwarming, comedic tale of mother Susan Strong’s quest to save the universe with the help of her spaceman friend Fairly Dave. With an emphasis on women “holding the world together” against the evil forces of the Spinner and “evil memory bankers” social commentary ran underneath a tale of relationships and the courage of mothers. The decision to self-publish was not taken lightly. I had tried the traditional route and the book had got as far as the London office of a major publisher for consideration but in the end they weren’t sure how to place it in the market. When I self-published I wanted to do it right – as most independent authors are doing now – I hired an editor and designer, did blog tours, marketing and publicity. Self-publishing writers have great respect for their readers and want to present them with a quality product.

My book was launched in Hughes and Hughes bookshop and reviewed in the Irish Independent. It was not a roaring success like Matt Haig’s similar in feeling Humans but it was stocked (and sold!) in bookshops and online. It’s a book I’m proud of and that many many people enjoyed and it’s one step in my publication journey. As Lizzy Kremer puts it in this fantastic article the sales success of books depends on so many factors whether traditionally published or not and there is no clearcut route to publication success.

Carolann Copland of Carousel Writers is getting behind independent authors and the quality work of these writers with the Carousel Aware Prize for Independent Authors. She says “we are committed to acknowledging and promoting excellence in all aspects of independent book publishing and hope that the Awards will inspire and encourage Irish Indie authors to focus on ensuring that their work reaches the highest possible standards in all aspects of publishing, from writing and editing through to design and marketing.”

The inaugural CAP awards in 2016 was a way of rubberstamping the quality of work being produced by independent Irish authors. In Copland’s words it is  “a reader’s guarantee of quality, offering readers fresh, new voices and vision only available from independent authors combined with professional, high-level standards of publishing.”

The CAP awards also operated as a fundraiser for the charity Aware.

You can read all about the 2016 winners here.

Now the 2017 competition is  about to be launched with what promises to be an interesting and informative event – a fantastic readers’ and writers’ day to take place on Saturday 25th March between 2 and 5 pm at Club na Muinteoiri, Parnell Square, Dublin. The event will include “panel discussions from both the world of traditionally and independently published authors. There will also be some short readings from authors and we will be announcing the amount that was raised by The CAP Awards 2016 for our charity Aware. Both writers and readers are welcome to join us in the audience on the day and to ask questions from the judges and the committee regarding the upcoming submissions for our awards.”

All are welcome to attend the launch on the 25th March after which submissions are invited for the Carousel Aware Prize from independently published Irish authors or authors living in Ireland. Full details will be available on the website launch but you can sign up on the site to be updated. Closing date for submissions will be the 31st of May.


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