With just three and a half weeks left until the closing date of The Novel Prize, I’ve been delighted by the number of entries. I’ve had a sneak peek at some of them, and can’t wait until I can start reading through closely in order to draw up the shortlist.
So, as I shortlist – and later, as I judge the finalists alongside Mark Edwards, Louise Voss, Jeremy Thompson, Helen McCusker and David Prever – what am I looking for?
- An understanding of what makes a marketable book, and how you market a book
- An opening that grabs my attention
- Interesting, believable characters
- A pace that keeps the plot jogging along
- A plot that affects me: makes me think and/or laugh and/or cry and/or jump out of my skin
- Description that’s not clichéd, but fresh and interesting; that helps me make vivid mental images
- Something original, unique in the book – it’s marketable, but it’s also different
- A book that I want to recommend to friends
- A book that I’m happy to align my brand, The Book Specialist, with and say to the world, ‘I think this book is AMAZING’
- A book that I must, must, must have on my shelf
If you’re still polishing up your book ready to submit, I hope you find this useful. Good luck!