I Wrote a Book and it’s Up for the Nobel Prize in Literature

I’m not a book critic, but even so every-so-often I get hit up by authors or publishers who’d like to send me a review copy of a new crime novel. I received a solicitation today from an author, and his pitch included the following publicity material (the names have been deleted to protect the innocent):

[The Book] has been blurbed by Famous Author #1, Famous Author #2, Famous Author #3 and Famous Author #4.  It’s up for the 2006 Edgar Award for Best First Novel – Famous Author #1 seems to believe it’s a shoo-in to win.

First off, the 2006 Edgars were announced last year and his book wasn’t one of them. He’s actually referring to the 2007 Edgars for books published in 2006. Fine. But it appears that he’s implying that his book has been nominated for an Edgar…which it hasn’t. At least not yet. The nominations won’t be announced until February.

So what he’s bragging about is that his book has been submitted for Edgar consideration. That’s hardly an achievement. Anybody with a crime novel published in 2006 could submit their book for consideration…and probably did. We’re talking about hundreds of submissions.

I  explained this to him as politely as I could and, to reinforce my point, I included the list of about 100 other authors who were "up for an Edgar" in the same category as him. I suggested that he drop the frivolous Edgar reference from his pitch.  What I didn’t say was that bragging that he was "up for an Edgar"  made him look ridiculous. He replied:

thanks for catching that about the Edgars, wasn’t trying to be squirrely — i’d best change it to "it’s in submission for the Edgars."

I cringed from head-to-toe in embarrassment for the guy. I probably should have dropped it there, but I wrote him back and told him that submitting your book for Edgar consideration isn’t an achievement, either. Any author with some postage stamps and a book out in 2006 could do that. What I didn’t tell him was that bragging about sending his book to the Edgar committee would make him look even more ridiculous than what he’d already written.

He may be a great writer but he has a lot to learn about self-promotion.

UPDATE  (Jan 19, 2007) He wasn’t nominated.  So much for being a shoo-in.

6 thoughts on “I Wrote a Book and it’s Up for the Nobel Prize in Literature”

  1. As one of the 100 or so other writers with a novel “in submission” for the Best First Novel Edgar, I can’t tell you how depressing it is to learn there’s “a shoo-in to win.” I mean, I didn’t think I had much of a chance, but it was fun to dream, at least. Sigh.
    But hey, I thought I saw something in the latest MWA newsletter about the nominations being announced on Poe’s birthday: January 19. Do I really have to wait until February to find out who The Shoo-In is (as well as the lambs to the slaughter/other nominees he’ll no doubt vanquish at the Edgar ceremony in April)?

  2. There are several members of Western Writers of America who claim to have been nominated for a Pulitzer. What they mean is that their publishers submitted their novels to the judges. A genuine Pulitzer nominee is one of three finalists submitted by the judging juries to the Pulitzer Committee. The Committee chooses the winner. The Pulitzer website publishes a list of the genuine nominees.

  3. Even better is this one — no doubt you’ve received one or more of this ilk: “I’ve written a book, but it is so good, that I don’t dare show it to an agent or a publisher because they will steal it. In fact, I have written several items of literature that I don’t dare let anyone read until after I’m dead, and maybe not even then because they are really too advanced for most readers who rely on grammaranic crutches and obsoleat rules of punctuation. I made the mistake of submitting a first draft, hand written on yellow legal paper, to an agent who sent it back saying they don’t read anything unless the author submitted a queery letter. No wonder America is in the fifty states it’s in! Johnny can’t read anything unless it has been approved by queer New York agents!”

  4. As a first novelist in 2006 let me just say this: I didn’t send that letter. I think my book is good, but not Edgar material.

  5. 1 vs 100 vs Monk

    Given the choice between the two shows I cringed at Monk (with Andy Richter) about five minutes in. Someone that smart can’t be that stupid. He’s gone beyond socially inept and OCD, and hypersensitive. It’s just dumb caricature now. Sometimes…


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