Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Art Nouveau

Dragonfly corsage ornament,
Rene Lalique,
plique-a-jour enamel, 1895-1912,
(from an article in Christie's International Magazine by jewellery expert and historian, Vivienne Becker.)

Another publisher, this time the Penguin Group, is hosting the tail end of another writer's contest with a decent advance and promise of publication.

Tawny Taylor, who is always generous about sharing leads, alerts and opportunities, mentions it here.

Ello expands on the contest process here. Though I imagine one will find buzz all over the blogsphere.

Before I assimilated the fact that the sorting/selection process lit first on the shoulders of the partners in this competion -- as it does on agents in ordinary times -- my first thought, oddly enough, was ohmygod-the-slush.

My second thought accompanied a cynical lip-curl over the provision for reader in-put and therefore the opportunity and inevitable reality of voter-fraud.

Then I realized that, from the publisher's point of view, it doesn't matter.

Any stuffing of the ballot box by rabid fans of a particular MS is irrelevant.

At that stage in the selection process, all of the novels who have made it thus far are sure to be competently written and worthy of publication.

Reader's votes are the equivalent of flipping a coin.

However, the opportunity for reader opinion invites public participation and generates valuable interest.

Much like the appeal of American Idol and other inclusives.

The Penguin-Amazon contest is not really a contest for writers.

Rather, I see it as an initiative to attract readers - and that is a Very Good Thing.

For all of us.

Groaner Q & A:
A fine example of regional bigotry, btw.
Q: How are a Texas tornado and a Tennessee divorce the same?
A: Somebody's gonna lose a trailer.


Sam said...

I love Lalique - I think the art nouveau style is gorgeous.
I'm not very competition-minded. Maybe because I never won anything?

James Goodman-Horror Writer said...

Oh, I will have to go check out the contest. Thanks for the heads up. :D

Jaye Wells said...

LMAO at the joke.

I don't really do contests like that anymore. I figure I'm more likely to get read by an editor by actually submitting to them.

Robyn said...

Another regional groaner for you:

What are the first three words every Oklahoma child learns? "Attention, WalMart shoppers."

Bernita said...

Fascinating jewellery, Sam, and neither am I.

Publisher's "contests"are an interesting endeavour, James.

And it rather locks up a manuscript, Jaye. I agree.

Bernita said...

Catering to the carriage trade, Robyn!

Angie said...

That dragonfly is gorgeous.

Another thing to consider, from the POV of the publisher, is that if the writer has a thousand friends who are willing to come vote for him/her in the contest, a lot of those people will probably buy their friend's book, too, if it gets published. Built-in audience. So the more people the writer can rally to go vote, the better it'll look to the publisher, or at least their marketing department.

Angie [cynical, me??]

Anonymous said...

The contest being about attracting readers is a great point. My first reaction to the news was blah. Manuscripts laying around collecting dust are there for a reason, including mine. What are the chances a gem is really laying around? Despite what people think, if a writer puts in the effort to submit to agents, I really do believe that they will be published if the work is high quality.

Bernita said...

Angie, I can just see some eager author bussing from town to town, from library to internet cafe, logging in and voting for his/herself!

Bernita said...

Of commercial quality, at least, Jason.

M.E Ellis said...

HAHAHAHAHA @ joke, though I felt cruel for laughing.


Bernita said...

Me too, Michelle!

spyscribbler said...

Definitely a good thing! I didn't think of it that way.

Church Lady said...

I saw the contest listed on WriterUnboxed as well as Ello's site. So I guess it will be making the blog rounds.

I tried submitting yesterday, and couldn't upload. I still can't download "Weirdly." Perhaps I need more than a typewriter in today's world of technology. (sigh)

Sounds like a fun contest. You have to submit the first 5,000 words as well as the full. I guess that' the filter. Anyway, good luck to everyone with a good manuscript and good technology! :-)


Bernita said...

We writers tend to assess such contests solely as trees, Natasha.

That's a serious pain in the behind, Chris!
Perhaps you need to email Marci from a different computer - one that has Adobe, so you can download the pdf?

Charles Gramlich said...

I hadn't thought of it as a "reader" contest really. But that makes perfect sense. Great point.

raine said...

You make a good point, Bernita. I always thought of the 'ballot-box stuffing' aspect of these contests as...well, nauseating, lol. But you're quite right.

Gorgeous pin.

Bernita said...

Thank you, Charles.
Publishers don't need to replenish their slush piles, neither do they have any difficulty finding publishable MSS.

From our point of view it is disgusting, Raine.
Quite a "dragon lady" pin, isn't it?

Sela Carsen said...

Snort. Good joke. I'm from Texas, and every time I pass a trailer park, I holler out, "Tornado Bait!"

I'm bad at entering contests. Like Jaye, I'd just as soon submit. Seems like a better use of my time.

I abhor ballot-stuffing contests, though. I almost never vote in them. It seems so pointless.

And I ADORE Art Nouveau. Natural themes with the clean lines of Deco.

Bernita said...

I've often though, Sela, that anyone needing inspiration for special jewellery for a story could do worse than look at Art Nouveau examples.

I avoid all contests like this, partly for the same reasons.

Bernita said...

"thought" - dammit!

Ello said...

That's a great point about the reader contest! It is sort of like these reality contests that are always on tv. There are always some funny ideas for a reality tv show based on writers but then no one knows how to actually film it. I mean filming writing? Not exactly entertaining. But getting readers invested in judging and reading might interest people who are not normally readers, so perhaps it has some basis there.

Trailer park humor always gets me!

Bernita said...

There is one actually, Ello,
Of course, it's in Canada and there may be Canada Council grant money involved, but it has been done and they are apparently going to do it again.

Ello said...

A three day novel?!! Oh my god! I think you've just given me a blog topic! I had no idea about this. I wish I could watch it somehow. How can the books be any good? This is as fascinating as a train wreck.

Shesawriter said...

While these writing contests are great, ultimately some end up becoming a popularity contest. It's about how many people you can get to vote for you.

That's one of the reasons I've sworn off Reality TV shows.

Bernita said...

Ello, I have no idea, but I would imagine it may be structured much like a sitcom.

Quite, Tanya. But for the publishers, assured of reasonable talent by the process, the "popularity" part is evidence of reader engagement, and that is a good thing.

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