Author Topic: James Herbert Award for Horror Writing  (Read 3739 times)


Offline Rolnikov

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Re: James Herbert Award for Horror Writing
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2014, 03:41:22 PM »
I like the idea of a James Herbert award, but I'm not sure about such an award being run by a publisher. As soon as, say, Adam Nevill's up for the award it'll seem like a conflict of interest.

Offline David A. Riley

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Re: James Herbert Award for Horror Writing
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2014, 08:50:01 AM »
I like the idea of a James Herbert award, but I'm not sure about such an award being run by a publisher. As soon as, say, Adam Nevill's up for the award it'll seem like a conflict of interest.

That remains to be seen. It does state on the announcement: "James Herbertís daughter, Kerry, will head up the panel of five judges whose names will be announced in the summer."

It will be interesting to see who the panel of judges will be. If they are the right kind of people, I doubt that Pan Macmillan authors will necessarily have a greater chance of winning than any other, though I  think Adam Nevill will always stand a good chance of getting there anyway simply because he is such a good writer. It may well be that, unfortunately for anyone published by Pan Macmillan in this regard, there may be claims of favouritism, justified or not. If every winner is a Pan Macmillan author that could well be the case. If they are not, then I'm sure such claims will fade away. Whatever happens, it is great to see a major publisher being prepared to offer serious money for an award like this. It will certainly do no harm for the horror genre in this country - quite the opposite, in fact. I for one welcome it, especially as it is a fitting tribute to a writer who, whether you like his books or not, did so much to help raise the profile of the genre during his long career.

Offline Rolnikov

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Re: James Herbert Award for Horror Writing
« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2014, 04:06:36 PM »
They have involved the organiser of the Clarke Award, to try to establish a bit of independence, and he's got a lot of experience in this area. But still, a publisher setting up an award for the kind of books it publishes itself - just doesn't work for me.

Not keen either on the need for publishers to submit seven print copies of the book, which is a lot of money for small presses. We entered Pilgrims at the White Horizon for the Goldsmith Prize and that was our single biggest publication expense.

Offline David A. Riley

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Re: James Herbert Award for Horror Writing
« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2014, 06:18:07 PM »
They have involved the organiser of the Clarke Award, to try to establish a bit of independence, and he's got a lot of experience in this area. But still, a publisher setting up an award for the kind of books it publishes itself - just doesn't work for me.

Not keen either on the need for publishers to submit seven print copies of the book, which is a lot of money for small presses. We entered Pilgrims at the White Horizon for the Goldsmith Prize and that was our single biggest publication expense.

I think it's marvellous that his publisher think so highly of James Herbert that they are prepared to hand out £2000 in prize money each year in his honour. I don't think any other award for horror comes anywhere near this. At cost price I don't think 7 copies is all that onerous even for small presses, not if they genuinely think what they have to offer is good enough to have a chance of winning. It might reduce the number of frivolous entries.

Offline Peter Coleborn

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Re: James Herbert Award for Horror Writing
« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2014, 09:38:12 AM »
There is one literary award -- forgot which -- that expects publishers to commit several thousand pounds towards the award and its publicity. That certainly excludes most small/independent presses.

Offline David A. Riley

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Re: James Herbert Award for Horror Writing
« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2014, 10:03:58 AM »
Not keen either on the need for publishers to submit seven print copies of the book, which is a lot of money for small presses.

In any case, how else are the awards panel to each get a copy of the book to read? Besides offering a large cash prize, they then have to buy 7 copies of each book as well so the panel can read them? To me this would be a small fee to pay for an entry I felt was a potential contender.

Offline Peter Coleborn

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Re: James Herbert Award for Horror Writing
« Reply #7 on: April 09, 2014, 12:55:33 PM »
Publishers must send copies of their books to the World Fantasy Award judges. How else would they get to see them? When I sent Alchemy Press books to the WFC judges the unit costs were not too bad -- postage to the USA and Australia was the big pain.

Offline DavidJHowe

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Re: James Herbert Award for Horror Writing
« Reply #8 on: April 09, 2014, 02:30:15 PM »
There is one literary award -- forgot which -- that expects publishers to commit several thousand pounds towards the award and its publicity. That certainly excludes most small/independent presses.
That's basically how the Richard and Judy promotion works - publishers have to commit to an approx £50K marketing spend on the title submitted, and have them in warehouses and ready to distribute once the promotion starts on TV ...  So immediately all smaller publishers are out of the running, and the big boys are effectively paying to have their books included ...

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Offline Rolnikov

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Re: James Herbert Award for Horror Writing
« Reply #9 on: April 09, 2014, 04:06:35 PM »
In any case, how else are the awards panel to each get a copy of the book to read? Besides offering a large cash prize, they then have to buy 7 copies of each book as well so the panel can read them? To me this would be a small fee to pay for an entry I felt was a potential contender.

I don't think there's any sensible reason nowadays for not giving publishers the option of supplying electronic copies. Seven copies isn't a lot for a small press that's happy to run at a loss, I know many of them do, and don't mind spending the money, but it's a significant outlay for those that aim to break even. We'd need to sell thirty or forty copies of Pilgrims at the White Horizon to make up the money the Goldsmith Prize cost us.

Offline Peter Coleborn

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Re: James Herbert Award for Horror Writing
« Reply #10 on: April 09, 2014, 04:40:38 PM »
There is one literary award -- forgot which -- that expects publishers to commit several thousand pounds towards the award and its publicity. That certainly excludes most small/independent presses.
That's basically how the Richard and Judy promotion works - publishers have to commit to an approx £50K marketing spend on the title submitted, and have them in warehouses and ready to distribute once the promotion starts on TV ...  So immediately all smaller publishers are out of the running, and the big boys are effectively paying to have their books included ...
David

Didn't realise it was that much, David. But yeah, it is a vanity award...


Offline Peter Coleborn

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Re: James Herbert Award for Horror Writing
« Reply #11 on: April 09, 2014, 04:42:01 PM »
Stephen, WFC judges sometimes do prefer e-books, but most others don't. Until we are a couple of generations further on I suspect that's how it will be...

Offline Rolnikov

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Re: James Herbert Award for Horror Writing
« Reply #12 on: April 09, 2014, 04:45:02 PM »
It's up to the award itself to set the rules, rather than the judges, and this one's decided to make print copies mandatory. It's their choice, just not one I'm keen on. Other awards do accept ebooks - we do, and the Kitschies do.

Offline Andrew Hook

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Re: James Herbert Award for Horror Writing
« Reply #13 on: April 10, 2014, 12:15:34 PM »
When I was publishing as Elastic Press I sent off five copies of Chris Beckett's "The Turing Test" collection to the judges at the Edge Hill Prize. I was a little miffed at having to do so - as Stephen says, for a small press the difference between a profit and a loss is marginable (ropey pun intended) and also I was expecting the award would be given to a 'literary' collection. However, he won the prize. Not only did Chris get £5000, but it assisted him in placing subsequent novels with a bigger publisher, he was then able to reduce his working hours so he could spend more time writing, and FIVE years after that book was published, it still sells on average 20 copies (paperbacks) a month and about the same in e-books. As it happens, those five copies were a good investment (although I understand they would equally have been a good investment if PDFs could have been supplied).

Ultimately, if the publisher has the conviction in the book then sometimes they just have to run with it according to the terms and conditions of the prize.

Offline Peter Coleborn

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Re: James Herbert Award for Horror Writing
« Reply #14 on: April 10, 2014, 01:05:28 PM »
Good post, Andrew.