There is no way – no way in hell – that a self-published novel, no matter how passable, will win a literary contest. Especially if that novel has a cover that looks like someone left it in a damp corner of a basement for three years. I’m not saying my novel is passable, but even if it is, no way in hell.
You have to try. You don’t want to look at the shortlist later and think, “The Baker’s Daughter’s Teacher’s Pancake? Terrible book! Mine was way better. Oh why! Why didn’t I pay the entry fee!” You don’t want that regret. Because what if it did win…? Although, you know, it won’t.
So even if there’s no way it ever ever ever will win, I’ll kiss 200 bucks goodbye and enter the contest.
They posted the list of submitted entries. There are 70 books on that list, which means I have a 1 in 70 chance of winning. No, that’s not right, because I’m self-published, and two people on Goodreads said it was a “little slow to start.” That’s called exposition! I love my readers. Thanks for the reviews.
So the odds aren’t exactly 1 in 70. More like 1 in 1,000,000,000.
Unless, of course, a judge recognizes it for its zingy brilliance. “What moron publishers passed on this book?” she says. “It’s so zingy.”
Oh look, a book by that author. Like it’s just assumed she’s quality. Oh, and that one, the one getting the buzz, even though, between you and me, zzzzzzzzzz. But that’s the game, that’s how it works. These things are rigged.
Hmmm. Four other self-published books. Write those ones off. That puts my odds at 1 in 66!
The long list comes out next month. You know, I could make a long list. Ten books. That’s a pretty long list. I never heard of most of these books (except for that one by HER). By contrast, I have heard of mine. I could definitely make a long list. It’s passable. They have to throw a couple of dark horses on there to keep it honest, right?
God, I hate my cover.
I hope they look at the back cover. “Sunshine Kvetches of a Cranky Town,” it says, which is a direct riff on Stephen Leacock. Wink, wink. By association, they’ll immediately understand my book is funny.
Who am I kidding. Never ever ever will it make the long list.
If I did make the long list, I’d have to print more copies and get them distributed. At very least, I’d get rid of the box of books at the top of the attic stairs. I’d be so happy. My wife would be so happy.
I’d probably get approached by a legit publisher and get this book properly re-printed, minus the typos that I CAN’T BELIEVE I MISSED!
I wonder if I’d have to take some time off or if I could handle the media inquiries from work.
Ha-ha! “Media inquiries.” Who am I kidding. It’s not like it’s the short list.
I think I could make the short list.
Of course I can’t make the short list. I’m not going to make the long list. Stop it.
So the awards ceremony is in June. That would be cool. How would I handle that, rubbing elbows with Canadian literati? “Oh, hello. Yes, I know who you are but I really don’t like your work. I know we’re not supposed to criticize our literary darlings in Canada but I’m a maverick. Did you know I self-published?” Don’t be ridiculous; I’d mumble and pretend I loved everyone. I’d pretend I’ve read everyone.
My acceptance speech: “I’d like to thank that author for not publishing a book in 2016.” Big laugh. I think I’d want to bring a pineapple up on stage. Pineapples are funny. Heavy and spikey. “I accept this for all the underdogs!” I’d say. “Pineapple for everyone!”
(You’ve got to stop this. You’re not winning anything. And it’s not because you’re self-published. It’s because it’s really not that good. It’s a little slow to start.)
The long list comes out at 1:00 p.m. Don’t even think about it. You won’t be on it. I might be on it. But you won’t be. It’s possible. But unlikely. Not impossible. Improbable. It could happen. Nah. It’s a good book. Look: a five-star rating on Goodreads. There are only 10 ratings in all, but still. “My pineapple and I would like to thank my family.” Stop it! You’re delusional. Get a grip. You’re not going to get on the long list. But I might. You won’t. I might. You won’t. I might? No. Yes? No! Maybe?
Tuesday 1:00 p.m.