Saturday, December 13, 2008

Writing: the cost of competition

Just a quickie second post for today: something interesting for writers ... but be just a tiny bit cautious, because there's a whopping fee to get involved:

The Eric Hoffer Award:

There are numerous categories (fiction, non-fiction, prose, book award, and so on), and it looks extremely kosher. It's the US$45 fee to get into the running that troubles me. The prizes are mainly cash, with a grand prize of $1,500, which is nice. But if you get a thousand desperate writers willing to part with something like A$60 to get in ... there's an awful lot of money in the "jackpot" and I would have been happier if the site said something about donations to charity or endowments for a scholarship in the name of Mr. Hoffer.

Having said that, I do like the sound of it -- here's an outtake from the site, their "mission statement," as it were:

The Hoffer Award was founded at the start of the 21st century by award-winning author Christopher Klim (with permission from the Eric Hoffer Estate) to honor freethinking writers and independent books of exceptional merit. The commercial environment for today’s writers has all but crushed the circulation of ideas. It seems strange that in the Information Age, many books are blocked from wider circulation, and powerful writing is barred from publication or buried alive on the Internet. Furthermore, many of the top literary prizes will not even consider independent books or previously unpublished prose, choosing instead to become the marketing arms of large presses.

The “Hoffer” honored prose is largely unpublished and the books are chiefly from small, academic, and micro presses, including self-published offerings. Throughout the centuries, writers such as Emily Dickinson, James Joyce, Walt Whitman, and Virginia Wolfe have taken the path of self-publishing rather than have their ideas forced into a corporate or sociopolitical mold.

"Powerful writing ... buried alive on the Internet." Nice turn of phrase -- and deadly accuracy.

Check this one out; but be ready to pay rather more than you can probably afford. That US$45 whack is far from pleasant, when it comes at a time when (as I was saying in my previous post) people are guarding their last $10 jealously, since it's their lunch and bus fare!

The website also offers absolutely no indication as to whether GLBTI fiction will be considered, or is even welcome at the submission/nomination level.

Interesting, no?


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