London Book Prize | Novel Writing Competition

The London Book Prize is an invitation to authors to join a community of fellow writers, read each other’s work and learn from each other; it is like a giant filter, selecting the best books for publication, unhindered by any preconceptions about what people want to read.

Endorsement by a community of writers through a proven rigorous process will be a powerful springboard for a new book setting out on its journey in the world.

The London Book Prize is for previously unpublished novels; it is a new way to discover books that is focussed solely on the qualities of the writing.

eBooks and digital distribution are disrupting the world of books. Authors can now self-publish a book and potentially reach a worldwide audience; readers can download a new book and be reading it within seconds.

Anyone can self-publish a book; but finding an audience and obtaining recognition is more difficult. Some writers are prepared to spend time building an audience (through Facebook and Twitter) but many writers simply wish to be writers; they have no desire to devote themselves to self-promotion.

Meanwhile, traditional publishing opportunities for authors are diminishing as the mainstream publishers focus on known writers. More and more, the question that traditional publishers ask of new authors is: “Do you already have an audience?”

For readers, eBooks (and also the online purchase of print books) have driven down prices and made more titles available. But the amount of time that we have to read books hasn’t miraculously increased. We want to spend our time reading the best books within our range of tastes; no one wants to read poorly edited books.

All the while, the number of books in the world is huge and growing. In August 2010, Google calculated the number of books as 129,864,880 – nearly 130 million; this included only printed books. Amazon.co.uk currently quotes “1.5 million+ eBooks available in 60 seconds or less” on Kindle; the number is rising; eBooks don’t go out of print.

The dynamics of how we choose what to read are changing and are set to change even further. The need for better “filters” will only increase.

Amidst the technological changes, responsive bookshops are achieving success by changing their game; although the total volume of printed books is falling, print books look set to remain important.

The London Book Prize is our response to the changing landscape of books.

Over five years, our prize events have brought together participants from over 60 countries around the world. Of the current 8,500 members at Poetic Republic, over 500 are based in London. This makes London the natural base for developing our new book prize.

The methodology of the prize builds on the core Poetic Republic anonymous peer review process; over the last five years this process has consistently brought to the fore a diversity of excellence in writing. The London Book Prize, as we might expect given the nature of the novel, incorporates new elements of process.

The website development work to facilitate this new event was carried out in the second half of 2013; the London Book Prize trade mark was registered in October 2013.

The London Book Prize will play an important role in the development of our Poetry Prize and Short Story Prize.

The successful extension of our methodology to the short story format (up to 3,000 words) in 2014 is an important step in the preparation for the London Book Prize.

We plan to formally launch the London Book Prize in 2015; in the meantime we are officially getting ready; getting the world ready.

November, 2014

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